Sec­ond Choice

SFX - - Reviews - Jonathan Wright

re­leased OUT NOW! 432 pages | Paper­back/ ebook Author Paul McAu­ley Pub­lisher Gol­lancz There’s a throw­away qual­ity

to much of the hip­ster- in­fused slang Paul McAu­ley uses in the sec­ond of his Choice se­ries. On a dis­tant planet opened to hu­man­ity af­ter an en­counter with ghostly aliens the Jacka­roo, a woman called Lisa strug­gles with the af­ter­math of a “bad trip” af­ter be­ing in­fected by alien code. She’s soon vis­ited by the “geek po­lice”.

But don’t let that fool you into think­ing this is a frothy book. Rather, it’s a novel where the sur­face light­ness, which finds ex­pres­sion in McAu­ley riff­ing var­i­ously off the mythol­ogy sur­round­ing bike gangs, mer­chant fam­ily pol­i­tics and the demise of Gram Par­sons, never ob­scures the un­set­tling qual­ity of so much that’s go­ing on. Viewed as a stand­alone, Into

Every­where is not com­plex struc­turally. Build­ing on the fu­ture- his­tory McAu­ley es­tab­lished in last year’s Some­thing

Com­ing Through, it of­fers just two main view­points. There’s the tale of Lisa, a kind of pro­gram­mer-ar­chae­ol­o­gist. Then there’s Tony, a rich boy try­ing to prove he de­serves to be taken se­ri­ously. As both pro­tag­o­nists find them­selves on the run, we grad­u­ally learn how their sto­ries re­late to each other in a novel that of­ten comes across as a kind of cy­ber­punk thriller.

Again, though, the sur­face light­ness is de­cep­tive, be­cause many of the book’s themes – in par­tic­u­lar, its ex­plo­ration of what a cat­a­clysmic break with the past might mean for those con­cerned – are deeply se­ri­ous.

Paul McAu­ley re­cently turned 61. We men­tion this only be­cause

Into Every­where, a book in­fused with en­ergy and con­fi­dence, shows him shap­ing up to be one of those rare SF nov­el­ists – like Christo­pher Priest and M John Har­ri­son – whose work gets bet­ter even as the bas­tard years go re­lent­lessly past. Rec­om­mended.

A book in­fused with en­ergy and con­fi­dence

McAu­ley has a story in an­thol­ogy Drowned Worlds ( out on 14 July). It’s “kind of a pre­his­tory” of the novel he’s now writ­ing.

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