A Quantum Mythology

By Gavin G. Smith

Rating: 2 stars

I got this book free in a GoodReads giveaway, without knowing anything about it. Unfortunately, it appears to be the follow up to another book, The Age of Scorpio. Perhaps if I’d read the first book, this one might have made sense, but as it was, it was very difficult to keep up with what was going on (although I think that’s as much just the author giving very little ground to the reader, and throwing you in at the deep end).

And, alas, I also just didn’t really like it very much. The book is spread across three different time zones, usually with two different strands going on in each one, and there are few links between the storylines. In the past, some sort of disaster has befallen the Celts and the land is mutating everything that gets in its way, with a small band of survivors trying to escape and even stop it. In the present, two super-powered agents of a shadowy organisation are searching for a killer and in the far future, a murderous bounty hunter has acquired a girl: who may be the most precious thing in Known Space.

I think I found the sections in the past most difficult to follow. I’m not familiar with Celtic mythology or words, so I had to keep looking things up to see if they were made up or were an actual word. This was also the one that felt most like I was entering half way through a story and had no idea what was going on.

In the future, Scab and Vic are unpleasant and pathetic respectively and while we keep being told just how evil and nasty that Scab is, we see very little of this. And Talia (the aforementioned most valuable thing in Known Space) hardly helps her own case, by constantly whining and trying to manipulate others.

The story in the present is probably the most interesting, with Malcolm DuBois probably the most well-rounded of the characters, but it really doesn’t help that his quarry, Silas Scab, is (probably) the same one in the future, so you know he’s going to survive.

Speaking of surviving, the violence throughout the book is considerable. Smith seems to feel that because most of his characters have magic nanites in their blood that can repair injuries, he can just tear off limbs and tear holes in people with impunity. After a while it just becomes repetitive. I didn’t find the action scenes particularly effective because of this. Also, the future described in this book, and the bits of the present that (loosely) tie to that future are incredibly unpleasant and set up in the present to bring about that future. I found reading about it quite unpleasant (although I accept that this is very much just me, as I don’t like dystopia)

I appreciate that I’m coming to this half way through a story without seeing the beginning, but what I’ve read has given me no inclination to read the previous book and certainly not the next book in the sequence.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575126992
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2015

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