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Tangled Up In Blue
Joan D. Vinge
Tor Books, 240 pages

Tangled Up In Blue
Joan D. Vinge
Joan D. Vinge was born in 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland. In college, she studied art but changed to anthropology, receiving a B.A. from San Diego State University, with highest honours. Her first story was "Tin Soldier" which appeared in Orbit 14 in 1974. Her story, "Eyes of Amber," won the 1977 Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novelette and her novel The Snow Queen won the 1981 Hugo Award for Best SF Novel. Her novel Psion was named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association and Return Of The Jedi Storybook was the #1 Bestseller on the New York Times Book Review List and the bestselling hardcover book of 1983. Currently she is working on Ladysmith, the first in a series of prehistorical novels set in Europe. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, editor Jim Frenkel, and two children.

Joan D. Vinge Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Catherine Asaro

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In Tangled Up In Blue, Joan D. Vinge returns to the universe of her Hugo-Award winning novel, The Snow Queen, with another top-notch adventure. Set on the world Tiamat, the book takes place in the city of Carbuncle during the reign of the Snow Queen. Several officers in the police force carry out an unauthorized raid on a warehouse chock full of forbidden smuggled technology. Unexpectedly, two other groups of officers show up -- and what should have been a simple raid goes explosively wrong.

It fast becomes clear that far more is going on here than your garden-variety smuggling. The complications faced by the officers in blue are soon folding one on top the other, all of it tangled up in the machinations of the Snow Queen and the intrigues of enigmatic offworlders.

Tangled Up In Blue is a stand-alone novel, so you don't have to know the other Tiamat books to enjoy this one. New readers may find it a bit hard at first to follow the world-building, but it comes together quickly. The story pulled me in and kept me reading all night. It also made me want to read The Snow Queen again.

However, comparing Tangled Up In Blue to the The Snow Queen is like comparing a sapphire to a diamond. Both are gems, but different. The Snow Queen is a sweeping adventure in the tradition of The Heritage of Hastur by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg. Tangled Up In Blue retains the emphasis on character and world-building of those books, but with less of the planetary sweep and more focus on the events unfolding in Carbuncle. It also has an edgier feel, bringing forward the action and mystery aspects of the plot.

This book combines a sensibility of today's science fiction with the best of the qualities that brought many of us to the genre. Vinge's work takes the sense of wonder that defines the top science fiction and blends it with a depth of world-building. At the same time, she has a gift for characterization. She can catch the bittersweet quality of human interaction and make a reader care about the people she creates. Subtly worked into the weave of her stories, those threads offer thoughtful insights into human nature.

If there was anything I wanted to see more of in Tangled Up In Blue, it was, well -- more. The story is complete, but the novel is on the short side. It leaves some tantalizing loose ends, encouraging the reader to hope that more of Vinge's rich Tiamat stories are yet to come.

Tangled Up In Blue has it all: a fast-paced plot that won't let go until its thrilling conclusion; clever ideas drawn from science; romantic interludes; a great cover by Michael Whelan; and a plot with more twists and turns than the exotic alleys of Carbuncle. Vinge has written another winner.

Copyright © 2000 by Catherine Asaro

Catherine Asaro is known for her blend of world-building and romantic space adventure. Her next books, The Quantum Rose and The Phoenix Code both come out in December 2000. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula and has won numerous other awards, including the Analog Readers Poll, the HOMer, and the Sapphire. She earned her doctorate in Chemical Physics and masters in Physics, both from Harvard. Her husband is the proverbial rocket scientist. Catherine says she is a walking definition of the words "absent-minded" and has managed to spill coffee in every room in her house, which is a great source of amusement for her daughter.


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