Books of 2013, #47: The Incrementalists, by Steven Brust & Skyler White

First, let me say it’s goddamn amazing I didn’t see more jokes about Brust’s co-author’s name here, especially considering that The Incrementalists dropped right about the time Breaking Bad was wrapping up. Maybe it was just too obvious.

Anyway, this one’s short: I think, despite enjoying his own output as well as his public persona at talks, readings, and whatnot, that John Scalzi and I must have different tastes in SF. Scalzi loved this book, and even blurbed it, and so I figured it might be fun despite having read and been underwhelmed by the similarly-blurbed Ancillary Justice last month. The Incrementalists at least sounds interesting, given the premise: a secret cabal of sorta-immortals are dedicated to improving human society via tiny nudges here and there.

Unfortunately, instead of telling a story about how this happens, and what they’ve accomplished, what we get here is a weird sort of backstage, inside-baseball we’re-in-love-with-our-idea mess that I found to be a complete slog. There’s no accounting for taste, but I really thought the “big idea” (to steal a phrase) deserved a better story than we get in this book. Is there an existential threat to the group? Maybe, but since we don’t really know what they’ve done, or how, why should we care?

Anyway. This would not be the only book to disappoint me this fall, sadly.

Comments are closed.