Title: Starfishers Trilogy Volume 2: Starfishers
Author: Glen Cook
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Starfishers is the literary equivalent of The Blair Witch 2. I actually watched The Blair Witch 2 in theaters. (I was a teenager with too much free time. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.) I went in expecting a hilarious bad sequel to a film that didn’t need a sequel. Once the movie ended and the lights came back up, I found myself in a limbo state. I didn’t think the movie was bad. I didn’t think the movie was good. Confused by my lack of even substantial feelings for the film, I sat in the theater, jaw slacked and baffled until a movie usher insisted I leave.
I went into reading this book expecting to enjoy it. A story about space whales, spies, espionage, and a universe where Earth is the kind of place you make certain your spaceship doors are locked when passing by? That should be right up my alley. Upon finishing Starfishers, I found myself in a similar emotional state to that day in the theater. Only there isn’t a theater employee here to move me along. So here I sit, baffled by what has just happened and attempting to write a review about the book. Bear with me.
Starfishers is the second book in The Starfishers Trilogy, written by Glen Cook. Originally released in 1982, this updated version, now with fantastic cover art by Daniel Dociu, was released March of this year.
This portion of the story centers around an anxious, navel-gazing spy named Moyshe benRabi and his co-worker and friend, a psychopathic ladies man and assassin nicknamed Mouse. Moyshe and Mouse have been assigned to infiltrate the Seiners, a group that holds a monopoly over the Starfish herds. The Starfish produce ambergris, a precious resource that allows for travel amongst the stars. Everyone wants some of that pie and benRabi and Mouse are working for an organization set out to get a piece. Too soon, though, Moyshe finds himself falling under the spell of the Seiner society. Does he go rogue or complete the assignment?
The story flips between Moyshe and Mouse’s current situation and events in the past that have lead them to the course they are following now. To keep the reader from getting too confused, the author includes a star date at the beginning of each chapter to act as a guide post.
Like any good space story, there is action. Near the end of the book. The substance of this book is personal reflection and observation. Let’s just say if you enjoy war films that are more along the line of A Thin Red Line instead of Saving Private Ryan, you’ll enjoy the pace of this book.
Perhaps Starfishers is suffering from middle child syndrome — none of the pomp and circumstance that rolls out with the first novel and none of the satisfying tying up of story lines that the last novel possesses. It’s forced to be the supporting cast that acts as a bridge between the first and third novels.
Based on the rules of writing fiction, it is a well-written book. Cook presents the readers with characters that are interesting and his attempt at weaving science fiction and fantasy together is impressive.
I still don’t know what to make of this novel. So I will end the review now, still slack-jawed and still quite confused.
Maybe a re-watching of The Blair Witch 2 will help.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars