Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Diving into the Wreck

Diving into the Wreck
Diving into the Wreck

Diving into the Wreck is the first in the “diving” series authored by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  It was published in 2009, but (like many novels) originally the concepts were presented in short stories and novellas.  So far, the books in the series have been published by Pyr publishing in Amherst, NY.

Boss loves to dive historical ships, derelict spacecraft found adrift in the blackness between the stars. Sometimes she salvages for money, but mostly she’s an active historian. Once she’s dived the ship, she’ll either leave it for others to find or file a claim so that she can bring tourists to dive it as well. It’s a good life for a tough loner, with more interest in artifacts than people. Then one day, Boss finds the claim of a lifetime: an enormous spacecraft, incredibly old, and apparently Earth-made. It’s impossible for something so old, built in the days before Faster Than Light travel, to have journeyed this far from Earth.  She hires a group of divers to explore the wreck with her, the best team she can assemble. But some secrets are best kept hidden, and the past won t give up its treasures without exacting a price in blood.

 

The novel is broken into several parts:

  • Part one:   Diving Into The Wreck
  • Part two:   The Room of Lost Souls
  • Part three:   The Heart of the Machine

To be honest, I did not know this and when I finished the first part and started the second, it was a jarring experience.  A lot of time expired without any warning between the end of the first part and the start of the second.  In fact, it took several chapters for me to realize the storyline was actually continuing from the first part.  Finally, I began to see the connections and plotlines and I was happily reading along again.  Still, the train wreck between part one and two could probably have been smoothed a little bit.

This is not a “hard science-fiction” novel.  By that I mean, a novel which contains strict physics, chemistry, and biology and utilizes the science as much, if not more, than the fiction parts.  There are concepts that are definitely science-fiction in this book – particularly stealth technology.   The author does not involve herself in detailing and explaining the scientific aspects of the book.  In fact, the main character says several times that she is not a scientist and knows only what is necessary to fly her ship, dive the wrecks, or maneuver through the system.  I had no problem with this situation, although I know some readers focus more on the science.

I enjoyed the first part of the book. I liked how the main character (Boss) comes upon a mysterious ancient wreck and gets a team together to dive it.  I liked the (somewhat) slow pacing of the diving.  The reader can really tell that the author really thought through the concept of “diving” wrecks in space.   The whole story is supposed to be about “space diving,” so if this concept had not been so thorough, I doubt it would  have been a good novel.   The novel is, in climactic points in each part, suspenseful and gripping.  Diving a wreck in space, while at first seeming boring, actually is something I could read a lot more about.  It’s intense and fun.

I feel like I wanted more out of the Room of Lost Souls.  It is written about in a way that builds suspense.  It is a creepy and spooky sort of room.  Sure, as the main character learns more information, some of the “spooky” disappears as it is replaced by greedy human motivations and military science projects, but I wanted more out of the room.  I guess that though it is sufficiently written, these parts could have been awesome.  Nevertheless, the stealth technology becomes the main point and though we really do not learn much about The Room, we learn enough to wonder what will happen next.

The main character is a bit difficult to like.  She is a loner who takes her privacy very seriously – her ship is named Nobody’s Business.  She also tries to be a good judge of character when picking her dive teams.  Her inner monologue is not whining or vague, but usually to the point and on topic.  The dialogue is much the same way in the book.  Characters do not go on long-winded rants and raves.  They do not share with us inane things that are irrelevant to the story.  It’s actually quite nice to read a novel in which the dialogue is not the author’s big focus. Other characters are tolerable.  I know that we are supposed to really like the character Karl, but I just felt ambivalent towards most of the characters.  The character named “Squishy” is someone the reader will want to punch.

4 stars

The Disappeared

The DisappearedI 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.

3 stars