01/03/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
The Remembering (book 3 of The Meq) by Steve Cash. pub: TOR/Forge. 280 page small enlarged paperback. Price: $15.00 (US), $17.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-47094-2.
check out website: www.tor-forge.com
It’s been two years since I read the second book of Steve Cash’s ‘The Meq’ trilogy and I did wonder for a time if it was ever coming out.
The Meq is the name of a tiny (sic) group of people who look like children but who are extremely long-lived with mild psionic abilities. The majority of them are seeking out some stones which carry an encrypted message, not helped that some of them have ended up in the hands of a murderous rebel called Fleur-du-Mal. How much to say about this is going to end up in possible spoiler zone. Although there is an interesting sub-plot of an American military intelligence officer in pursuit of them which involves the Russians, it also is allowed to fizzle out rather than resolve any conflicts. Then again, if you’re long-lived, all you really have to do is stay out of the way and out-live them. Cash pin-points normal human events along the way and even notes his own band, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, as being ‘quaint’ (I assume were you playing the marvellous ‘Jackie Blue’ back then, Steve?) playing at a festival. Their perception of time is odder than ours and the human friends they’ve made over the years don’t have such a longevity slowly die off which shows the Meq in a sensitive light. However, the stones and their resolution is more deus ex machina, mostly because the reader isn’t allowed privy to being able to work out the solution with the character and just handed it on a plate in the end. This has a tendency to make the story less SF and more quasi-fantasy. With SF, you need to let the reader in on what makes the story tick without necessarily telegraphing too early.
That said, much of the story does tend to meander and as it is depicted in first person by Zianno Zezen who ends up being the key to solving the mystery, you only see things from his perspective. If you examine the story too closely you end up asking questions like where do the Meq get the money to support their lives, especially as they travel around a lot although it is covered how they use adults as chaperones when required. With such long-lives and their interest in humans, you would also think they might have more of an opinion of the events about them but don’t which would certainly have embellished the story more.
In some respects, I think Steve Cash was running short of ideas where to take the story which might explain why it took so long to come out. It certainly has some interesting ideas from the start but the ending could have done with a lot more development, even with the path he took. However, now he’s got his first trilogy under his belt, Steve Cash is now probably aware of his own shortcomings and will be better prepared with his next book.
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