Book Review – Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams

Review of: Angel Station
Author:
Walter Jon Williams
Price:
$4.99

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On 2013-12-03
Last modified:2013-12-03

Summary:

Perhaps that's another problem with the age of the book - maybe I expect more depth from books nowadays, or at least an exciting plot arc.

Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams

Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams

The blurb says:

They’re outlaws now. Created to serve a function grown obsolete, haunted by the holographic ghost of their father, Ubu and Maria have lived their entire lives skating along the edge of extinction. Now they and their ship Runaway are in flight both from the law and from a predatory clan of competitors. They’re going to come back rich, or not at all.

But what they find in the depths of space isn’t wealth, but a secret so startling that Ubu and Maria will need every last reserve of guile, cunning, and intelligence just to survive …

What I didn’t realize when I bought this was that it was written in 1989 – a fact that would have been patently obvious if the book still had its original cover:

Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams (1989 cover)

Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams (1989 cover)

A consequence of the age of the book is that it doesn’t read like a contemporary book (duh).  The usual problem with older sci-fi books is that the “future” gets dated pretty quickly – nowadays nobody would accept radiation giving someone strange powers, we’d expect it to give them cancer.  That isn’t really a problem in this case, the only specific problem that I can point to is that the aliens aren’t really alien enough.  Although the author’s put a lot of work into making the aliens think differently – and that’s good – they’re still a bit too familiar (bipeds who breathe air).

My other problem with the book is that it has a flat arc – it doesn’t really build up to a climax, things just happen and then it’s over.  There’s no moral to the story and the main characters don’t learn anything – if anything they repeat the mistakes of their predecessors, but even that isn’t set up like a moral.  Perhaps that’s another problem with the age of the book – maybe I expect more depth from books nowadays, or at least an exciting plot arc.