Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A great "Outre Mer" review

My novel "Outre Mer" just received a terrific review from reader and avid science-fiction aficionado David Masci, who gives it five stars out of five.

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A Wonderful First Novel

Outre Mer is that rare science fiction novel that is able to speak to today's anxieties while painting a compelling and utterly believable picture of tomorrow. It's also a ripping good yarn, that moves quickly and builds in intensity without sacrificing nuance or detail. In short, Michael Puttre's first book is a stunning debut and a novel that deserves a wide and grateful audience.

The future Puttre presents in the book is completely grounded in reality. He avoids the pitfalls of so many science fiction novels, which have a tendency to ignore human nature as readily as they change the laws of physics. The characters that populate Outre Mer are real people: at times petty, at times noble, never one dimensional. Puttre imbues even secondary characters with a flesh and blood reality that makes them both interesting and worth caring about.

The story is complex, involving political intrigue and war, and is told largely through the eyes of a half dozen characters. But Puttre uses the events and people depicted in the novel to dig deeper, exploring issues such as the nature of faith and duty, the need to belong to something greater than oneself, and the extent of our responsibility to those we have dominion over. Thankfully, the author does not provide easy answers. Instead, we see characters grappling with tough decisions that involve compromising one set of principles to serve another. This tension makes the novel tremendously rewarding.

Finally, and amazingly for a first time author, Puttre has managed to get right the mechanics of fiction writing. His prose is clear and tight, avoiding overly colorful language while still giving us a steady stream of dazzling description and dialogue. His pacing is also exceptionally good. The story never lags or wanders off in unproductive directions. Overall, this is a wonderful book, one that I enjoyed tremendously and look forward to reading again.

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The reviewer is a a senior research fellow at a Washington, DC, think-tank (I don't want to name it here because David isn't representing it in writing the review). His specialty is religion and public life. David has also read more science fiction novels than anyone else I am aware of, so I am truly grateful for his kind review.

Please have a look at "Outre Mer." You can preview and purchase it at Lulu.com. It is also available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

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