Book Chatter: Robert Charles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson is a pretty good writer. I've read four of his books now, and I keep picking them up. Yet... it's gotten to the point where I'm already pretty certain I know how they'll end, and so I wonder - how long can an author keep up a formula, and still have it be satisfying? I understand that mystery writers frequently do dozens of books this way, romance authors hundreds. I just didn't expect one of the more popular scifi authors of recent to be so completely on a grid.

To his credit, Wilson's characters are appealing, well molded if not deeply. His technological settings are fascinating, invoking interesting views on economic and government systems, though with a light brushstroke... And his concepts... well, his concepts are fantastic ornament to the frame he uses repeatedly. I'd love to see any one of them dived into in greater detail, to understand how these technologies and philosophies really change the lives of people, instead of just setting them in play for a lather, rinse, repeat action escalation and denouement .

I'll probably keep reading, though. Maybe I haven't hit Wilson's best work. Or maybe his next novel will step outside the momentarily awe-inpspiring but ultimately empty answers he finds for his characters.

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