There are times when you need taking out of yourself. There are times when you need a bit of entertainment that doesn’t tax you too much, but which is nonetheless intelligent and well produced. Take Back Plenty does all that and more.
This is space opera at its very best. Fast paced, witty, anarchic, and slightly mad, sweeping in its themes, yet concerned with individuals. Its heroine is hard working, flawed, loveable, and a bit of a rebel (as long as that doesn’t involve rebellion). She wants a quiet life. Life has other plans. This is the mould from which things like Firefly were later made.
And it is so well written, perfectly pitched for the story it tells. Ingeniously constructed, Greenland paints a colourful picture of the universe he has created – a sprawling, messy vision that reflects our own world but with a distorting mirror. And there is humour – subtle and without spite.
I have known of Colin Greenland by reputation for a long time and I have read his non-fiction work (though sadly I do not possess a copy of his The Entropy Exhibition). But this is the first time I have read his fiction. This is bad as it means I have been missing out all these years. This is good as it means I have all those other books to look forward to.