cover image Janus


John Park. ChiZine (HarperCollins Canada, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-927469-10-1

Ottawa native Park takes on the nature-versus-nurture debate with a novel of identities lost and regained on a far-flung world. Jon Grebbel is dropped on the human colony world of Janus, where he struggles to reclaim the memories that he’s been told he lost during his journey. His first real contact on Janus, Elinda, is chasing a mystery of her own: her lover has been found brain-damaged but otherwise unscathed in the forest, and lost memories might have been involved. Meanwhile, the colony heaves with unrest over the rumor that it’s been used as a dumping ground for memory-wiped psychopaths. As Jon and Elinda explore the colony, they discover a shared past and some dark secrets that propel them in opposite directions. Less interested in world-building than the question of whether we are more than the sums of our memories, Park rushes the story to its conclusion. Though the book is at times graceful and engaging, it feels like it could have been much more. (Sept.)