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steve redwood
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 03:03 pm:   

Hi, finally got round to Market Forces. Once again, great stuff. I did a small review for Cleopatra's publisher's newsletter – you can also find it at
http://www.readreverb.com/index.php?s=content&p=archive
I had to assume no knowledge, and had limited space and time , so it's a bit general. A few points I didn't make there: I should have said more of Chris and Carla, which was a very impressive study – just like real break-ups (yep, I can still remember them!) they go round in ever-decreasing circles – but circles with barbed wire pointing inwards, so that each repetition of an argument (the same one) is that much more painful and destructive. (I also like irony that it's Carla's mechanical skill that turns Chris' car into such an ideal killing machine.)
Also mightily taken by Mike. A unique character, a real bastard with heroic qualities, the loyal fearless buddy who never lets you down, a man who actually sees himself as good. The inevitable showdown – again well set up, we always know the Liz affair will bring disaster, but the exact HOW is a surprise – was brilliant as well as shocking, in that Chris does NOT do what we all (sitting comfortably at home) think we would have done when Mike is trapped in the wreckage of his car – a warning not to identify too closely with pov character. (Small complaints here though – I never felt Chris-Liz came alive as did Chris-Carla, and you out-hardy-ed Thomas Hardy in not allowing Chris or Liz to ask each other just once, until it is too late, why they should have sent each other the porn tapes or the Norway flight plans.)
Are you becoming more pessimistic? Here the idealist Barranco is shown as a hero, and a man who CAN make a difference. In your later Woken Furies, the other idealist and man of action, Brasil, is presented much more ambiguously, and his ability to achieve anything is thrown into doubt.
Speaking of ambiguity. This book oozes it. Especially the ending. Is there a hint of optimism in the pessimism? What moral price the aid that Barranco will get? And as I said in the review, the third person narrative does allow for more suspense over the fate of the 'hero'. (though –sorry! – just a wee bit 'movie-ish' the penultimate 'surprise' after Chris has had a slight contretemps with the locals!)
Interesting that it seems more difficult to get the reader's suspension of disbelief in a near-future setting than in space-opera setting. I admit I never quite believed in this London as much as, say, the far more exotic Harlan's world – but I guess a completely invented world allows you to describe it in detail, while a 'real' world relies partly on reader's knowledge – and I know little of London. Out of interest, which did you find easier?
Anyway, once again, a humdinger that had that 'read-on-even-if-your-eyeballs-are-dropping-out-at-five-in-the-morning quality.
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richard
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2006 - 10:32 am:   

thanks Steve - appreciate it.

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