Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer


'My place was on Fifth Avenue, which was a great address in New York, but a lousy one in New Klondike, especially out near the rim; it was mostly home to people who had tried and failed at fossil hunting, hence its nickname "Sad Sacks Fifth Avenue".'

I had been counting the days until the latest Robert J. Sawyer novel landed in my mailbox and might have been guilty of an over jubilant fist pump on receiving this attractive hardcover beauty. My anticipation dates back to the author's online posts regarding a prospective title for this genre melding Martian detective tale and has only grown while awaiting its release.
My praise is about to get effusive, so settle in peoples. Two of my favourite cinematic genres are film noir and science-fiction, combine them in a novel and you can understand my enthusiasm. Referencing classic films like Casablanca,  the gumshoe protagonist gives out a world weary Humphrey Bogart feel and the human transfers are reminiscent of the neo-noir Blade Runner.  While Sawyer draws on these popular references, he also elevates them, transforming them into a compelling and original story with his token "unputdownable" touch. Yes, I am well aware that is not a word.
I really don't want to give much of the plot away, it is far more enjoyable to immerse yourself without preconceived notions of what might occur. Having said that there will be Martian fossils, nifty transportation, dangerous dames, sex, violence and a fascinating planet full of adventure that had me reading until 3am this morning. 5 out of 5 get me on a shuttle to Mars along with requisite hot new transfer body!

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