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Science fiction reviews: The Abyss Beyond Dreams, Lock In, The Incarnations

Posted by on 29/06/2018

THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS. By Peter F. Hamilton. Macmillan. $32.99.

Britain’s biggest-selling SF author, Peter Hamilton, with more than 2 million books sold worldwide, returns to his “Commonwealth” universe in The Abyss Beyond Dreams, the first of a duology, Hamilton’s  “Commonwealth Timeline” will aid new readers to the series. In 3326, Nigel Sheldon, one of the creators of the Commonwealth, is persuaded to enter the Void, a mysterious black hole-like entity, monitored as a continuous threat to the galaxy. Sheldon encounter distortions of time and space in the Void, while on the planet Bienvenido mentally altered humans face a constant alien threat. Hamilton will conclude this always stimulating space opera series in Night Without Stars.

LOCK IN. By John Scalzi. Gollancz. $29.99.

Hugo award winner, John Scalzi is well known for his military SF books. Lock In, however, depicts a near-future Earth hit by a global pandemic which has caused the deaths of more than 400 million people. One per cent of the survivors are “locked in” their bodies with “Haden’s syndrome”, being cognisant but unable to move. New technologies allow Haden’s to operate in the physical world, with a small number temporarily “riding” in the bodies of human “Integrators”. When an Integrator is murdered, Scalzi’s two very different FBI detectives have a difficult task to determine the culprit. Lock In combines interesting world building and classic stripped-down detective noir.

THE INCARNATIONS. By Susan Barker. Doubleday. $32.99.

British author Susan Barker wrote half of The Incarnations in Beijing. The city is almost as important as her main character, taxi driver Wang, who finds life in 2008 difficult enough without receiving letters from a mysterious unnamed watcher. The watcher claims to have accompanied him over the centuries in five very different historical incarnations, ranging from the Mongol invasion to the Cultural Revolution. In each historical segment, Wang and his mysterious companion play out different roles and relationships, but always with betrayal at their core.  Barker resembles David Mitchell in the ability to weave together past and present in a convincing, and ultimately intriguing, manner.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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