I read this book about 21-Sep-2009. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2008. This note was last modified Sunday, 25-Oct-2009 15:52:53 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
By Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner. I really need to fix this system to deal with collaboration better; they're much more common than they used to be in the field.
This was lots of fun. Turns out it's the middle book of three, but it's not a series, just books set in the same universe (Niven's Known Space, rather before Ringworld). So it seemed to me complete and whole in itself, which was good.
It's the story of Sigmund Ausfaller's career in the ARMs, roughly. It covers most of the Known Space period, and in fact is woven around the other stories, even including some of the same events from different points of view. It spends more time on the colonized human planets, and more time with the Puppeteers.
Ausfaller, like all ARMs, is a paranoid. He's a natural one, and one of the rare ones that escaped detection and treatment until the ARMs recruited him. Normal policy requires him to be medicated when off-duty (it's the reverse for those who aren't natural paranoids); he solves this problem by never taking time off. He makes a very interesting viewpoint character for this.
This feels a lot like Niven's writing to me. Collaborations come in roughly two kinds—real ones, and ones where a junior author does most of the work and gets published as having collaborated with a senior author. The first kind generally don't really feel like either author, but like some new writer (their collabortion I suppose); The Mote in God's Eye (#2) doesn't read much like either Niven or Pournelle to me, and Good Omens is not at all like other Pratchett or other Gaiman. The second kind generally doesn't sound much like the senior author's work either. For whatever reason, this one feels a lot like Niven to me, and the Niven from the period that I liked him best in. So that's good for me.
I'm looking forward to reading the previous and the following books. I should look into Lerner's solo writing, too.