cover image Singularity’s Ring

Singularity’s Ring

Paul Melko. Tor, $24.95 (316pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1777-3

This superior debut initially resembles a straightforward YA adventure but abruptly veers into much stranger territory. Various factions struggle for control of the Ring, a colossal space station built around Earth by engineers who turned most of humankind into a group mind called the Community, which promptly figured out how to access other realities and vanished from this one. The few remaining humans genetically engineer their children to form “pods” of individuals so closely bonded that they function as one person. After stumbling on secret research during a training exercise, the teenage pod called Apollo Papadopulos soon find themselves on the run from shadowy forces who want to seduce or kill them. The setting extends from Earth orbit to the Amazon jungle, and the action ranges from a tense space rescue to an almost idyllic trek through the Rockies with a family of genetically altered bears. Though some loose plot ends dangle a bit, the ingenious character development and startling images and ideas are deeply satisfying. (Feb.)