Sunday, 20 April 2014

New books

It was a bit of slog to get through, but I finished NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross (Orbit). The numerous data-dumps about banking and debt made it a chore, as space opera, but in the ledger’s plus column of witty amusements there are talking-squid communists and the accountant-heroine is turned into a mermaid. 

This book is never as enjoyable as SATURN’S CHILDREN, and its SF content doesn’t compare to fix-up novel ACCELERANDO, but I liked its ‘jubilee’ ending as the interstellar empire emerges from its wholly dystopian state. 

From that otherworldly life aquatic (without Steve Zissou!), to something that’s even stranger... Adam Roberts’ bizarre TWENTY TRILLION LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (Gollancz), nicely illustrated in a traditional style.

It’s been half a lifetime since I first read Jules Verne's submarine saga, but I still have the Bancroft hardcover that I got for Xmas when I was eight years old. Roberts pays due tribute with a fabulous adventure set partly in the late 1950s, aboard a French experimental  sub, and partly in the weird cosmic depths of a watery universe, that's ruled by a crystalised entity with god-like powers, found via the mysterious portal at the bottom of Earth’s oceans.