I read this book about 15-Oct-2006. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1993. This note was last modified Tuesday, 17-Oct-2006 12:23:09 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
I generally think of this as my favorite of his novels. Partly that's just my general preference for SF over fantasy; he didn't write that much SF.
This is a completely wonderful and completely brilliant book. Among many other things, it is the modern version of a Heinlein juvenile. It's not that much like a Heinlein juvenile; it's darker in tone, the protagonist is more disaffected (and disfunctional), and of course the background is very different. And you would never find a Heinlein juvenile beginning "Hating the Earth was easy." But it is still a growing up story about a very, very superior young man. (With some very superior friends.)
It seems amazing that I haven't, apparently, read this since I started keeping these notes. But that's what it says here.
I don't really understand why Matt is so out of sympathy with his father. That's background, long established in the characters' pasts, and no real attempt is made to explain it. And lots of real people do end up that way. I often don't understand that, either. Matt's father shows no signs of being a control freak, an asshole, or any flavor of abusive in this book, and Matt doesn't ever remember past sins of his father. There are also signs of some sort of previous friendship, in the way they can play together just a little bit (mostly near the end).
In the end, Matt gets his berth on a starship, by helping captain and crew trapped by an angry mob (precipitated by a bird falling dead on their table for no apparent reason; I suspect that's not a coincidence, though). And his parents support his choice, which I think surprises him a lot, though he doesn't exactly show it.
I believe publishers were pitched the idea of additional books in this world, covering some of the other young people, and what they did as adults. We'll never get to see any of those books now, dammit.