Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trust Me On This

What if you could look into the future and see that your galaxy was going to be destroyed in 300 years unless you turned your life upside down and followed a single, nearly-impossible path for your entire life in an attempt to save people who won't even be born by the time you die? Would you do it? Or would you just write it off as an impossible task and do everything you could to enjoy life with the weight of that knowledge dragging you down?

That's the massive question facing Ia, the heroine of A Soldier's Duty  and An Officer's Duty by Jean Johnson - the first two books of this mind-bending sci-fi series.

Ia is a precog.  She knows she can save the galaxy.  If.  If she joins the space military.  If she can convince people to trust her, to follow her, to believe in her instructions a hundred years after she herself will die.  Fascinatingly, the author also tests your trust of Ia - not always letting you see the future she sees, so you have to trust that she is doing what is best for all of us.  Almost like one would put faith in a god - but a god we have come to see as all too human.

I loved An Officer's Duty and it got me thinking about the importance of trust in the reading experience.  Do we trust the author to deliver that satisfying ending?  Do we trust the character to behave with the integrity that makes us glad we've been rooting for them from the beginning?  It's a leap of faith, granting that trust, which is part of why I think negative book reviews can be so vitriolic - we feel like our trust was betrayed.  But sometimes the author more than lives up to our expectations and a book not only satisfies, it opens up new avenues of thought and becomes one of reading experiences that reminds us why we became addicted to the written word to begin with. 

I live for this stuff. 

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