Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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Another Tuesday "Ill In Bed Review": The Sky So Big And Black

John Barnes is one of my "buy on sight" authors. I've yet to be disappointed by anything he's written, whether it's light fantasy like One For The Morning Glory, a hi-tech thriller written in collaboration with an astronaut like The Return, or a dark journey through the underbelly of tomorrow like Kaleidoscope Century.

The Sky So Big And Black is a return to the future of Orbital Resonance, Kaleidoscope Century and Candle. It's the end of the 21st century, on Mars, and Terpsichore Murray is coming close to the end of her childhood. Life as an ecospector on Mars is hard, but rewarding, as each find adds to the terraforming effort. It's a job that has to be done, as on Earth the victorious Resuna meme has turned the planet into a group mind after the Meme Wars, One True, and the generation ships are on their way home to help rebuild a shattered human race on Mars.

Barnes presents us with a Heinlein style juvenile with a modern spin, where we see the story through the eyes of Teri's shrink, in the shape of taped memories and his meanderings. This isn't Heinlein, after all, and in Barnes' shattered tomorrow, nothing is really what it seems. Teri's story takes us through triumph and personal tragedy and global disaster to a difficult and complex choice she needs to make to survive, a choice that will affect her and everyone around her for a long time to come.

This is a seemingly simple short novel that contains multitudes. Barnes has been remarkably productive recently, with this, The Duke Of Uranium and The Merchants Of Souls - and not a dud amongst them...
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