Sunday, January 24, 2010

Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child ***

What is the difference between Science Fiction and Thrillers? Is it just Doubleday vs Tor? Consider Terminal Freeze and book that wants to have it both ways. The author has published with both houses, and this book's jacket boasts of "science fiction tropes."

The story opens; scientists are researching glaciers and global warming in Alaska, when a rapidly melting glacier reveals a frozen, preserved animal from thousands of years ago. Sounds like SF to me.

I suggest the difference is that science fiction readers expect the science to be accurate.

In this book, a contemporary film crew carried a Moviola, the gold standard for film post-production, to Alaska, while shooting with digital cameras. The problem may have been that they were using 50-year-old military computers for rendering. After entering a sphere "covered in a dark colored knobby padding,"(obviously an anechoic chamber) one of our scientists proclaims," My goodness. It is an echo chamber." I won't discuss the resolution to what is essentially a silly BEM story.

Another example: "potentiometers and oscillator pots." What could the pots be if not potentiometers? ROFL.

My answer is that a thriller is all about pacing, while science fiction additionally requires real science, not just tropes.

That said, if you can park your brain someplace, the pace is fast and the pages almost turn themselves. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't do it and had to stop several times to let the foolishness dissipate.

No comments: