I have this habit of going through certain activity phases in my life. At present, I seem to be going through a reading phase, where all I do is actively read. I have just finished another stellar book by Alastair Reynolds – House of Suns. While it was a little confusing at first, the cause of the confusion became obvious later and pulls the reader in as a participant in the narrative. In fact, it has been called “mind-boggling” and “mind-bending” by several reviewers. I totally concur.
The novel is divided into eight parts, with the first chapter of each part taking the form of a narrative flash-back to Abigail Gentian’s early life (set roughly 1,000 years from now), before the cloning and the creation of the Gentian Line. Every chapter is narrated from the first-person perspective, shifting between three individuals; Abigail Gentian herself (in the flashbacks) and two clones called Campion and Purslane who are engaged in a relationship which is frowned upon, even punishable, by the Line.
While the story may have been set in a science-fiction back-drop, all good science-fiction is less about the science and more about the story. This story was one about a love, an imperfect one, but one that managed to last through thousands and millions of years. In fact, towards the end of the story, one of our main characters literally pursued the love of his life through seventy-seven thousand years, beyond the end of the galaxy. Literally.
I loved this book and I have come to realise that the best place to get scifi books in Malaysia is actually at Kinokuniya. I’ve got a few more on my shelf, to go through. I hope that I would be able to get through a couple more this week.