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Grand Central Arena by Ryk E. Spoor
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Grand Central Arena (2010)

by Ryk E. Spoor

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903134,128 (3.56)11
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A fun romp in the style of old school sci-fi that pays heavy homage to E.E. "Doc" Smith. Spoor can certainly weave an entertaining tail however the setup was about 150 pages and was a bit of a pain to get through. Yet if you are able to hold on past the first 150 pages the book from there on out is a non stop action. As for the characters I felt that some of the main group could have used some more development as after being introduced they took a back seat to Austin and DuQuesne. I also wished there was more chapters about the exploration of the Arena as I found those the most interesting. Overall put your mind on auto and enjoy the ride ( )
  bakabaka84 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Spoor deliberately channeling E. E. "Doc" Smith, right down to the non-stop action, corny dialog, and infallible certainty that humanity cannot lose no matter what the odds. The women are beautiful, the men are handsome, everyone (at least the good guys) is hugely brilliant and/or talented or perhaps a step beyond ordinary humanity.

For those who loved Skylark or Lensman those many years ago, we've even got Blackie DuQuesne in the story as well as a humorous riff on Mentor.

About the only two differences are:

1) Ariane Austin, female, is the main character—something that wouldn't happen in Smith's world where the Clarissa MacDougalls might rival their husbands/boyfriends for belovedness, but never for kickbuttedness.

2) Spoor isn't quite as good at this style as Smith. The setup was tedious (cut 150 pages in the Revised Edition and just jump right on it, please, Mr. Spoor). The ending was a trifle deus ex machina though, since you could see it coming, I guess it doesn't quite fit the strict definition of that phrase.

I don't know if sequels are planned but there is clear setup for them if he wants.

Comparison shopping should be done in the category of Requires No Brain But Kind Of Fun Space Opera. ( )
  TadAD | Jun 27, 2011 |
The Arena is a constructed universe where thousands of intelligent species challenge and fight for dominance and position. There are Factions which also fight for power. The Arena makes the rules and enforces them, sometimes arbitrarily and unfairly. Humanity is the first new race to arrive in five thousand years and the small crew of The Holy Grail must somehow gain humanity a place and a home here. They have a superman among them but he alone will not be enough. The racing pilot that becomes their captain must lead them with wisdom and tough fighting spirit.

The only fault with the book is although the action is fierce and the odds overwhelming I never got a sense that the humans would lose. This is pure space opera. I recommend this book. ( )
  xenchu | Jun 26, 2010 |
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