Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Bright Spot

Kay Kenyon's Bright of The Sky is the first book in her new (and first) series, The Entire and The Rose. I've read and discussed Mrs. Kenyon's books before amd have been quite impressed. Its very hard to describe, so it might be easier to describe what it is not; it is not hard science fiction, it is not fantasy, and it is not a classical romantic adventure novel. Yet is has elements of all of these and much more. She is a exceptional character writer, which lends much needed help to the reader in the suspension of disbelief. Her premises are absolutely fantastic and fantastical. But her characters seem to see them as such and react to them in very believable and sometimes very profound ways.

In Bright of the Sky, Earth is ruled by corporate entities that scour the populous for intelligent, productive people and pay the rest to stay out of the way. One of the super intelligent elite spurns the status quo to be a pilot, navigating through the FTL tunnels that are corporately created and maintained. During one of his flights, the tunnel collapses supposedly killing him, his crew, his wife and his very young daughter. Weeks later, he turns up on a planet, delirious, spouting nonsense about an alternate universe where his family is stranded. He refuses to recant and is corporately ostracized. He is given retirement and paid to stay out of the limelight.

Then, an AI in charge of maintaining one of the tunnels, is fed a problem in quantum physics by a student. It goes bonkers, shutting down the tunnel and killing several people in the collapse. But the data that is retrieved shows that particles exist and are shooting through the tunnels. Particles that can only come from a quantifiable and therefore existing universe that is different from our own. It exists across a thin quantum barrier that FTL technology inadvertently penetrates. And it turns out that one human being has been there and come back to tell the tale.

Oh! The profit potential of taking shortcuts through our universe by going through another! Can it be done? Will the denizens of the alternate reality be friend or foe? Is it even possible? Or will there be conflict? (The answer to that last one? This IS a series...).

Mrs. Kenyon has again painted broad scenes of fantastic proportions and developed characters that are multi-dimensional (no pun intended). This was a great read. The only problem I have is that after reading the book, the story is just starting. I have the second book and will read it forthwith because, dammit, its a good story!

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