Some people I respect were raving about this, and I like both El-Mohtar and Gladstone’s work separately, so I thought I’d give it a go. Bought it on my day off (e-copies really are very useful) and made a start on it.
And then I finished it. In one sitting.
I think it’s a novella… but still. Yes. I inhaled it. It’s brilliant. It’s about time travel and two rival versions of human history.
Why are you still reading? Just go buy it already.
If you’re still reading and you’re not convinced: two very different views of how human history should play out are in competition across time, and across the multiverse – or strands, as our narrators call them, which means that you get all sorts of symbolism along the lines of braids and so on. Very clever; I like it a lot. Our people go upstream and downstream and across strands and they’re always looking to make their version come out on top, and thwart their opponents.
And then Red and Blue start to communicate. And then (I’m sorry) things start to unravel.
The story is fabulous, the ideas are enthralling and rich and wonderful. The characters are always somewhat opaque but honestly that fits so well with what’s going on and with who and what they are, that it was fine.
The one thing that some readers might find off-putting is the language: I saw someone describe it as ‘baroque’ and that’s probably fair; it’s extravagant and ornate and rich and luscious, sometimes whimsical and playful, full of symbolism, and occasionally meandering. I loved it; it’s the sort of prose that will definitely reward re-reading, and a slower read, in order to really mull over the weight of the words.
Straight to my ‘possible Hugos’ list for next year.
In which we care about Hugo Awards, Aussie SFF awards, harassment at conventions and tea-brewing spaceships all at the same time. You can get us at iTunes or Galactic Suburbia.
WHAT DO WE CARE ABOUT THIS WEEK?
Tansy: The Teamaster & the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events S2, Runaways (TV)
Alisa: Annihilation; Planetfall, Emma Newman; 2140, Kim Stanley Robinson; Santa Clarita Diet S2; Rise
Alex: Echoes of Understorey, Thoraiya Dyer; Till We Have Faces and The Cosmic Trilogy, CS Lewis; The Craft Sequence, Max Gladstone
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