Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Spiders from Mars - the novel

Those of you old enough to remember Isaac Asimov might also have fond memories of reading through a novel or short story to discover the twist at the end of the tale. This device was popular in its time but is far too tame for the Tiffany-twisted mind of Alastair Reynolds, author of Revelation Space, who instead packs at least two twists into each paragraph. No-one is who, or what they seem, and everyone has a hidden agenda. The plot centres on conflicts between different groups of humans with different attitudes to modifying their bodies or minds; alien species and artefacts are present and central to the plot but in a more mysterious way.

It's not perfect. Few of the characters are likeable (or dislikeable) - mostly they're just bad guys trying to out-bad each other. It's worth sticking with Reynolds though as characterisation improves significantly through the later novels, and there are a few more plot twists ahead too... Easter-egg fans will enjoy looking out for Bowie references and other musical influences.

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