Friday, April 27, 2007

Review: The Draco Tavern

The Draco Tavern is a collection of short vignettes written by Larry Niven and published in 2006. The stories it contained were written at various times between 1977 and 2006. The book clocked in at 304 pages, spread out over just under 30 vignettes. But every story contains at about three pages of white space as a separator.

The stories themselves are fun little vignettes, touching on a myriad of subjects dealing with knowledge, life, and the unanswerable in general.

The main character is the owner/operator of the Draco Tavern, a guy by the name of Rick Schumann. He's a fun protagonist - not necessarily going through excessive things (at least excessive things that are covered in explicit detail within the story) but he's still fun.

Plots are fairly non-existent though. The vignettes are for the most part single scenes - and a lot of them have the potential to be full stories. For example in the story Limits, Rick overhears two aliens talking about a way that humans could be granted eternal life. That would make a great premise for a book. Rick hunting around for those aliens and then searching for the answer - and either finding it or not. But that's not really the point here. The point of this book is to provide vignettes, single scenes. In Fan Fiction what's being used here is called Plot Bunnies. The idea which is the beginning for an idea/theme/plot of a story.

The setting pretty much is exclusively the Draco Tavern - but since this are just a series of vignettes that works.

Overall, I'm not that impressed with the book. I've been looking at it on the shelves of Books-a-Million for a few months now, but have been hesitating to purchase it. When I stopped by the library the other day to look to see if they had a copy of RingWorld, I saw it on the shelf and grabbed it. I figured that since my whim worked so well with Old Man's War that I should give my random whims another go. The stories aren't bad, in fact they're really good - it's just that they're short. I got the book on Friday after work (about 5pm) and managed to finish it by noon Saturday. For a 304 book that's rather obscenely quick, even for me.

I guess it's a good thing that the only thing I can complain about is how short the book feels - but I definitely am glad that I did not buy this book when it was released in hardcover, and don't plan on getting it in paperback either.

Ultimately, it gets a 2.5 out of 4.


Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

RJ Peters said...

Man, you're a reading and reviewing machine! I'd never heard the phrase "plot bunnies". I like that.

Stephen Wrighton said...

Biby Cletus: Thanks for the kind words - and thanks for reading!

RJ Peters: heh - I read a lot. Conversely, I don't often watch tv or movies (though I do love my anime). As for plot bunnies - it's a phrase big in the FanFiction world. :)

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