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  • A real fun puzzle

    Alastair Reynolds is back with a novel that really stands apart his previous works. Don't expect galaxy spanning space opera with several narrative streams that starts apart to gradually reveal their hidden interconnections. Revelation Space this novel isn't. Eversion is another beast altogether, and if it compares to any previous story it would be to Diamond Dogs. The less is revealed about the plot the better, but it starts in the late 18th century on a sail ship on a scientific mission in the North Sea, with on board our narrator the surgeon Dr. Coade, aiming to find a mysteriously unmapped and possibly mythical inner sea and an even more mysterious artefact on its shores. From that premise that's a bit like Patrick O'Brian's Dr. Maturin has landing in a Lovecraft story, Reynolds expertly weaves an immensely entertaining puzzle that never loses its momentum or sense of fun, rewarding the observant readers with many decipherable clues yet constantly surprising us with unforeseen twists when you thought you had it figured out. Just looks at what a sphere eversion looks like, you'll get a good idea of how twisted this novel gets. Mystery, adventure, emotional rides, great and endearing characters (not always the case with Reynolds, but here the trio of Dr. Coade, Miss Cassile and Ramos is really fun), some hard science (it's still Reynolds), Eversion has plenty to offer and more. The novel is brilliantly crafted and work on many levels. Beside being a great story in its own right it's an ode to science-fiction itself, especially to historical sub-genres ranging from Lovecraftian atmosphere to the sense of adventure of the novels of Jules Verne and Wells, to the sheer fun of the "pew-pew" pulp space opera of the golden age, without forgetting the hard sci-fi that would have made Arthur C. Clarke proud, and even moments that'd feel right at home in Alien. By far the most fast paced and accessible of Reynolds's works, and one that would make a terrific movie or miniseries, Eversion could even appeal beyond his usual fanbase, to anyone who enjoys a playful puzzle to solve, and stories as varied as the series Dark, Interstellar or Inception.

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