Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The Prefect

I just read The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds (which was released last year so all my hip-to-the-genre lj-friends probably read it ages ago). This is set in the same Universe as most of his previous stories, planet Yellowstone and the Glitter Band and so on. It's set about 200 years before the others, before the nano-plague that mucked up all the technology, so during a kind of golden age.

I think Reynolds has made an effort to create a more conventional/satisfying plot structure, on the noir model of a dour but honourable detective up against powerful families and hidden agendas: 'down these mean orbital streets a man must walk who is not himself mean'. And there isn't the sense of the whole thing falling off an insane cliff in the last fifth of the book that I've had from his other novels.

I like Reynolds' powerful imagination for technology and space exploration. In all his work there is a powerful sense of the awfulness of confinement and forced consciousness, technology preventing the traumatised human mind from escaping into sleep and death, and therefore leaving no recourse but cruel insanity. I think he must suffer from claustrophobia, and perhaps like many people he has had episodes of sleep paralysis. Anyway, this theme is now so recurrent as to be his recognisable style.
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