- Buy this product and stream 90 days of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. E-mail after purchase. Conditions apply. Learn more
Scardown (Jenny Casey) Mass Market Paperback – 28 Jun 2005
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers also shopped for
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From the Inside Flap
The year is 2062, and after years on the run, Jenny Casey is back in the Canadian armed forces. Those who were once her enemies are now her allies, and at fifty, she's been handpicked for the most important mission of her life-a mission for which her artificially reconstructed body is perfectly suited. With the earth capable of sustaining life for just another century, Jenny-as pilot of the starship Montreal-must discover brave new worlds. And with time running out, she must succeed where others have failed.
Now Jenny is caught in a desperate battle where old resentments become bitter betrayals and justice takes the cruelest forms of vengeance. With the help of a brilliant AI, an ex--crime lord, and the man she loves, Jenny may just get her chance to save the world. If it doesn't come to an end first...
About the Author
Elizabeth Bear was born on the same say as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. This, coupled with her childhood tendency to read the dictionary for fun, has led inevitably to penury, intransigence, and the writing of speculative fiction. Her hobbies include incompetent archery, practicing guitar, and reading biographies of Elizabethan playmenders.She is the recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for best New Writer and the author of over a dozen published or forthcoming novels, including the Locus Award-winning Jenny Casey trilogy and the Phillip K. Dick Award-nominated Carnival. A native New Englander, she spent seven years near Las Vegas, but now lives in Connecticut with a presumptuous cat.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In the first book, Bear's writing was a little stiff, and her dialog was VERY weak in sections. She's clearly learned and improved. Where her first book took cues from early William Gibson, in this one, she clearly cues off his later work, as well as Neal Stephenson and others, moving the action onto a global/space opera stage.
For those who have read the first book, things are definitely going downhill, and they continue to do so in this book. Much of the action is dark, betrayal on betrayal in the background, while good folks (Master Chief Warrant Officer Casey and family/friends) fight to be able to do the right thing. On the other hand, we do get to know Col. Valens and his granddaughter Patty much better. We meet a new Chinese pilot, and we learn more about other characters.
A much-improved writer telling a dark story. If you liked the first book, or you like the other authors named, you will enjoy this one. Bear could still do with some editing (which seems to be more and more scarce in the publishing world), but she's definitely writing a solid story with a good mix of science, intrigue, and characterization. I had the third one waiting before I finished this one, so I'll be looking for more from this author.
Nevertheless, SCARDOWN changes the scene and the case of secondary characters considerably from HAMMERED. Former drug lord Razorface is still around, but now he's in Canada seeking revenge on the people behind his wife's death. He hooks up with some kids dabbling in terrorism, one of whom has a connection to Jenny's past. Col. Fred Valens, the ambiguous character who was responsible both for a lot of bad things in HAMMERED and at the same time for helping drastically improve Jenny's well-being, is still around and in ruthless ends-justify-means mode. His motives become clearer as the story progresses, and we get to meet his softer side in the form of his (male) spouse and his granddaughter Patty. Patty stands out in a starship pilot program that somewhat improbably also includes Jenny's fictive niece Leah; both of the girls go on to play important roles. The awkward Jenny-Gabe-Elspeth triangle continues both in Toronto and in space, AI Richard continues to grow, becoming probably the second-most central character in the book, and Chinese pilot and poet Min-xue comes along to provide insight into the motives and actions of the PanChinese space program. And then there are the aliens who seem to be headed our way ...
Three phenomena that were barely noticeable in HAMMERED become central in SCARDOWN: Earth may be headed for an environmental disaster that will destroy most if not all earthly life; the competition between Canada and PanChina for dominance in space is intense, partly for that reason; and Canada is almost entirely dependent on corporate baddie Unitek for its space program. Most of the drama and action stem from these factors. The biggest question the book raises is how much we can or should rely on artificial intelligence and (alien) nanotechnology to solve the earth's and our own problems.
Overall, SCARDOWN is OK (my rating is closer to 3.5 stars than to the 3.0 stars Amazon allows me). Bear writes well, and Jenny Casey is a (mostly) sympathetic character/first-person narrator. Environmental disaster, competition between nations, the perils and promise of AI and nanotech, and the alienation and exhilaration of cyborgification (can I say that?) are all sci-fi themes that are still in style. Bear's consistent foregrounding of cooperation across ethnic and racial differences -- Jenny is native American, Gabe is French Canadian, Razorface is African American, etc. -- is also, if nothing else, warm and fuzzy.
On the other hand, some of the plotlines -- like those involving Razorface and his cohorts -- are distractions, Bear somehow manages to make the starships and their alien drives almost entirely uninteresting, and some of the most dramatic plot developments make sense mainly as dramatic plot developments. I find this annoying. Why do the Canadians and the Chinese have to go to the same place? Why can't they talk about cooperating, if there are no alternatives? When the Chinese decide to strike out against the Canadians, what do they hope to accomplish and don't they anticipate how badly they will be hurting themselves by doing so? And (quibble) why doesn't AI Richard sound more like the man he was modeled on, Richard Feynman?
Anyway ... Fans of the first book should definitely consider the second. Those who have not yet gotten hold of a copy of HAMMERED will be able to follow SCARDOWN ... but will probably be quite bored.
As before, the tale is told in a series of jagged, short, time-stamped chapters from multiple povs. Jenny Casey, with her "wetware" upgraded, is now going to be plugged in as a starship pilot, while the scientists, teenagers, gangsters, et al. from the previous volume continue to play their roles. (Bear cleverly borrows the "mad space pilot" concept from Cordwainer Smith.) The characters' motivations are constantly in flux, and it's impossible to clearly tell who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Let's just say they're all mostly imperfect, but try to do what they think is best. Also, the author is, fortunately, interested as much in character as she is in plot and action. Indeed, there are times when you're likely to tear up at some of the hard choices that the characters have to make.
Bear's a clever writer, too--a great prose stylist, and her dialogue can often go off in unexpected directions. Sometimes a character will begin speaking, after which some other bit of business starts, and the other speaker doesn't respond for a paragraph or so. Disconcerting at first, but you'll get used to it.
Notes and asides: Second of three, so obviously you should read "Hammered" before tackling this one.
I would buy it again.