8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Personable writing style overcomes the few flaws,
This review is from: Crossfire (Hardcover)
Nancy Kress' style captivates me to the point that I am quite willing to overlook her shortcomings. I'll mention them though, just to get them out of the way: I found the beginning a bit rough, keeping track of a lot of characters all introduced at the same time. And there were occasional repetitions noticeable, and rather awkward foreshadowing.
These are each very minor flaws though, and don't interfere with a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Plotwise, we have a private company in the 23rd century building a spaceshp and ferrying 6,000 very rich people from a dying Earth to their new planet, Greentrees. These 6000 represent quite diverse groups and ideologies. There's a tribe of Cheyennes wanting to take up a traditional mode of life; 1000 Chinese and 1000 New Quakers each seeking separate ways of leading simpler and quieter lifestyles; a major charcter's extended family of ecologically obsessed scientists; a deposed Arabic royal family, along with a few other various assorted rich & eccentric individuals.
The challenges and difficulties of setting up a world with such large and diversified groups is well handled by the author. Further complication ensue with the discovery of aliens already living in villages and with the approach of a spaceship bearing a very different species approaching.
The core of the novel and its primary fascination come from the parts where humans and aliens work to avoid mistakes like those made on first contact. However, the stories & agendas of the various characters are also fascinating. At times, one might fear trite & ho-hum subplots such as the friction between the New Quaker doctor and his rebellious daughter, or the Corporation leader with a deep dark secret in his past, and yet we feel deeply enough for those involved that we are concerned with how each works out his and her challenges.
Having been away from science- reading for a long while, disenchanted with the depressing view of the future and the emphasis on hard science prevalent in the genre, I found this to be a refreshing, enjoyable return.