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Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille: 12/12/08
Yesterday in my review of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, I mentioned "The Off Season " as a potential starting point for Steven Brust's Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990). Feng's bar and grille is no mere hot dog stand. It's a restaurant that serves the best matzo ball soup anywhere. It also offers traditional Irish folk songs and a haven against nuclear war. It's also a time machine. What's not to love?
My husband and I are at odds over the plot of Cowboy Feng's... We both love the atmosphere of the book and the time travel aspect. That though is where he and I part ways. He says the time travel needs no explanation. The journey to these different future cultures. To him the mystery behind these wars and the reason for the time travel is forced upon an otherwise perfect mood piece.
I on the other hand don't like reading long mood pieces. My patience for mood pieces cuts out at about twenty pages. Fortunately for Cowboy Feng's... the plot kicks in with the first Intermezzo between chapters one and two on page 13. The intermezzos track the building of the restaurant and the reason behind the restaurant and the wars while in the chapters the characters in the present try to figure out the same thing. The book meets in the middle and depending on your tastes will either delight or annoy you.