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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo

The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo. New York: Ace Books, 2005. ISBN: 0-441-01330-9

A good solid sci-fi yarn, albeit one that is patched together out of several somewhat incongruous pieces. First we have the marooned genre: a young boy, age 5, crashlands on a planet while his father unsuccessfully attempts to fight off an attack on their starship. Next we have the coming of age genre, as the boy grows up in a hostile back country dumping ground for criminals and political exiles. Then we have the exploration of alien culture, as in his wandering, our hero just happens to stumble upon the very piece of alien artifacture (Is that a word? If not, it should be.) that his father, unbeknownst to him, was seeking.

The Rosetta Codex, after which the book is named, is an alien book, written somehow both in the alien language, and in one or more human languages, allowing at least some of it to be deciphered. Finally, we have the quest for alien intelligence, as our hero seeks to follow the clues of the codex, and uncover the secrets of the alien civilization, currently abandoned.

Even though these disparate elements don't hang together as well as one might wish, there is always enough of interest to keep us turning the pages. Slightly reminiscent of Clifford Simak or A.E. Van Vogt, this book is just a cut or two above your typical space opera. Recommended for sci-fi fans.

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