The Cranky Old Reader

I'm a Goodreads refugee, looking for a new home. Old books for children, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and humor are my main areas of interest. I've little interest in books that were written after 1975 or so, and prefer books that are older still. There are, however, a few still-living authors that I respect.

Vigilant (League of Peoples, Bk. 2)

Vigilant - James Alan Gardner In a fractional rating system, I would have given this book a 3.7.Sometimes I pick up a bunch of books really cheap, for ten cents apiece up in Maine. Or I get them three for a dollar in Brookline. At those prices, I can afford to take a chance on writers that I've never read before - even though I only like three modern genre writers.Once in a very long while, I find a new modern author who can write well.The Vigilant is actually a surprisingly good book. Gardner's not a new Zelazny, but this long science fiction novel about a plague on a colony planet surprised me several times - and didn't annoy me once. Well, okay, the author's use of the word "Dads" annoyed me. A lot. But apart from that, the characters were well-written, and the plot worked pretty well.The heroine was a bit annoying at times, but that was intentional. And the ideas behind the story were interesting; it takes place in a galactic "League of Peoples" in which unimaginably powerful races have issued a single command: that dangerous non-sentient beings cannot travel from planet to planet.The novel also features an interesting idea for a non-governmental organization which exists solely to scrutinize the government, and to publicize malfeasance and the consequences of government action and inaction; it's not slanted in any obvious political direction, and doesn't pretend to perfection.There's a pretty large mystery component to the plot, which when handled properly is always good. I don't know if it would have been possible to solve the mystery before the denouement, but I didn't feel cheated, and I didn't see the various revelations coming in advance. Apparently Gardner has written a number of other books; I'll probably try them.

Currently reading

Basic Roleplaying: The Chaosium d100 system (Basic Roleplaying)
Sam Johnson, Charlie Krank
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Rebecca Solnit