I didn’t know, when I picked it up remaindered, that Starswarm was a children’s book. Despite several clues - the book was about children, and had an introduction that mentioned Robert Heinlein’s “juveniles” - I didn’t figure it out until I happened to take off the dust jacket and see the Jupiter imprint on the spine. I knew Tor had a young adult line, but I assumed they were kept in some YA section of bookstores.
Nevertheless, I kept reading Starswarm. The setup was interesting, despite the obvious King in Disguise plot. At some point, though, the author (Jerry Pournelle) decided he had discharged his descriptive duties and switched to talking-head, tell-as-you-go dialogue. Add the genetically modified dogs and the third cute kid and you get Scoobie Doo In Space. It was a fine cartoon, but I was expecting a book.
Neuromancer by William Gibson is the 1984 classic that is credited with launching the cyberpunk subgenre. I approached it with a sort of suspicious reverence. I have to admit that it was a good read, but not anything I’d want to carry on into an entire genre. I neither loved the characters nor loved to hate them, which made the book a rather flat experience despite the stylistic talents of the author. It reminded me of the old, hard-bitten school of sci-fi. They weren’t bad stories, but I can’t say I miss them.