Friday, May 20, 2011

Singing the Dogstar Blues

by Alison Goodman

Grade: Good
Story: Aliens! Time Travel! Blues Singing! Friendship! Cool Computers!

Well this was great! You can tell by the "Story" description. Exclamation marks are always good things.

So let's reiterate what I liked about this book.
Aliens! Aliens are cool. And I liked the way they were presented in this book. Rather like District 9, actually, except not bug-like. In other words, the book started with first contact having already come, and everbody is used to the fact.  (Except the protesters, of course. But even the fact that there are protesters is evidence that it's normal now.) And this is true of the next point which is ...

Time Travel! I always love Time Travel. And this also was treated as a normal everyday thing, which things do become very quickly in this world. In fact, it was almost treated too normally. The climax seemed a bit short in some ways, because the time travel aspect was treated so lightly.

Blues Singing! I don't know much about Blues, but I know about music and singing, and the part where Mav sings was cool.

Friendship! I love it, and far too few books dwell on deep friendships. Only deep Romances.

Cool Computers! Yeah! My favourite part! And they just fed into the whole atmosphere of this future world Goodman has created. Future worlds are cool, but so often authors seem to spend all the time building up details of their world, and not on the story or characters. But Goodman plops you in the middle and explains nothing, and there's tons of slang, and it's awesome. Now I may have thought some of the slang was futuristic stuff when it was actually just Australian. But I have read quite a few Australian books before, and never not understood the slang. So I think it was futuristic. But whatever it was, it was cool.

Nevertheless, this book should not be thought of as among the ranks of the other books whose "Story" style is similar (i.e. multiple exclamation points). Such as Going Postal, which is one of my favourite books ever. Mostly I think because books like Going Postal have amazing, amazing characters who I totally fall in love with. (Think Moist and Vetinari, mostly, but others too.) This one not as much. Not that the characters were bad, or not unique or anything. They were rather good. And I loved Mav. But I didn't fall in love with Mav. (Not that I fell in love in the Romantic sense with all the characters in Going Postal. I meant fall in love in a slightly different sense which I'm not going to define here, because I can't be bothered at the moment, and because I already accidentally posted this, so now I have to finish fast before anyone reads the unfinished version. ANYWAY.) I also quite liked Joseph Camden-Stone's story line. It was very sad.

P.S. Goodman also wrote Eon. Which is weird. I never would have thought. (Not that I've read Eon or anything--just heard of it a whole lot. It was just unexpected, so I thought I'd write it here. I seem to be in a somewhat loquacious mood.)

P.P.S. About elevators: "Riding one of these boxes takes a lot of trust. For all you know, you could be falling to your death or about to be launched through the roof. So you put all your belief in those little numbers marching across the top of the doors." pg.38
Sounds rather Chestertonian to me. It reminds me about what he says about how going on a train is an adventure, because you could end up anywhere. Except it was something way more profound than that.

Other Australian authors: Catherine Jinks, of Evil Genius and the Pagan books fame; Garth Nix of the Sabriel and The Keys to the Kingdom series; Markus Zusak of The Book Thief; Justine Larbalestier of the Magic or Madness trilogy and Liar. And I'm sure there's more. If you, my non-existent readers, can think of any I've missed, you have my permission to tell me.
Australian authors are awesome, aren't they?
See: Top Ten (Or So): Australian Authors and Books.

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