THE TOMORROW LOG
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Embiid Publishing / 290 pages / July 2002
Readers who have grown accustomed to equating the names Sharon Lee and Steve Miller on the Liaden series are in for a surprise with their latest novel. No, The Tomorrow Log does not take place in that familiar universe, but in an entirely different setting, which befits an entirely new series.
Panic not, though (if you were about to) all of the duo’s magic is here in The Tomorrow Log. Just get ready to see a whole new world of adventure.
Pity Gem ser Edreth, cast away long ago, he has made a “respectable” life for himself as master thief and wishes only to be allowed to go about his life unmolested. Fate, Sharon Lee, and Steve Miller are not about to let that happen. First, trouble in the form of a mysterious and terrifying artefact enters his life. Saxony Belaconto, spokesperson for the enormously powerful Vornet, adds an assignment he has no intention of taking. Corbinye, a face from his past comes to recall him to his rightful place among the Crew which turned him out as a child. For a man with no attachments and no obligations, he suddenly becomes a man with a great deal to lose and no way to say no.
Lee and Miller are masters at raising danger, action, passion, and loss to an irresistible pitch, keeping the plot moving ahead at a breathless pace. No one in the genre handles the romantic aspect of science fiction with such a deft and subtle touch, never letting it overpower the storyline or appear tacked on. Their characters are fully rounded men and women who come together, often in spite of their best intentions, in a natural, inevitable course as just another facet of the plot. Many authors who attempt to mix science fiction and eros would do well to take a page from Miller and Lee’s workbook.
Even if you were reading The Tomorrow Log with no covers you would just know that it’s the beginning of a new series, and it is, indeed. With a hero like Gem, this should be a good one. In Lee and Miller’s fiction, it’s impossible to separate the characters from the culture from the plot in deciding exactly what it is that makes their books so damned compelling. Pick one up and you’ll find yourself looking forward to the next release. Part of your mind is still thinking about what is going on in the Liaden series even as you eagerly await the next instalment of Gem’s adventures. They get their claws into you, these two authors do.
Is it better than the Liaden books? Worse? Would anyone listen if I told you that it is quite simply completely distinct? The comparisons are inevitable, but the wise readers are going to be the ones who simply revel in yet another layer in the richly textured writing career of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.