Monday, July 31, 2006


I just finished the book "Starswarm", by Jerry Pournell. Like most of the fiction I read, I got the book from the thrift store, which means it was about ten years old. Since it was set in the future, on another planet, that was not a major concern. Actually, the technology held its own, ever after a decade. As a matter of fact, it was probably pretty visionary in 1995, and significantly more believable today.

When my wife saw the book, she thought the title was Starswarm, and was a part of the Skywalker saga. I explained that she was thinking about the story of a soldier, who took a young boy to live with his uncle, so he would not be found by the agent of an evil emperor, who had arranged the death of the boy's father. This book was the story of a soldier who took a young boy from his uncle, who was an evil emperor, and had arranged the death of the boy's father. Completely different.

To emphasis the differences, in Star Wars, the evil emperor could not have ordered his agent to kill the boy's father, for the agent was the boy's father. In Starswarm, the emperor did not order the agent to kill the boy's father, because the emperor was not evil, it was the agent who was evil, and killed the boy's father by order of a another emperor. Got it?

So anyway. They story was completely irrelevant to me when I bought the hardback book for sixty cents. What interested my was the type setting. The book was written in three different fonts.

The boy's mother was a member of the ruling family of the planet, but was also a computer scientist. She had the child implanted with satellite uplinked nuero transmitters, which linked his brain back an AI entity, which existed in the planetary mainframe. When the computer would talk to the boy, the computers quotations were in courier font. The boy would concentrate to communicate with the computer, and his thoughts were in an italicized, underlined, font. All third person action was a normal font. Interesting concept.

It was a good read.

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