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by Mark Tiedemann

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Author: Mark Tiedemann
ISBN: 158824590X
Language: English
Category: Science Fiction
Publisher: Ibooks (March 2001)
Rating: 4.8
Formats: lrf doc txt rtf
FB2 size: 1857 kb | EPUB size: 1761 kb | DJVU size: 1807 kb

Mark W. Tiedemann’s love for science fiction and writing started at an early age, although it was momentarily sidetracked-for over twenty years-by his career as a professional photographer. After attending a Clarion Science Fiction Et Fantasy Writers Workshop held at Michigan State University in 1988, he rediscovered his lost love and focused his talents once more on attaining his dream of becoming a professional writer.

None of us ever do. Some of us forget that, though. Then there’s a mess to clean up. She stepped up to Coren.

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Mirage - Mark W. Tiedemann (2000) Chimera - Mark W. Tiedemann (2001) Aurora - Mark W. Tiedemann (2002) Have Robot, Will Travel - Alexander C. Irvine (2004). About this book: Coren Lanra is the head of security for Dynan Manuel Industries. A former Special Service sgent he's never cared for bureaucracy, piracy or deception. And he hates mysteries. Lanra's troubles begin with the death of Nyron Looms, daughter of Dynan president Rega Looms, during an ill-fated mission to smuggle illegal immigrants from Earth to the colony Nova Levis- all were apparently murdered, but why?

Mark W. Tiedemann (born 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American science fiction and detective fiction author.

Mark W. He has written novels set in Isaac Asimov's Robot universe, and within his own original universe, known as the Secantis Sequence. In spring 2005 he was named president of the Missouri Center for the Book, which is the Missouri state adjunct program to the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

But how long after that do you think it will be before he starts haranguing us in public of trying to bring a suit against us?

But how long after that do you think it will be before he starts haranguing us in public of trying to bring a suit against us? That might just convince Setaris to ship us home. Derec closed his eyes and swallowed more scotch.

Chimera (Tiedemann Mark . Mark W. Tiedemann Chimera Prologue One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen Sixtwwn Seventeen Eighteen Nineteen Twenty Twenty-One Twenty-Two Twenty-Three Twenty-Four Twenty-Five. Tiedemann Chimera Prologue One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen Sixtwwn Seventeen Eighteen Nineteen Twenty Twenty-One Twenty-Two Twenty-Three Twenty-Four Twenty-Five Twenty-Six Twenty-Seven Twenty-Eight Epilogue. Tiedemann Chimera. Isaac Asimov's Robot Mystery. Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics 1. A robot may not inure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Tiedemann began publishing science fiction stories professionally after attending the Clarion Workshop in 1988. Compass Reach was shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick Award in 2002 and Remains for the James Tiptree Jr. Award in 2006. He served on the board of the Missouri Center for the Book for nine years, five as president, during which time he oversaw the creation of the Missouri State Poet Laureate post. He is a lifelong resident of St. Louis

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Comments (6)
Coren Landra is a private security boss investigating baley-running (Earth citizens illegally attempting to emigrate to Spacer worlds). When he discovers that a group of baleys he's been tracking has wound up dead in transit from Earth to Kopurnik space station, things become personal, as one of the victims, Nyom Looms, is his ex-girlfriend, and the daughter of his boss, an anti-spacer industry leader running for political office. The only evidence Coren initially has to work with is a robot in positronic lock with blood on it's hands. His investigations will take him on a twisting path as he discovers politicians maneuvering behind the scenes, greed and depravity withing the leadership of massive corporations and even a hint that a spacer world may be trying to start a war. Chimera also introduces us to cyborgs - not wholly human or robot.

Let me say for the record that Chimera has an interesting plot and fits relatively well into the universe created by Isaac Asimov. It introduces new concepts (Cyborgs) and continues to give us a look at the relationship between Earth and the Spacer worlds, especially the links between Earth, Aurora and Solaria. Sometimes relationships and characters from the Spacer worlds strain the boundaries created by Asimov, but otherwise Tiedemann keeps things relatively close to what Asimov created, while adding some freshness and depth to the universe. Several of the point-of-view characters return in Chimera, including Auroran ambassador Arile Burgess and Derec, the positronics specialist, and I found them, along with Coren Landra, to be interesting, compelling protagonists.

