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Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Book review: Eversion by Alastair Reynolds


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

Publisher: Orbit (August 2, 2022) Page count: 353 p (ebook) Formats: ebook, paperback, audiobook

Wow.

Eversion wowed me with the mind-bending mix of science fiction, cosmic horror, and intriguing characters who're not what they seem. I was expecting hard science fiction, but Eversion begins aboard the Demeter, a ship sailing along the Norwegian coast in the early 19th century. A small group of explorers is searching for the Edifice, a remote and mysterious artifact hidden somewhere on the ice. 

The narrative follows doctor Silas Coade, who has disturbing dreams and a habit of dying and then continuing the mission on another vessel and in another timeline. And that's all I can say about the story without spoiling it. A big part of the fun of reading Eversion comes from trying to piece together the puzzles and understand what's going on.

Reynolds describes in great detail the technologies and mathematics used to locate and identify the Edifice (great use of the Big Dumb Object trope). Fans of science will be thrilled to follow it. But readers more interested in the characters and the emotional core of the story will also enjoy this one. At each stage of this mystery, the characters reveal different facets of their personalities and inner drives. Silas longs for things (and relationships) that are unattainable for various reasons. He also seems to "reset" reality when he gets too close to the truth. Why? Well, that's the core of the mystery!

Suffice it to say, Silas's arc is stunning and mind-bending. While science is crucial to the story, it has a strong, emotional ending rather than a cerebral one.

If you're into science-fiction stories that require attention to detail and a certain interest in mathematics, you'll love Eversion. If you don't, you should still be able to appreciate its emotional core. 

Highly recommended.

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