Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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The Backlog Reviews: Number One - The Duke Of Uranium

John Barnes is a prolific and flexible writer. While he regularly turns out complex works like Candle or A Million Open Doors, he also (like Walter Jon Williams) writes lighter works, thrillers and other, harder to classify pieces. The Duke Of Uranium is one of these works, a far future romp that mixes elements of Heinlein and Panshin.

A thousand years from now, humanity has fought and won an interstellar war - but now awaits (with some trepidation) the verdict of the Galactic Court. It'll be out in a few generations, and may mean the extermination of humanity. Meanwhile the debate over the almost religious Wager and its many principles continues. On a teaming space colony Jak Jinnaka finishes his schooling, somewhat at a loss for what to do next. The kidnapping of his girlfriend changes everything. Not only is she actually a princess, he's been trained by his uncle to be an agent for a social engineering group, and it's his job to rescue her.

Barnes takes us through a bustling far future solar system of black hole powered space colonies, complex martial arts, eternally orbiting sun clippers and battling philosophies. Jak is our unwitting guide, as he bumbles his way to a rescue (with a little help from his friends). This is the first part of a series, and one that I'll be buying the rest of. Barnes has a deft touch with light space opera, and after the first volume there's a distinct feeling that behind the stylised spy movie actions Barnes is putting together a much larger story. It's one that I'll be looking forward to following in future volumes.
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