The Space Opera Renaissance: Donald Kingsbury

201107112321.jpg No I’m not done with this book yet.

Donald Kingsbury didn’t write very much and most of what he wrote was in other people’s creative domains. Despite that he was a surprisingly literary writer and what he did write tended to get nominated for awards. He is also known for his books about science fact as opposed to science fiction, therefore establishing that he resembles Isaac Asimov in more than just looks.


“The Survivor” is not really a short story, being longer than some novels. It takes place in Larry Niven’s Known Space universe during the Man/Kzin wars. The story is about a Kzin – a feline warrior race (think fuzzy Klingons) – who is a coward. He spends his entire life hiding that fact from his peers, since it will get him killed. As any good coward knows, getting killed is the ultimate deterrent. The writing is good enough to keep the story interesting but becomes frustratingly long. It also chooses as a protagonist a creature that is so alien to a human reader that one cannot help but hope for his failure. It makes for an interesting story but one that is not really very fun to read. There is no other point of view except one of supreme arrogance and misguided morals.

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