Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Implied Spaces

Implied SpacesImplied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Notes from halfway: When it comes to genre fiction, I'm a big fan of books that use what I'm now calling the Reese's Effect to tell an interesting story. That is, I like when genres collide as chocolate and peanut butter do in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Implied Spaces is a prime example of the Reese's Effect (see, it's catching on). At the end of the first half, I'd say it's a sword and planet/cyberpunk/singularity/detective/zombie story.

At first glance, the story is a mix of Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light and Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers. Aristide is one of the oldest humans alive and spends his time roaming the pocket universes humanity has created and colonized, along with his sidekick, a talking cat named Bitsy, investigating disappearances that may or may not be linked to one of the eleven gigantic AI computers humanity has created to govern it going rogue.

Sounds good, right? So why am I not in love with this book? Too many intermingling flavors? Perhaps. The fact that the main character is a near demigod ala John Carter of Mars? Possibly. I like the setting, what with the wormholes and pocket universes and such. I'm a little iffy on one aspect of it. Humans can easily change bodies and have their brains backed up every once in a while so they can be restored in the event of an accident. Where's the fun in that? It's hard to get attached to characters if you know they won't die. Not permanently, anyway.

I'm enjoying the easter eggs so far. I've caught multiple references to Batman and Aasimov, as well as nods to World of Warcraft, and Gene Wolf's New Sun, and Vernor Vinge.

As of the halfway mark, I'm giving it a three. I'll update the review once I'm finished.

At the finish line: The book ends as expected, with the ten good AI's fighting against the rogue one in a battle of unbelievable proportions. I guessed the identity of Vindex about twenty pages before it was revealed and knew the truth about the universe shortly before it was revealed, though most readers of World of Tiers will guess that as well. It was a satisfying conclusion.

The verdict? Still a 3. If the story had stayed at the pocket universe level, I probably would have given it a four but it felt like the book was trying to cram as many styles of story into one slim 264 page volume. It was good and I enjoyed the inital Reese's Effect, but eventually it all became a stew where everything wound up diluted and tasting like carrots.

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