Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Drifter -By William C. Dietz (Review)

If you're looking for a fast-paced science fiction story without a lot of subtext, Drifter by William C. Dietz is for you.

The story primarily follows Pik Lando, a dashing smuggler who is hired by a group of religious pacifists known as "The Chosen" to haul a very special cargo. The Chosen take the idea of religious pacifism to the extreme, kind of like the Amish of Space, and it turns out they've settled on a planet that is half-owned by an "evil" mining consortium, which wants to drive them off. The passive Chosen can't bring themselves to fight back in a straightforward manner, so they've devised a plan to peacefully defeat the mining company, but they need Lando's help to complete it.

There is a bit of melodrama in this, and a romantic fling between Lando and the young lady who recruits him to help The Chosen. This meshes with the overall theme of the story, and it doesn't get too sappy.

This was the first book I ever read by William C. Dietz, and it was enjoyable. The story was pretty straightforward and sometimes predictable. It's a fun little space opera, with all the action & adventure a Sci-Fi fan could ask for. One thing that could have been improved is the setting, which is left quite vague. We know the characters live in a universe where there is a human "empire" colonizing space, and there are various aliens and cyborgs mixed in here and there for flavoring, but the background of society is mostly left to the reader's imagination.

Overall, I'd set this book at 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's good, but nothing really special, and I found the two sequels to be much better.

I picked up my copy of Drifter for $1 at a used bookstore, and I see there are some affordable used copies on Amazon. I was shocked to see the Kindle version of this book set at $9.99, and I would not recommend that anyone pay that kind of money for this. You'll find the Kindle listing for the book to the left, as there are some interesting reviews posted with it, as well as links to the used paperback copies which can be had for a more reasonable price. As a writer, myself, I understand that my fellow wordsmiths and their publishers need to make money, but charging $9.99 for a Kindle book is outrageous. That's just my opinion, and if you feel differently, by all means, buy the expensive version.

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