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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recently read: "The Barsoom Project" by Larry Niven and Steve Barnes

The Barsoom Project

The Barsoom Project

After re reading Dream Park, I debated whether I should re read the sequel, since I didn't find it memorable when I first read it.  I finally decided to take a chance.  It's a mixed bag, I think.  The first book's game depended on the South Pacific, particularly Cargo Cults, which had just enough "science" to make it feel less like a fantasy game (slightly less, I admit).  With the focus here being on Inuit mythology, this felt much more like a fantasy D&D game, which made the game itself less interesting to me.

As with the first book, in general the characters aren't that memorable (I still don't have a feeling on who Gwen and Ollie are, and they appear in both games).  The mystery, again, isn't quite played fair, since I don't see how you could figure out who was responsible for the initial murders (though it's pretty clear from the beginning who the ultimate villain is).  I sort of like the Alex Griffin characters, though again, outside of his job have we really gotten to know him?

The beanstalk/Barsoom stuff feels like it's tacked on in a way.  I suppose that Niven was fascinated by the idea at the time (we saw it later in Rainbow Mars) but here it's not even a McGuffin, really.

I do like the cover art for this release better than the initial, though since I read it as a Kindle version maybe that's not important.

I'm going to wait a while (a few weeks probably) before I tackle The California Voodoo Game (with a terrible Kindle cover!) in preparation for The Moon Maze Game later this year.

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