by Gwyneth Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The cover blurb described this as "Iain Banks on acid". My immediate thought was, "Well, if I had to name an author who really didn't need pharmaceutical enhancement, Banks would be one."
Still, the comparison to Banks is not entirely inapt. Certainly, Jones and Banks share a tendency to create fantastical but fantastically detailed futures, with a bit of sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll about them. Jones doesn't have quite the whimsical tendency of Banks - there are no spaceships with funny names or snarky AIs here.
What I didn't quite realize when I picked up this book is that it is several books in to a cycle that began with Bold As Love
. While I enjoyed Rainbow Bridge
, I think I'd probably have gotten a lot more out of it if I'd actually read the previous volumes. Jones is a somewhat oblique writer - or at least, like Gene Wolfe, she doesn't spell out any more for the reader than she thinks is necessary.
The book is set in a post-petroleum world of energy scarcity, in which our heroes have until recently been rock-star (yes, literally) rulers of Britain. Their rule is abruptly ended by a Chinese invasion, and they decide to play along to avoid further bloodshed, knowing that they harbor secrets that could make the Chinese rulers very unhappy indeed.
I still feel like I need to go back and read the previous books to put the whole picture together, but this book has made me fairly eager to do so. View all my reviews >>