Review: Santiago – A Myth of the Far Future by Mike Resnick

Rating: 7/10

Synopsis

Colorful characters chase after the greatest outlaw in the galaxy in multiple Hugo winner Mike Resnick’s science fiction bestseller

Review

Tarantino’s Hateful Eight in Space – Not exactly accurate, but it’s the feel I got! A fun book that plays on Wild West tropes, filled with fun names and larger than life character, from bounty hunters to mysterious bandidos, it’s light, fun and engaging and unique read.

Writing/Plot/Pace: +7/10

It certainly is a unique book to read. We get the view points from multiple pov’s, inter-spread with regular infodumps all tied together with a poem based introductions….and it all works together brilliantly! The underlying thread is a poem which serves to introduce a specific character, which is followed with a background of the character and then book moves to their role in the plot. I didn’t feel I was getting infodumped due to the over the top personalities of the characters themselves. The characters the plot and the events all feel a bit larger then life but this is nicely balanced on edge of believability and not ending in outright roll-eye territory.

Thought the book is about Santiago, we only get to see the character near the climax. The majority of the book is about the myth/legend of Santiago told through the pov’s of multiple character who are chasing him for rewards. The myth is well done and we get to see our MCs trying to separate myth from reality trying to unravel the various threads leading to Santiago. The world unravels and the MCs take their own paths to Santiago.

The Wild West theme is reinforced all through the book. We get a wild frontier where most of the actions happen, bad guys with bounties on their heads, a post office to display bounty posters (holograms in this case), hunters who inspire fear and awe in regular folks.

The pacing is very storybook’ish and even. Unique events unfold, battles occur and deaths happen all over course of a few words. Just like Tarantino movie, we have huge buildup ending in ultra0quick shootout to settle the scene. The book is all about setting the scene, moving the pieces to that moment in climax. The events and climax stay true to the storybook’ish narrative and the lack of oomph was a bit telling after the end. It was just textbook perfect when I was looking for something different and more.

Characters: +6/10

Book is filled with fabulous characters each with their own introduction and backstory. Cool names like Black Orpheus, ManMountainBates, Billy Three Eyes pay homage to Wild West. The myth and reputation of each characters are all unique as do the role they play in this book. Quite immersive and fits the theme well.

The reason this gets a point docked is that the characters actions don’t reinforce the reputations. They don’t really do any larger than life actions that we hope to expect from them, which felt a bit of a letdown. The introduction was superb, but development was missing.

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