Moran, Daniel Keys -- The Big Boost (The AI War, book 1) [e-book purchase]

Picking up a series after fifteen years is an even harder climb. Moran's audience is twenty years older (and, we like to think, smarter) since The Long Run came out. Our expectations have bolted, flowered, gone to seed, and probably been pressed and dried in a diary somewhere.

With that all in mind, I read The Big Boost (an e-book on the author's web site, although he's hinting at an upcoming paper edition). I enjoyed it. So there. I didn't enjoy it like I enjoyed the earlier novels, but there are so many angles to that reaction that I couldn't possibly sort them out. This is half of the original AI War story, for a start, and barely begins to touch what "the A.I. War" might be. It's a classic Trent-on-the-job romp; it has none of the scope that The Last Dancer added to the universe. To an extent it's just reiterating The Long Run. But I don't know whether that's a deliberate structure which sets up its second half. The whole story might disappoint me, or clinch itself as a worthy successor to my college-age-self's book-crush, or anything in between.

And then I still won't know whether the author can write more books in the series (leaving aside the question of whether he will). This is an old manuscript, which has clearly been revised for publication -- there are vintage-2010 in-jokes -- but I don't know how much. (No, I haven't compared the first chapter to the version that's been online since wayback.) Will we ever get a full picture of the Continuing Time? After fifteen years, I'm still waiting to find out, I guess.

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