The aliens are here. And they want to help.
The extraordinary new project from one of the country's most acclaimed and consistently brilliant SF novelists of the last 30 years.
The Jackaroo have given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They're a chance to start over, but they're also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroos' previous clients. Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could forever alter humanity - or even destroy it.
Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.
And on one of the Jackaroos' gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.
Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe's orphans and Vic Gayle's murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroos' benevolence....
©2015 Paul McAuley (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group
I do not recommend this book. There are plenty of ideas here that ought to make for interesting reading, but instead they just come across as boring. The author does not have the imagination to see things through, and so the book reads like a low budget TV series; the alien worlds look just like Earth, the aliens look just like humans, the future looks just like the present. Except there's no budget to save, no excuse for this relentlessly humdrum future. We're told that civilization stood on the brink of total collapse, yet nothing much seems to have changed. Add to that a mediocre mystery plot and you have a very dull book. Most insulting of all, rather than reaching any resolution or answering the big questions it poses, it just baits the sequel.
The reader is decent, but often sounds like she's reading a children's novel, robbing the book of any seriousness it might have possessed.
"A police procedural set in a strange future"
I enjoyed it up to a point, then it seemed to drone on and on. The SF concepts were fun, if a bit unexplored. They weren't really the point of the story. Something about the pacing was off, because it didn't seem to flow very well, but overall it was a decent listen.
Great tale, well told with people to care about and wonders to marvel at. Highly recommended.
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