Most helpful critical review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Too much science, not enough fiction
on 19 February 1998
Starplex tries very hard to give a sense of wonder by introducing lots of wonderful new (and some old) ideas. Everything is here- a universe spanning instantaneous travel network, immortality, myterious superpowerful aliens, interstellar war, dark matter, Jupiter sized intelligent beings, etc, etc, etc...
There's only one problem- it gives far too many new ideas, so many that huge plot arcs are handled in five pages and then discarded like so much used kleenex. The war is a classic example- the causes are mentioned in about two paragraphs with no lead up, the Starplex comes under attack, a Deus ex Machina ends the attack, and the Starplex is flung bazillions of light years away through a totally new method of traversing the wormholes. The Starplex returns to human space after about two pages, gets fixed, the war ends, some pablum about "everyone should live together" is spoken and the war ends. The rest of the topics are treated in much the same manner- great ideas, but no real follow through on what they might mean, or even how they affect the rest of the novel.
The characters are mere cardboard props to try and push the story along. Sadly, we end up feeling no real emotional connection to any of them, even to the tragic story of the Ib.
I give the novel a 4 simply because some of the ideas are neat, and they were fun to contemplate. The rest of the book just doesn't work. If this wins a Nebula or Hugo I'll be disappointed- there's far, far better written SF out there.