Desolation Road

A book review.

Desolation Road

by Ian McDonald

published: 1989

ASIN: 1591027446

ISBN: 9781591027447

genre: Sci-Fi



The story told in this book is an original and engaging one. I particularly liked the writer's no-nonsense story telling. As a would-be author myself, I was constantly astounded by his ability to tell a lot in just a few words. It's a tale that somehow weaves together the terraforming of Mars with a rich mysticism and a gigantic array of characters. It doesn't sound like something that works, but I found myself hooked from the outset.

I recommend the story.

But I can't recommend this edition. Put simply, I could believe that this book was so poorly made. The binding is fine, the thing seems well enough made.

The problem is that this printing is clearly the result of an OCR-scan of an original printed version. Every other page seems to include a wrong word, an oddly inserted newline, or a mistaken letter (e.g. a '1' appearing where an 'l' belongs'. It is appalling obvious that no one ever reviewed what was being printed, let alone proof-read the thing. There is no evidence that this edition was even prepared by anyone involved with the original: it reads like something a guy with a scanner and MS Word could have cooked up. (Even the typeface was a weird one not suited for a book).

When I buy a book, one of the things I'm buying is a professionally-made work that I'll keep for years and will re-read. This book fails in this regard. I'm not even sure I'd pass it on to friends.

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