This is the part of reviewing books that I absolutely love; introducing authors that write extremely. I discovered Timothy Zahn on my own, during a despondent wander through the science-fiction section of the local library. I picked up his book The Icarus Hunt and glared at the flashy cover with its odd-looking space ship and raised letters in gold. “Timothy Zahn, New York Times Best Selling Author” was written in white under a blurb about another of his works on the front cover. I nearly put it back on the shelf, I’d been so disgusted with other books that had been on the NYT’s best sellers list.
I flipped the book over, and read the back cover. Jordan McKell and his troubles didn’t seem like your normal space novel. In fact, it reminded me vaguely of The Maltese Falcon. I moved over to one of the over stuffed blue chairs on the opitsite side of the library’s sci-fi shelves, and began to read. An hour later, I came back to myself with a start. The library was closing. Red cheeked, I grabbed my purse and fled before the librarian turning off the lights to the check out desk. I remember how my heart leaped in my chest as carried the book to the car, smelling the slightly sweet paper pages and marveling at how immersed I’d been in so short a time. I stayed up past one in the morning, reading. I couldn’t stop. It was better than the best movie. I saw Jordan McKell, and I liked him, despite his desperately trying to make sure that I didn’t.
I immediately took to Pix and Pax an Ixel, too. I was rooting for them, even when they turned out to be drug runners for a mafia like character. I still liked them. And then my imagination kicked over in excitement. What Jordan said he was, and how he acted, didn’t make sense. Something was up. I began anticipating where the plot was going. Sometimes I guessed right, and sometimes I guessed wrong. Mainly I guessed right. That was because of the skillful clue planting Zahn did. I began to enjoy the writer/reader partnership consciously. I was playing a game, an exhilarating game, with someone who was a master of their craft. He dropped phases like “The sky to sunward was gaudy”* into the book as well, making sci-fi poetic and I’d never seen anyone do that before.
The Icarus Hunt was the first book of Timothy Zahn’s that I read, but it certainly wasn’t the last. I picked up Night Train to Rigel the day it released at my local Barnes & Noble and like The Icarus Hunt, I read it in a handful or hours. It was the kind of read I wanted to slow down, to make it last longer, and at the same time, was so amazing, I couldn’t pause, not for one moment.
My review of “Night Train to Rigel” is up on thechristianmanifesto so go and buy your copy or reserve it at the library first. Then go read what I have to say about it, and get ready for one rip-roaring thrill ride that will keep you up later than you planned and pull you so deep into another universe, you might get locked in at the library.
*Chapter 2, page 22 in The Icarus Hunt.
And while you’re at it, you’ll want to pick up this one too.
What books caught your imagination and drew you in so deeply you were up till three in the morning, or spent the night in the library? Let me know in the comments, I’m always on the prowl for another fantastic read!