Thursday 5 July 2007

Review: the Nulapeiron sequence by John Meaney

This is a trilogy, consisting of Paradox, Context and Resolution. It is set on the world of Nulapeiron, which is almost entirely built over with many levels of construction, so hardly anyone ever goes onto the "roof" to see the open sky. This is not a new concept, but it is well-realised here, with a mix of human societies occupying different levels, largely according to their position in the hierarchy. It is ruled by despotic Logic Lords, each of whom owns a geographical territory, and above all are the Oracles - who really can see the future.

The story follows the life of Tom Corcoran, a youth from humble origins who gradually (with many ups and downs) rises to the highest rank. It is full of bizarre societies, strange modes of transport, violent conflict, tales of the legendary Pilots - who command space - and a final struggle to the death against a powerful alien presence which is gradually corrupting the population of the world.

The trilogy might be might be best described as a modern iteration of a classic space opera - without much space! At over 1,600 pages in all it is not a quick or light read, and requires concentration. Much the same can of course be said of a lot of modern SF, such as that by Alastair Reynolds or Stephen Baxter, but in my opinion Meaney has the edge on these two. Definitely worth reading.

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