Where Chimera fails is, in part, what made Asimov so successful. While Asimov needed only a handful of characters and organizations to write a deep, complex mystery, Tiedmann goes the opposite route, giving us dozens of persons, organizations (both political and industrial) and links between them. I don't read a lot of mystery books in general, but I don't know how anyone who's not writing down all these links and characters in a notebook possibly keeps track! There are literally points in the novel where we're given page long lists of characters and their stock and investment dealings linking them to other individuals and companies, when they divested of those stocks, who bought them afterwards and on and on to the point where I had no hope of following the twists and turns and just found myself waiting for the end and for someone to - please - give me a wrap up. Which sort of happens, kinda.

In comparing Asimov to Tiedemann, I find myself thinking that when I read an Asimov book, I don't want it to end...I want more! When I'm reading a Tiedemann novel set in Asimov's world, I can't wait for the end, just to have someone summarize what the heck I just read.
I wasn't sure whether I was going to give this book 2 stars or 3. It is really somewhere in between. I thought I'd give it a 3 because it held my interest, enough so I finished it in a few days. Missing orphans, murdered stowaways, creepy cyborgs, greedy corpocrats.... it's pretty suspenseful.

On the other hand, this book has a LOT of problems. Let's start with the fact that the only resemblance to Asimov in these books is the existence of Earth, Spacers, Settlers and positronic robots. However, Tiedemann's Spacers have absolutely NO resemblance to Asimov's. Put a Solarian in a room full of Earthers and he's not a real Solarian. Asimov's universe has no room for a man born on Earth to Solarian parents. If you have read Asimov, you'll see what I mean. Oh, and as for the time line... this novel takes place sometime in the future after Elijah Baley. Um, sorry about the spoiler, for those who haven't read Asimov's Robots and Empire...but didn't Earth start to have a serious "radioactivity" problem at this time? This fact isn't mentioned at all in Tiedemann's novels.

Another problem is pacing. This author just doesn't write the scenes I want to see. I want to know what is happening in the minds of Settlers, baleys (illegal settlers) and Earthers. If Aurorans are suddenly friendly with Earth, I want to know how that happened. I want a sense of history, psychology, evolving culture and humanity... all the things Asimov dealt with. I definitely don't want to read pages of rundowns about which corporate head invested in which companies and who bought out whom. This isn't a science fiction novel, it's a script for a banal police procedural on Fox TV!

Then there is the problem of characterization. As in "None". Coren Lanra is the main character and he is little more than a name on which to hang the word "undercover cop". Derec and Ariel also appear in this novel, and they too are as characterless as the robots they love. After reading all the Robot City novels, I've had about enough of Derec and Ariel. What's with endlessly recycling characters? Can't anyone create new ones?

Finally, I suspected that this book would not have a satisfying ending, and indeed it did not. Loose ends were left untied, and I still don't really know why those baleys were murdered. A bad ending is a pretty serious sin. OK I just bumped it back to a "2 stars". (If you want to read a series that is worthy of the name "Asimov" on the cover...try Roger McBride Allen's 'Caliban' series.)
Sometimes sticking too close to the way something was originally done is a good way to damage a new piece of work. Tiedemann doesn't seem to make that mistake in Chimera. Instead, as in Mirage, he updates the basic material, bringing it more in line with contemporary information about nanotech and AI. He takes what Asimov did and makes it his own.
More than that, though, he's done a thoroughly excellent job of creating fully-fleshed, believable characters, real people with real problems. He places them in a fast-paced thriller plot that flows logically and answers questions both about the action of the story and the larger issues nesting within the Robot universe Asimov created. Rather than do a straight imitation of Asimov's style, he has written his own kind of narrative, matched to the content of his storyline.
The creation of Bogard in Mirage was a masterful twist on the 3-Law scenario. Tiedemann continues to play with the limitations and implicit possibilities in Asimov's original structure in this book.
The Caves of Steel in Chimera are both creepier and more plausible, the psychologies of the various habitues matched against each other in elegant dialogues and plot twists (as in one character's surprise visit to a Spacer party in the open air!). Tiedemann displays a deft hand at depicting the inner realm of the human condition, a trait he displays much more fully in his own original novels.
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