cover image Elysium Fire

Elysium Fire

Alastair Reynolds. Orbit, $15.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-55567-8

Reynolds has been building his Revelation Space universe for decades in a series of stories and novels; this one is a direct sequel to 2007’s The Prefect, reprinted in 2017 as Aurora Rising, and it’s even fresher and smarter than its predecessors. Chasm City’s 10,000 habitats have existed in relative harmony for years, but an accelerating series of brain-frying deaths cast doubt on the ability of Panoply, the city’s law enforcement agency, to keep citizens safe. Panoply prefect Tom Dreyfus; his protégé, Thalia Ng; and a sardonic hyperpig, Sparver Bancal, attempt to stop the murders while shutting down a rabble-rousing provocateur. This novel’s ideas are mind-stretching, including a limbo where copies of the dead can be kept and interrogated, and a chillingly mischievous AI that tempts and mocks Dreyfus. Familiarity with the earlier novel might help readers sort out the multiple plot threads. The big concepts and complex story effectively pull readers into intriguing speculation about human identity and potential. (Feb.)