Asher’s complex second Transformation near-future space opera (after Dark Intelligence) follows the Machiavellian plans of a dark AI called Penny Royal as she tries (or appears to try) to avert war between the Polity, consisting of humans and AIs, and the Kingdom, made up of crab-like aliens called prador. The prador Cvorn is appalled by the changes that his father-captain Sverl is undergoing—changes initiated by Penny Royal—and seeks to use those abominations as the basis for renewed hostilities with the Polity. Sverl is willing to battle Cvorn to protect those humans that he now feels are under his care. The humans Thorvald Spear, Captain Blite, and Trent Sobel are caught within the intricacies of Penny Royal’s plans and no longer certain that they will survive. Another AI, the Brockle, has become fascinated with Penny Royal, as both of them have violated standard human morality and been made to suffer the consequences. In addition to preventing the coming war, Penny Royal’s plans also require her to return to her place of origin, Factory Station Room 101. Asher ventures into some terrifying minds and incredible space battles in this tangled but heart-pounding sequel, which achieves a rare success in depicting truly nonhuman forms of intelligence. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016 Release date: 05/01/2016 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.