I don’t usually write book reviews, but I’m willing to make an exception this week. Thanks to my dad’s excellent recommendation, I’m now a fan of Alastair Reynolds.
“Hard science” fiction has a tendency to bore rather than enthrall me. But The Prefect caught me unawares. The science here is presumably sound (as if I would know), but it’s not so dense that you feel like you’re reading a technical journal. It took me back to my college courses on education and the need for students to have “schema” to relate new knowledge to their known knowledge in order to reach a “new known.” I had to do some serious schema-revising while reading this novel, as Reynolds creates realities and technologies that are so imaginative, I found my own reference points sadly lacking.
But here’s the cool part: there is such strong verisimilitude here that I was willing to accept the fictional world Reynolds threw at me—from characters living in “abstraction” to rooms made of “quickmatter” that you transform into whatever you need, whether it be furniture or sustenance— all because he does such a great job making everything look and feel so darned REAL.
That goes for the characters, to boot. Sure, there’s all manner of action and intrigue in The Prefect, but there are also people worth rooting for (and booing), and that makes all the difference to a reader like me. So, next up on my reading queue: Reynolds’ Revelation Space.
In other news, I am SO PROUD of my NaNo teen novelists. Their combined final word count: 743,000! Impressive. Most impressive.
On my own writing front, this has been a week of rejections from Asimov’s, Electric Spec, Shimmer, and Apex. But I submitted the rewrite requested by Bards and Sages yesterday, so I remain hopeful.