I have been finding that I really like the style and manner in which Greg Bear tells a science fiction story, and didn’t really feel like reviewing each of his books individually, hence the “author review.”  I’m in the middle of City at the End of Time, which I started on my SF trip last week (and which I will hopefully finish on my SF trip next week!), which has themes similar to Anathem with a moderately different plot engine.

To me, one of the key pieces of science fiction is describing with the correct amount of detail whatever technologies are present in the world of the novel.  If there is too much detail, (1) it might be demonstrably wrong from what we know now and there’s bound to be hand-waving involved (which offends the scientist in me) and (2) it gets kind of boring.  If there is too little detail, (1) I am left with a feeling that the author didn’t try hard enough to weave the world and (2) the story feels like it could be driven by magic, not technology (note: some very interesting and very good sci-fi I’ve read is essentially driven by magic; it might still be a failing of those stories!)  I feel like Michael Crichton’s stories are often near the “too little” side of that line, and Bear seems to fall right in the middle (if slightly to the “too much” side).  I am immersed, and begin to imagine how *I* might live in such a world, and I think that’s awesome.

I also really appreciate the pacing of his plot.  The suspensefulness that is often increased and made more useful due to the transportation technology allowed to the characters is a wonderful addition to stories that I generally consider pretty brainy puzzle kind of endeavor.

One point, although most speculative fiction shares this quality: his characters have not been super compelling to me.