Too Like the Lightning

Ada Palmer. Tor, $26.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7800-2
Palmer's fiction debut is the ambitious and colorful first installment of her Terra Ignota series, following the political intrigues of Mycroft Canner, a convict who, as punishment for his crimes, becomes the servant of all he meets. The setting is a richly depicted future where gender is concealed, people live in carefully coded sects, and theology is pick-and-choose. Mycroft is tasked with hiding a child whose existence could cause chaos; this is no easy feat, and he and those around him are soon plunged into the world of high politics. Palmer's prose is written with an Enlightenment sensibility, deliberately dense and ponderous. This stylistic decision can be engaging, especially in the tête-à-têtes between Mycroft and the reader, but the heaviness detracts from what might otherwise be an engrossing plot. Mycroft is a witty unreliable narrator whose own biases color the world brought before the reader; it lurches between hellish and utopian. Palmer proves that the boundaries of science fiction can be pushed and that history and the future can be married together. Agent: Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/23/2016
Release date: 05/10/2016
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-4668-5874-9
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-7653-7801-9
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