on 11 May 1999
I found the book extremely difficult to follow. The author introduces past events and characters that define the present time setting, but how it all fits together is hard to figure out. The technology was so 'out there' that it was hard to understand. Jargon and concepts were introduced that never really got explained. How the society, it which the story takes place, came about was really never explained. Somehow the society was split between people over a hundred and under a hundred. How this arbitrary number came about is anyones guess. As far a the story goes, what the heck is going on!!! I get a vague idea, but then characters suddenly pop up that have some stake it what's going on but why they do is again unclear. The plot seems really inconsistent. Antagonists are suddenly allies then enemies again. Don't even get me started on the main character's dream sequences. Avoid this book if you want a clear, understandable plot and world.
on 15 May 1997
This was an excellent book, the third by the author in the last two years, detailing the life of a young man, the son of a self-appointed messiah who failed. The son is forced to come to grips with his father and the destiny he bequeathed to him through genetics and through the failure of the father to achive his goal. The book draws the personal conflict of the boy in with the greater conflict of the station he lives in and the possible destruction of humanity in the galaxy in the long run.
on 19 February 1999
This is the first book I've read of Ms. Nagata's, and while she is obviously a talented writer, I didn't get a high degree of satisfaction from reading this particular novel. I never felt I was part of the world in which it was being told, which is a feeling I find vital in enjoying SF. The characters were compelling, the ideas interesting, but I felt like I joined the story in the middle, without proper exposition, and left it before it ended with any kind of climax.
on 2 July 1997
Deception Well is the most entertaining SciFi novel I have read in the last year. The characters are well developed, and the central idea is unusual and timely.
I perfer "hard science" novels written by authors with some training in physics, etc, but am frequently appalled by the lack of character development.
Linda Nagata is an excellent technician and I plan to read more of her work.
on 23 June 1999
I've just finished reading Mrs Nagata's Deception Well and I'm absolutely disgusted with myself for buying it. I mean, this must be the worst book I've read since... come to think of it, I can't remember any other novel that left me such a bad impression.
I'd like to be able to say something positive about it, but I can't. Even the artwork is sloppy! (I would have rated DW 0 star, only you can't.) As for the content, the hero, name of Lot (ring a bell?) grieves the death of his father/prophet/god, named Jupiter (of course, Yaweh would have been a bit obvious, wouldn't it ?). For reasons which are totally impossible to understand for anybody but Mrs Nagata, he takes about 200 pages to get himself ready to descend into the well where his father disappeared. (Yes, there's this well, see, only we don't know how it came to be or why - pretty convenient, in fact.) Anyway, Lot and his friends go down and, when they arrive, they discover that they have to go back up presto. When they do, the novel ends. Wow! Talk about an intricate storyline!
Well, that's about it. The characters are all one-dimensional, and the only thing that the reader discovers along the way is that the poor humans are persecuted by a race of mysterious aliens, the Chemzene (and the only thing we now about them is that nobody's even sure they ever existed - talk about mysterious, people!).
That sums it up, really. More than lives up to its French title (in French, "déception" means disappointment - and as for the disappointment, well... DW delivers in spades!).
Maybe the book should have been titled "Dejection Well"...