Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of Double Solitaire by Melinda M Snodgrass

Review of Double Solitaire by Melinda M Snodgrass

Double SolitaireThis chapter of the Wild Cards saga employs the now-familiar technique of dividing the narrative in two and presenting the bifurcated story in separate volumes. It’s happened before in this series (books six and seven) and George R R Martin has also done it with the last and next volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire. Here in Wild Cards book ten the story leaves Earth and moves to Takis, home of Dr Tachyon and destination of his sociopathic grandson.

Tachyon, or Tisianne to give him is Takisian moniker, was previously jumped into the body of a young woman called Kelly. This body was then raped by his grandson, Blaise – so now Tachyon is heavily pregnant with his own great-granddaughter. (Melinda Snodgrass uses pronouns appropriate to the bodies of Tachyon and Kelly. While this doesn’t cause any confusion (except occasionally for the characters themselves), I would have thought the mind is more important than the body.) Also along for the ride are Jay Ackroyd and Mark Meadows – two of the most likable characters in the world of the Wild Card virus.

Unlike any of the preceeding volumes, Double Solitaire has only one author, and the resulting unified narrative addresses my previous complaint about the linked short story format. On the other hand, earlier on in the series, Snodgrass did strike me as probably the weakest writer of the Wild Cards team. Her turn of phrase tends towards cliché, and something about the way she portrays characters seems a bit superficial – too much like easy soap opera weepiness.

Double Solitaire isn’t bad, but none of the Wild Cards books I’ve read recently have lived up to the high standards of the earlier volumes. I’ve already started on book eleven (which runs parallel to book ten, and tells the story of Bloat and the Rox back on Earth), though, and, from the first 30 or so pages, it looks like the return to form I’ve been waiting for.

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