Liz Williams, Author . Spectra $6.99 (426p) ISBN 978-0-553-58676-3

Williams's (Nine Layers of Sky ) talent for intricately moody world-building may have taken her a bit too far in this postapocalyptic vision of the struggle to preserve what is human. In the far future, when the only males are dangerous "men-remnants" hunted by Martian warriors, and women are not born but made, what counts as human is far different from what we would think today. On the planet Nightshade, a mysterious clan of humans has joined with aliens to become stranger still. The women of Earth and Mars mainly know of the sinister doings on Nightshade through the use of "haunt-tech"—powerful objects possessed by spirits of the dead. While Lunae, an Earth girl with special gifts, tries to manipulate time and save humanity from an unnamed threat, an experimental woman, Yskatarina Iye, is sent from Nightshade to destroy her and the warrior Dreams-of-War sets out from Mars to protect her. Within this universe there are a great many grand, creepy creations, such as weather-controlling Dragon Kings and the murderous scissor-women. Readers who aren't put off by the mind-bending oddness of Williams's universe will find themselves rapidly flipping the pages, though they may feel let down by the decidedly convenient ending. Agent, Shawna McCarthy. (Oct. 5)

Reviewed on: 08/23/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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