I’ve finished reading Tatja Grimms World an acclaimed novel by Vernor Vinge, a much acclaimed writer a couple of days ago. I’m afraid to admit that, while entertaining, this book didn’t quite cut it for me.
Spoiler warning: I am going to discuss features of the story in depth.
As far as world building goes, the book is pretty good, wondering about how a technologically advanced world with little to no metal resources would look like is quite an interesting experience.
Where this book falls flat is in the department of character development, I just couldn’t overlook the heavy use of mary sue elements.
The book follows the adventures of Tatja Grimm, a brilliant young woman in her search for personal advancement and intelligent company. This motive simply falls on its face once Tatja’s physical and mental skills begin to be described as so surpassing those of the people that surround her as to be simply unattainable by them.
I think this could be much more interesting is she was normal yet very motivated person.
During the book we learn that Tatja’s world is actually some kind of a breeding ground for inferior people that would eventually be “harvested” and processed into thinking machines, that in itself is an interesting (albeit well-explored) idea in science fiction. Where this book fails to deliver is when we discover that the aliens that have created the world are naturally advanced people like Tatja. Again, I think this could have worked much better if they were advanced only due to their technology rather then due to some “natural” traits.
I suppose that I could’ve stomached biologically advanced alien human beings (especially if they are surrounded by motives of corporate corruption as well as inferiority complexes). The fact that Tatja herself, however, seems to have “naturally” become similarly advanced without having gone through any kind of special breeding or process to differentiate her from other residents of her planet make this story fail for me.