My friend Darrell Paul told me I needed to read Mike Resnick’s science fiction cult classic, Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future. I have recently finished it, having read some of it to Mrs. Richardson and having listened to the rest of it read via Audible. I simply wanted to give a brief nod to Santiago as a glorious example of scifi pulp fiction that was a guilty pleasure to read/hear.
The book is essentially a Western set in the future in space. Sebastian Caine, a bounty hunter, is pursuing the ultimate prize: Santiago. Santiago is a nearly mythical figure, the greatest outlaw of them all. The legends about him abound and his exploits have created a shroud of fame and infamy before which all observers stand in awe and fear. Caine is hot on Santiago’s trail, planet hopping and following the clues…along with most every other bounty hunter in the solar system. Along the way he meets fascinating, colorful, and weird characters. Some of those meetings result in temporary traveling companions and some end in fights to the death, but all result in fascinating exchanges with memorable and odd characters.
Above all is the shadow of the deadliest bounty hunter of all, The Angel, who is likewise pursuing Santiago. Resnick’s depiction of The Angel is truly chilling. The reader will feel a palpable sense of dread and awe when The Angel is being discussed or depicted. Resnick outdid himself on that one.
In all honesty, there is not a lot that I can say that would not give away key elements of the plot. So I’ll just say that if you would like a book to read on vacation, or a break from serious reading, Santiago may just be your thing. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s good enough, and it’s highly entertaining. There are some objectionable elements, and I suppose I’d give the book a PG-13 rating if pressed, but it’s a fun read, with some interesting twists and turns, and, above all, some characters that will stay with you for a while.