Review: The Kassa Gambit

December 31, 2013 at 7:19 pm (science fiction)

The Kassa Gambit
The Kassa Gambit by M.C. Planck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read this book before – or versions of it: far-traveling small trader meets double agent meets interplanetary conspiracy; hijinks ensue. A pretty good read.

This one has the kind of creative variations and embellishments that make it worth reading the basic story again, at least in my estimation. These lie mainly in the cultural/historical/political realms. There is, for example, a basically fascist organization called the League that is working toward the takeover of a basically democratic society (that’s where the double agent comes in). The small trader is looking for her mother’s planet, which she doesn’t even know the name of (but she has a high-tech artifact from it, which turns out to be very handy at a key point in the plot).

Planck puts in some interesting thoughts about technological stagnation in a basically unthreatened interstellar society; the trader’s home planet underwent sociopolitical catastrophe that caused her to flee it, which is nicely different from the usual reasons for fleeing a planet. Plenty of interesting secondary characters too, and the main characters are quite well done. Taken as a whole, however, the plot was unfortunately predictable.

So, it doesn’t quite reach the level of brilliance, in my humble opinion. Except maybe in the climactic action sequence, which seems to take place in that altered state of consciousness that lies on the other side of terror and despair. That was impressive.

View all my reviews

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