The rise oF io Slum­dog Alien Time-share

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 424 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook au­thor Wes­ley Chu Pub­lisher an­gry robot

Hav­ing given us the Lives, Deaths and Re­births Of Tao, Wes­ley Chu re­turns to the world of that tril­ogy for The Dis­tant As­so­ci­ates Of Tao. Tao, for the unini­ti­ated, is one of a num­ber of dis­em­bod­ied aliens – the Quas­ing – who’ve been stranded on Earth for mil­len­nia, se­cretly shar­ing hu­man bod­ies, try­ing to en­cour­age our race to de­velop tech­no­log­i­cally through con­stant con­flict.

This new tril­ogy fea­tures a new Quas­ing, Io, a new host, Ella, and a new dy­namic: the In­dian street rat from a near-fu­ture slum and the haughty alien who hi­jacks her body prac­ti­cally loathe each other. As Io tries to train Ella to be a good host, the evil Quas­ing – the Gen­jix – have plans to take over the In­dian gov­ern­ment and level the slum, to re­place it with… some­thing not good.

What makes the book is Ella – a spunky but be­liev­ably flawed char­ac­ter – and her en­ter­tain­ingly sarky ex­changes with her back­seat driver. There are some fan-pleas­ing links to the pre­vi­ous tril­ogy, boo-hiss vil­lains and plenty of twists. All of which help to dis­guise a whiff of fa­mil­iar­ity about the whole thing, and the fact that – be­ing about 50 pages too long for the plot – it sags at times. Dave Golder

Dur­ing a brief th­es­pian ca­reer, Chu once ap­peared in a Hanes un­der­wear ad­vert with Michael Jor­dan.

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