Thursday, March 28, 2013

Polar City Blues (Science Fiction Novel)

Murders. Psychic Ability. Politics. Artificial Intelligence. First Contact. Baseball.

Polar City Blues by Katharine Kerr is what I classify as an “I get by with a little help from my friends” novel. Sure, it is solid science fiction with a twist of mystery. Sure, it is packed with action. Yes, it definitely is an example of good world building. Yes, it has a strong heroine. But, what makes this an especially enjoyable novel for me are the different relationships, in all their various forms. I especially enjoyed how Kerr gives many of the characters, even the murderer, a backstory.

Briefly, there is a murder in Polar City on the planet of Hagar. The murder has far reaching political implications. Mulligan, a down on his luck psychic, is one of the first people on the scene. What he may or may not have learned about the murder puts his life in danger. Much of the novel is about finding the murderer before he finds Mulligan. As it becomes clear that the murderer is a hired assassin, the second mystery is the motive for the murder.

I purposely read Polar City Blues because Katharine Kerr is an author who I have not previously read and who is on the Women of Genre Reading Challenge list. As I read this novel, I thought to myself that this is an example of the difference between male and female writing. The basic plot line is typical Science Fiction fare, but the way it is developed is much more yin, feminine. I do not in any shape or form mean that this is a “chick novel.” It is rather that the novel looks more at the sentient (people) side of the story, like many of the mystery novels by women I enjoy, than at the technical or political side. 

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