The Long Run

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 19, 2010

The Long Run by Daniel Keys Moran

Fourteen people met at the Milwood Library to discuss The Long Run by Daniel Keys Moran. This novel is a futuristic adventure story with elements of cyberpunk. It was published in 1989 and has long been out of print, but we were able to read it because the author recently released a free electronic version of the book. Four of us had read Moran before. Eleven of us started the book, and nine of us finished it. Five of us read the original 1989 paperback version of the book, four read it eletronically, and two printed it out and read the hardcopy.

Many of us enjoyed the book as a fast-paced adventure story. Trent, the cocky protagonist, was hard to like at first but he grew more likeable as the story progressed. He’s a high tech thief and con man who eventually develops higher goals. He’s chased throughout the book (hence the book’s title), and it’s fun to see how he keeps going. The chase and fight scenes are imaginatively staged. We enjoyed the cyborg army. Several people said the story felt like a movie.

A couple of people in the group did not like the book at all. One person said it had a “terrible prose style” and could not believe a major publisher released it. He also found the story uninteresting. Another felt the author kept interrupting the story to explain things, and said the book would have been improved by the author taking it to a workshop.

Two others in the group felt that they were the ideal audience for The Long Run. The adventure story, vivid writing, and technology speculation provided everything they wanted in a book. They also appreciated the nods to classic sf like Slan and Dominic Flandry.

Another person liked the book but felt that more recent authors (notably Neal Stephenson) are more effective at capturing the fast pace of Internet society.

We thought the technological advances in this future were well thought out. The implant technology was reminiscent of Effinger’s When Gravity Fails. The book predicts several technology issues that have arisen since it was published, notably addiction to the Internet. Some of the technology advances Moran predicted are now common in our world, but with remarkably different names. His term for what we call a notebook computer is “Lap Vax,” which amused the techies in our group.

This was a fun discussion. Afterward, many of us had dinner at Red Robin.

—A. T. Campbell, III