SFX - - Reviews -

Our pick of the pa­per­backs this month is Adam Roberts’ THE THING IT­SELF ( , 13 Oc­to­ber, Gol­lancz). Cen­tring on two sci­en­tists in an Antarc­tic re­search sta­tion, it con­nects time­trav­el­ling “ghosts”, the birth of an AI and a fu­ture “Utopia” via a nar­ra­tive that hops around in time, with sto­ries from one era find­ing echoes in oth­ers. We said: “a heroic par­tial suc­cess that rises to the chal­lenge that David Mitchell sets down.” Fancy some­thing spook­ily David Lynch-ian? In Keith Lee Mor­ris’s TRAV­EL­ERS REST ( , 13 Oc­to­ber, Wei­den­feld & Ni­col­son), a fam­ily check into a small-town mo­tel, then be­come trapped in its limbo-like cor­ri­dors. We said: “The prose has a hyp­notic rhythm that per­fectly cap­tures the un­canny am­bi­ence… An ul­ti­mately re­ward­ing, if some­times ar­du­ous, jour­ney.” Fi­nally, the lat­est en­try in the SF Master­works range is Mau­reen F McHugh’s 1992 de­but CHINA MOUN­TAIN ZHANG (13 Oc­to­ber, Gol­lancz), which was nom­i­nated for both the Hugo and the Ne­bula Awards. Set in a Chi­nese­dom­i­nated 22nd cen­tury where the US has un­der­gone a Com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion, it’s a mo­saic novel that switches be­tween a young man of mixed Chi­nese/Latino an­ces­try (who is se­cretly gay) and the lives of four other char­ac­ters. A quiet, small-scale story set in a well-drawn world, it’s a com­ing-of-age tale of sorts – but not that of a spe­cial “cho­sen one”, just an or­di­nary per­son try­ing to find their place in so­ci­ety.

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