November 24, 2013

Jeff Smith's "RASL": No Bones About It

RASL means “Romance at the speed of light”.

That’s not shown until the end, so maybe me telling you that now is a spoiler.  If that is true, I apologize.  I don’t think so, because for me, that was just a throw-away line, but Smith uses it as the title of the book.  I’m not sure what to make of RASL the concept, nor RASL the book.

I liked it, but that’s incredibly subjective.  I read the whole thing pretty much in one sitting, so the story pulls you along.

There’s just that thing.

It’s not Bone.

I loved Bone.  I wouldn’t have read this if it were not for the author’s previous work, but had I read it in a universe where Bone did not exist I might be judging it differently.  Fortunately, I don’t live in that universe. I made all my friends read Bone.  I don’t think I’ll do that with RASL.

And that’s a shame for Smith, because that is going to be the point of comparison for this book, until he tops it.  I’m glad that this is so different in a way.  It shows that Smith is a powerful creative artist who can switch genres easily, even if that switch is from fantasy to science fiction.   He’s awesome, he created Bone.  And RASL.

So here’s the bottom line.  Read this book if you like science fiction, with a heavy dose of Tesla thrown in.  There is a good melding of the actual past with the possibilities that we search for in the lab and in our imaginations.  The characters are interesting and the work is nicely self-contained. If you were hoping for Bone II, this is not it.

There’s no rat creatures.  Stupid, stupid, rat creatures.