Thursday, September 20, 2012

Black Hole Sun - a review

Black Hole Sun
David Macinnis Gill
352 pages

I read this book because it was compared to Firefly. I was told it was a direct ripoff of Firefly. I am extremely disappointed because 1. I miss Firefly and 2. because this book only has hints of Firefly in it.

I'm not really sure where the comparison to a canceled space western comes in, except that this is a space western set on Mars. Durango--the main character--could bubble up to be Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He could, except Captain Reynolds had better lines.

I could see how space cannibals could be compared to Reevers (space cannibals from Firefly), but really, space cannibals have been around for a while.*

I can see how Durango's cursing in Chinese, Latin, and other languages could be compared to Firefly. Except that's all been done before. David Macinnis Gill even has fake curse words, which once again, has been done before.

It's a book set on a dystopian Mars, with cannibals, with gunslingers, with made-up curse words, with characters who curse in different languages, with fucking laser guns. It's a hodge podge of science fiction elements from across the genre mashed into one book. There's even an Artificial Intelligence in Durango's head.**

The book itself is difficult to get into at first. The problem comes from Mimi, the above mentioned Artificial Intelligence, who speaks whenever she wants and sometimes interrupts dialogue. I felt like her interference bogged down the pacing a lot. There's also the issue of the characters speaking another language. It happens way to often and lead to far too much Googling for my own taste.

So here's the deal: I am a hardcore science fiction geek. I love the genre. So, naturally, I enjoyed Black Hole Sun. Its mash up of science fiction cliches and references humored me greatly. There's even a character named Leroy Jenkins.***

There's nothing wrong with Black Hole Sun if you're a fan of the genre. It's actually great fun if you are. If you aren't? You're not going to get it. I wouldn't recommend this book to my sister, but to my nerdy "Star Wars is the best thing ever" friend? Yeah. Him. He'd enjoy it, I think.

*Here's a Wiki article about cannibalism in popular culture. I find it odd this is being kept track of.
**Dystopian Mars: Total Recall. Cannibals: Firefly. Gunslingers: Firefly/Doctor Who. Made-up Curse Words: Farscape. Witty Banter: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Laser Guns: Star Trek, Stars Wars. Artificial Intelligence: Andromeda
***Leeerrooooy Jenkins.
Note: The creepiest music video ever made is called Black Hole Sun.


  1. 1. Firefly left a gaping wound. It just left off. Broke my heart.

    2. YAY for liking this one. I'm glad to see that this is positive.

    3. Are you gonna read the next book?

    4. The cover is wonderful x1000. I love it. But it sounds like this one would be over my head. Boo.

    1. 1. Same here.

      2. Yes. I enjoyed it, but not everyone will.

      3. Yes. Is it out yet? I also look forward to meeting the author at YALL Fest.

      4. It's a nice science fiction-y cover.

  2. It sound interesting, but I don't know if it's for me, I'm kind of hit or miss with SF. I liked Redshirts, but couldn't get into How to Survive in a SF Universe.

    Personally I tend to avoid books that get compared to things (books/tv shows/movies) that I like, they hardly ever seem to stand up.

    Two random points...according to Think Geek - Today in Geek History: Malcolm "Captain Tight Pants" Reynolds is born in 2468. He will eventually grow into his Browncoat

    Also I don't think Black Hole Sun was a creepy music video, but I do now have the song stuck in my head.

    1. If you doubt it's for you, then I would skip it. I have yet to read Redshirts. I wasn't even aware it was out yet.

      There's no comparison between Firefly and Black Hole Sun. Okay. There's a little bit there. But I can't compare a YA science fiction novel to an adult television show that got cancelled ten years ago.

      I always thought it was super creepy.

  3. Firefly was awesome and I miss it. Thank god I still have Doctor Who. I remember sing the music video to Black Hole Sun when I was about 12 and it scared the hell out of me. (I was obsessed with the band Savage Garden back then and Sound Garden sounds similar and I was traumatized).

    I'm glad that even though the book wasn't what you expected that you still enjoyed it. And have something to recommend to you science fiction fan friends.

    1. Yes. Doctor Who! The last good scifi show on TV. I've been traumatized since I saw that video. I kept quoting the song every time I picked up the book. It was odd.

      It'll be a nice little series. I'm not opposed to it. Also, the entire reason I picked to read this at this moment is because I haven't read a book with a male perspective in a month or so. It was refreshing.

  4. Noted for my fellow SciFi geeks. Especially since all of us get the Leroy Jenkins joke (and spent many a painful night in original UBRS). Disappointed that there aren't as good of lines as Mal would have, but I suppose you can't win them all.

  5. What I enjoyed most about the book was the thread of real war tactics integrated with speculative capabilities! Truly a good read!
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