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Laura J. Mixon: Look, I'm not any kind of science fiction expert. My inauspicious upbringing and my flailing attempts to catch up are matters of public record. Among my many unread books are about fifteen representative books from major genre writers that I've never read (current project: C. J. Cherryh). But when I applied to Viable Paradise I had never even heard of Laura Mixon, one of my instructors.

This entry is for anyone else currently in that boat, encouraging them to get out. I've now read Proxies and its very different sequel Burning the Ice (not in that order) and they're both great. I want to say "character-driven SF" but the labels we give invoke stereotypes, and there's a kind of inferior "character-driven SF" that's analogous to inferior space opera. It uses SF settings and characters but the basic dilemma of the story would work fine without them. What Laura/Mixon (not sure how informally to refer to her) does is exactly what that label should mean: she puts people with realistic psychology through situations that don't happen in real life.

There are a couple problems with the two books I've read. They both start off slow; if you get bored at the beginning you might want to skip fifty pages. Also, for brief periods Burning the Ice switches from believable hard SF to super-hardcore Hal Clement type stuff that makes my eyes glaze over. But they glaze over for a bit and then it's done, or maybe they don't and you learn something about orbital mechanics.

So, highly recommended, an author who had fallen through the cracks for me, and one who doesn't have many weblog entries written in praise of her work.

On apple bin at farmer's market:


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