Rolling Thunder

Came across this book by John Varley when I noticed an encomium from Cory Doctorow on the cover, comparing him to Heinlein.

And he was right. Rolling Thunder is very much in the humanist, technophilic mode. Further, it strongly approves of not only military discipline but the Navy model, which is one of the parts of Heinlein I don’t really approve of, but is integral to many of his works. It would read like a very competent pastiche, except that it has its own voice and a great deal to say in it; the result is that it can’t be described merely by referring to Heinlein’s style.

Heinlein was notorious for refusing to go back and edit his writing — to my mind, that’s at least partially responsible for the lifelike and spontaneously flavor of the novels written as diaries or day-to-day experiences of people in extraordinary circumstances. But it also means that much of his work wasn’t polished, and had a great deal of room for improvement.

Varley polishes his work ’til it shines.

I highly recommend it to fans of Heinlein. Note: as the last of a series, you shouldn’t start reading with it, unless you have no other choice.

As I enjoyed this book greatly, I decided to take a look at what other titles were available to me. And that lead to… well, I’ll talk about that tomorrow.


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