Troika

Alastair Reynolds, Author
Alastair Reynolds. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $35 (120p) ISBN 978-1-59606-376-1
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Powerfully demonstrating that less can be more, hard science fiction master Reynolds (Terminal World) has crafted a short but effective first contact novella. The layered narrative effectively draws the reader in by raising numerous questions. Sometime in a post-Internet future, Dimitri Ivanov, a cosmonaut and the sole survivor of a space mission to learn more about a huge alien vessel dubbed the Matryoshka, has escaped from a medical facility where he was being treated for insanity to seek out Nesha Petrova, a scientist, and give her a music box. The events leading up to this odd encounter form the heart of the book, as the details of Ivanov's mission and the fate of his two companions slowly emerge. The truth behind the presence of the Matryoshka (named for Russian nesting dolls) will be familiar to genre veterans, but Reynolds deserves credit for introducing some neat variations on a theme. (Aug.)
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