As would be expected from a highly educated author who has studied the classics and currently teaches literature, Splinter has it's share of references to art history and Shakespeare along side modern pop culture references, giving the novel an enjoyably light hearted "life imitates art" feel, although this is not a light-hearted story. It helped me relate to Hector when he made reference to events and personages that I am familiar with, and I laughed too.
Roberts fleshes out his characters with all the raw emotions: jealousy, hate, shame, want, and fear. The things that deep down, on that animal level, make us human. Splinter is very smart, very subtle. Roberts starts the narrative in past tense, segues into present tense, and by the end has transitioned in future tense-- unusual and unexpected way to keep the story interesting, and the reader guessing...
I didn't know it until I read Robert's afterword, but Splinter is a clever homage to "Off on a Comet" by Jules Verne. I'm sure I missed out on plenty of classical literature references, but I still very much enjoyed Splinter, and now I'm interested in reading some Jules Verne as well!
Posted by Mark Newton at 8/01/2007