The Sagittarius went from one messed up world (Arethusa) to another (Anura). What are the odds of that?
David Mack has a knack of building his story gradually to a fast-paced, action-packed conclusion.
The climax, when the landing party managed to reverse the damage done by the out of whack laws of probability against all odds, reads like a script that’s made for the big screen.
The book has one of the most despairing preludes to a suicide attempt (especially by those who’ve struggled to make their mark) that I’ve come across:
Still I struggled on. Because I was fool enough to hope.
The fantasy that she might turn her absurd notions into songs that could live on after she had left this life, that she could earn a living crafting music from her heart, that anyone would ever value her minor-chord delusions over those of so many other composers more gifted than she was — it had been absurd when she was young, sad now that she’d grown old.
Now a new generation of younger, more energetic, more personable songwriters dominated the scene, and no one in the industry had time for Onda anymore. She and her work had become passé, relics of a bygone age. In the blink of an eye, her youth had fled, and she and her style of music had become obsolete. Irrelevant. Disposable.
Friends to whom she might once have turned for support, for work, for another chance to prove her worth… they had all since turned their backs on her. All while her peers, and the new voices, the younger voices, crowded her out, drowned her out, hounded her out of the business.
Still, she had hung on for as long as she could. For as long as her savings had lasted. But it hadn’t been long enough. The money was gone now and, with it, so were her options. There were no more opportunities lurking just around the next corner of her career. There were no more corners, no more turns. Just a long, straight path into oblivion.
She had pretended not to know it was all over. That nothing she did anymore would or could make a difference. That her life had been reduced to a cost on a balance sheet. A foolish spark of optimism had lived inside her, too stubborn to die, too arrogant to admit defeat. It was a fading ember of the artist she’d once been, the broken shard of a dream that refused to see how cruelly it had been shattered, and how resolutely the world did not care.