Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: Voices by John Vornholt

     The novel opens with Harriman Gray (from Babylon 5 episode “Eyes”) daydreaming about Ivanova.
     No, really. That’s pretty much the first thing we hear. This continues until he arrives on Mars, upon which Bester forcibly scans him then offers him a job as a personal assistant. Gray is understandably confused, but doesn't have much time to be so as the hotel hosting the Psi-Corps convention explodes.
     Cue Gray suggesting Babylon 5 would be a great place for convention, which has absolutely not a thing at all to do with Ivanova! At all!
     Cue Ivanova and Garibaldi hitting their heads against the wall while Sheridan, new and green to the whole situation, bounces around happily at the idea.
     While the command staff are gritting their teeth and preparing for an invasion of telepaths, Kosh is trolling Talia. Again. He asks her to scan for a third person known as “Invisible Isabel”, and Talia is surprised to find someone there. Afterwards, Kosh drifts off, possibly to plan further trolling sessions. Talia, meanwhile, is pleased to meet with the Psi-Corps (except Bester, but no one is really pleased to meet with Bester, so that comes as no surprise). She connects to the commercial telepath organization known as The Mix, designed to actually let telepaths interact with people without freaking everyone out, which Bester is Bad At Doing. However, during the first meeting, Talia gets a Convenient Psychic Meltdown from Kosh, and she barely escapes an explosion that leaves a whining Bester in the hospital, Talia accused of blowing people up, and Mix CEO Malten noping away to Mars with his assistant Emily Crane.
     Talia is in the brig for all of half a day before Kosh arrives, knocks out the guards, and helps her escape from jail.
     Let me repeat that.
     Kosh arrives, knocks out the guards, and helps Talia escape from jail.
     I have no idea how to make that sound cooler, so I’ll just leave it at that.
     Talia winds up going on the run with Deuce (who apparently had something to do with the bomb but we’re never told what), which sounds like one of those kooky eighties movies.
     “She’s a classy telepath accused of a crime she didn't commit. He’s a low-life gangster on the run. Together THEY FIGHT TERRORISM.” Or something.
     Anyways, what follows is Talia’s attempts to survive, and Garibaldi and Harriman’s attempts to save her.
     Also Bester whines.
     This book was simultaneously good and bad. This was the author’s first attempt, and I think he wasn't quite used to the characters. The bit where Talia just out of nowhere decides to seduce Malten to work her way up in the telepath world seems rather random, and doesn't really have much bearing on the plot. Sheridan seems a bit of a caricature of himself, almost too cheerful and too optimistic. He wasn't a fool, even when he was a nO0b. However, on Straczynski’s website, the author does agree that the first book was clunky. Apparently later books have improved, so I shall keep up my campaign of reading all the B5 novels.
     Also Kosh breaks Talia out of jail. Did I mention that?

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