[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 22 November 2004]
William C. Dietz’s Deathday and Earthrise are actually one novel split off into two volumes, so they will be reviewed together here.
A side note to the publisher: Would it be that hard to make it clear on the covers that these two books are in fact one? From just looking at the books, you’d think they are two separate novels from the same author. Not so. Deathday ends in mid-action, so if you care about the story, you have no choice but to pony up another $7.99 for Earthrise. Also, the proofreading was unusually sloppy on the editions linked to above: They’re rife with typos and punctuation errors, which is inexcusable.
The basic plot of the duology is that the Saurons, a race of bug-like sentients with more than a little bit of fascist tendencies, attack Earth and lay waste to most of the planet, wiping out the military and enslaving the surviving humans to use as a slave labor for building elaborate temples. Naturally, a human resistance emerges and fights back.
Dietz does a good job of fleshing out the somewhat hackneyed cast of characters and putting a good deal of internal tension in the resistance movement, including a prominent showing by a gang of nuttier-than-usual white supremacists.
Deathday and Earthrise aren’t bad, per se, but they are far from Dietz’s usual standards, and feel mostly tired. Still, they’re competent and have their bright moments. Decent airplane reading.