I finished reading The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch with some sadness. You see, its a series (although this particular book can be read alone without forcing the reader to get into book two). The trouble is, I looked on Amazon.com for the second book….. and I guess I should have been looking in the rare book collection instead. Sure, I can get it on Kindle. If I had a Kindle. And if I liked to read on Kindles. But if I want a mass market paperback edition of book two, I need to shell out some dough!
This is important because I would indeed read book 2. The Disappeared is less space odyssey and more space police, but it was charming in its somewhat slow-paced way. I liked what I saw of Rusch’s ability to create interesting alien races and customs.
The main character, Miles Flint, is your typical hero – he has a strong moral compass that he is willing to sacrifice himself for. The supporting characters are okay, but I feel like in her efforts to write strong-willed female characters, Rusch kind of made most of the female characters seem basically the same. At the end of the book I really wanted to know what was going to become of Detective DeRicci….
I like the ethical/legal dilemmas and situations that arise in the story. I like how these are pitted against the stability of alliances with the alien races and general business practices. These dynamics are not always thrilling topics, but they are quite well done in this novel.
The setting is pretty good, I suppose. I like space yachts and the moon and Mars. I just wish that we got a little bit of a better sense of them. The best thing about writing about people and events in space, is that you can create whatever you want in terms of climates, terrain, and structures. But you have to create them and make the reader feel like he can see them and feel them. I felt a little more of a glimpse into moon life would have really been helpful.
One of the best parts of the book includes some of the technology stuff. I like the concept of these handy “chips” the characters have that links them in to databases, computers, and even telecommunications. Also, I like the computer technology found on the space yachts and stuff. This is cool stuff and I had a fun time reading along in these parts. Again, in future books, this stuff could really be significant and Rusch could build on this good foundation she has set up. And finally, the best part of the book – no sex scenes! Woot! This is amazing for a female author. Kudos to Rusch for not falling for that gimmick.
The Disappeared was published in 2002.