Review: Galaxy Blues by Allen M. Steele

Galaxy Blues Allen M. Steele

(Published as a 4 part serial in Asimov’s SF, Oct/Nov 07, Dec 07, Jan 08, Feb 08)

Allen Steele has become one of my favorite SF authors. I know that a large part of it has to do with the style of stories he tells. The Coyote sequence is as close to the old masters as any modern day writer is currently producing. I get the grandeur, the epic scale, the positive vibe that I use to get from reading Asimov, Heinlein and Pohl.

Galaxy Blues was a bit of a disappointment for me. While I am writing a single review for all four parts, I did read it as it was published. I was thinking of waiting until the last installment showed up and then reading them altogether, but frankly, I just couldn’t wait. I was like a kid waiting for the next installment, all excited and disappointed at the same time. I feel that because I read the story in four different months, that something was lost. I plan on reading it again when the book is available in paperback, and I’ll post a comment to this entry at that time about how I feel about reading it without the month long breaks.

I did like the overall story. The opening scenes had me recalling the first Coyote story I read, “Stealing Alabama”. It had the same kind of tension and excitement level.

Some of the characters seemed a little thin to me. The main characters were robust enough, but some of the secondary characters were not people that I developed any interest in. The thing is that I know I am being harsh here. I have this extraordinarily high expectation for Coyote stories that is unrealistic for Mr. Steele to match. It occurs to me that I might have experienced a similar let down if I had read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series in its original story and serial format. I imagine many people were disappointed that the continuing tale did not have the same excitement as “The Mule”. I need to be realistic.

It is a very good story. I would suggest that anyone that has not read any of Allen Steele’s Coyote books start with “Coyote” and read them in published order. It is not necessary, but there are tid-bits of information and story inside information that will flow just a little better if they are read that way.

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