October 30th, 2002

The Wednesday Afternoon "Fun With CMSes" Review: Turquoise Days

Sensibly Golden Gryphon have decided to follow PS Publishing, and launch a line of limited edition novellas. The first in this series is Alastair Reynold's Turquoise Days.

Set in Reynold's Inhibitor universe of Revelation Space and many other novels, short stories and novellas (and like several other of Reynold's stories, taking its title from the world of rock music), Turquoise Days is a story of alienation, of loss, and ultimately, some form of redemption. It's a scalpel edged story, one that takes the planetary romance, pares it down to its essentials and unleashes it on the world, charged with the same dark energy as Reynold's space operas.

Turquoise isn't quite a lost colony world. The light huggers still make their way here, but it's a long way off the beaten track and visitors come decades apart. As a ship approaches the isolated world, political and cultural upheveals are expected. What Turquoise gets is something it never expected.

There aren't many aliens in Reynold's galaxy. Those that survive the Inhibitors are too alien to understand, or are hidden away behind shrouds of congealed space time. The Pattern Jugglers are among the most alien of the survivors, straddling the dividing line between intelligence and instinct. They're strangely useful too, making worlds with a Pattern Juggler population valuable assets - as they are natural recorders of minds, with the ability to layer an imprint on top of a living persona. And as their recordings go back millions of years, they're a useful tool for historians...

Turquoise is a typical Pattern Juggler world, a cold waterworld with little land. Its human colonies are floating cities, drifiting under immense balloons. It's a fragile existence, at the whim of wind, tide and Juggler. The visiting light hugger is here to investigate Turquoise's Jugglers, a scientific mission. Reynold's heroine, a scientist who's sister has been absorbed by the Juggler mass, is suspicious of their motives. Proved right when the masks come off, she has to choose between saving her world and saving the Jugglers. It's a huge decision to make...

Welcome to another window into Reynold's dark vision of tomorrow. And yet, it's strangely optimistic, and strangely beautiful. This is what happens when radical hard SF meets Jack Vance. Buy, enjoy. And if you can't get the Golden Gryphon edition with its Bob Eggleton cover, there's a combined edition of both this and the PS Publishing novella Diamond Dogs due in January.
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