"It is a proud and lonely thing to be a Stainless Steel Rat - and it is the greatest experience in the galaxy if you can get away with it..." When I was but a little fry, I loved Harry Harrison's books about the titular intergalactic thief. Great sci fi they were not, but the voice buzzed with pace and humour.
This cap stars an Angelina diGriz wannabe, in a similarly pulpy sci fi world, smuggling a time travel diamond to save the universe. But I wasn't nearly as charmed by the voice - it lacked the humour that prompted me to overlook the sloppy sci fi of Stainless Steel Rat. By contrast, this capital tried to evoke an emotional response other than laughter, and for me fired wide of the target.
Perhaps one of the reasons I didn't enjoy the ride as much as I desired was that the narrative relied so heavily on dialogue, but that dialogue was more often used for clunky exposition than snappy banter. And I wasn't 100% clear on the internal logic of the world. Like, we're told the diamond acts randomly, yet it seems to take them right where they need to be. What would Jennoc do with it if he got hold of it? How come there's exactly one mention of Kern being telepathic and it goes nowhere beyond conveniently fixing a plot point?
The Bull may have mentioned this previously, but Bessie is a scientist. As such, discussions of things like space voyages and time-travel are taken very seriously in this house.
Bessie confers with some of the world’s most brilliant minds, hers being one of them, and will suggest things that Bullmeister may want to write about. The Bull tries very hard to stay within the framework of physics, but when he gets frustrated, he just writes a science fantasy and says fuck it all. However, he has never written a time-travel story that doesn’t use sound scientific theory.
The Bulldog is less critical of other VC’s SF caps. He is willing to suspend disbelief unless the science is really utterly stupid. And he’s not quite sure of this ‘Rainbow Diamond’ crap.
Essentially, here we have a magical rock that needs to be tossed into a volcano. Hmm. At least there are no hobbits in this one. It bounces the main character and her companions around time and space in a wonky manner. The cap gets chaotic and a bit confusing.
That being said, the Bulldog sighs as he gazes at his bookshelf full of Harry Harrison's books and finds himself agreeing with Sturgeon.