|When I was a kid, scouring the local libraries for science
fiction, I learned to seek out the right yellow dust jackets that signified quality SF
published by Gollancz I knew Id get a good read, even if Id never heard
of the author. Well, the bright yellow jackets have gone, but Gollancz is still here as a
mark of quality SF, and this is a fine example.
For starters, this is proper science
fiction, with spaceships, strange futures, and elements of time travel, as we swing
backwards and forwards from Viking pre-history, through 1930s Europe, to distant
Fulgor in the 27th century. As a rule, I dislike constant switching
between characters in divers times and places, but Meaney makes it work, mainly through
the subtle links between the characters.
What is continuing to bug me are fragments of this novel which I swear Ive read
before in particular, chapter nine where Carl Blackstone remembers becoming a
Pilot. If someone could figure out just where that was previously published, Id be
grateful. Nonetheless this is clever, clever stuff, and very well written. Meaney succeeds
in making high weirdness make sense, a true gift in an SF writer.
This is volume one of a trilogy, so its far from the end of the story, and it
does end on a major defeat for the good guys lets make it quite clear that if
youre going to be a hero in Meaneys world, the consequences may well be fatal.
Gotta say that Im keen to see what happens next