on Dec. 21, 2012 :
Mr. Brown's latest novella, “The Salt Moon Robots”, is an excellent and creative work. This novella diverges from the style of “Welcome to Mars!” in a few ways-- it is not “hard sci-fi”, the prose is more varied and stylish, and there is less direct critique of present culture. I found it easier reading than “Welcome to Mars!”, which is perhaps due to the stronger characterizations in this novella.
This novella's two major accomplishments are its characterizations and its seamless world-building. This novella lacks a “Captain Kirk”, a white male stand in for the 'everyman' through whom the audience is intended to experience the story. This is highly unusual for science fiction and is very refreshing. The novella's 3rd person perspective shifts focus between two main characters, Captain Ting and his passenger. Both are compelling and enjoyable to follow. The minor characters are also very well drawn and contribute context to the novella's deft world-building.
Mr. Brown's world-building in “Salt Moon Robots” is something to behold. The audience is shown a mining colony on a wasteland moon with its own social problems, culture, landscape, and motivators-- and this is done completely within the plot's context. There are no long explanations here, just craft and contextual balance. This level of storytelling is what keeps bringing me back to Mr. Brown's work.
It should also be noted that Mr. Brown exhibits some very finely crafted prose in this work. While the plot does eventually absorb the reader beyond noticing the language, it is clear that Mr. Brown took the time to refine this manuscript.
“Salt Moon Robots” is a must buy for fans of Mr. Brown's work, and an enjoyable read for any sci-fi fan.
(reviewed 78 days after purchase)