Do you ever get that feeling where you've caught up with your to-do list, you feel good about yourself, you're looking forward to a quiet evening with no pressure and no responsibilities, and everything's all right with the world?
Neither do I.
Tonight, House of Giants was on my to-do list. It was not an unpleasant way to spend time.
It's a science fiction cap in which tribes of humans subsist inside colossal space-faring aliens with unknowable minds. Viruses are to humans as humans are to these behemoths. You know, like the forgettable 1987 Spielberg movie Innerspace, except with more sense of wonder.
It struck me, as I was reading this, how often sci-fi is cast as an ordinary Joe being thrown into an unfamiliar world. We can relate to this guy, which anchors us to the story, and we feel the same astonishment he does when we see the strangeness around us. But that doesn't happen here. Instead, we have a character that is difficult to relate to, which makes it harder still to understand what we're experiencing when the narrative talks of antibodies and precursor and conjunction pustules.
So, while I enjoyed the sense of scale and the worldbuilding, I never got close enough to this narrative to be moved by it. To care, I must first understand. (Or grok, if you prefer.)
The Bull mocks all the snowbound bastards out there as he basks in 84°F Florida weather.
Well, maybe not Texas, because Texas has it shitty. But the Bull definitely mocks those smug asshats in the northern territories that question those living in the hurricane prone regions of this planet.
Even giant aliens would prefer wind and rain to freezing death temperatures.
Our cap “House of Giants” is an odd short story that wants to be an odd novel.
At first, I was put off by the present tense. But it was okay in this. The cap starts with a detailed telling of a coming of age ritual, but then it morphs into something else. We get a potential romantic interest, some bad guys, and mysticism. It’s interesting and begs to be expanded into young adult novel. Seriously, more character development, flesh out the plot and you got something.