cover image Rise


Brian Guthrie. Inkshares, $16.99 trade paper (620p) ISBN 978-1-941758-83-0

Science fiction makes "Their world exploded" literal in this ensnaring SF mystery set on various fragments ("shells") of a shattered planet that still orbit around its glowing core. Set up by the Ancients, the shells host colonies of humans who depend upon the infallible technology of their ancestors to survive. But it is starting to fail, and Logwyn, a scribe, is sent by her dragon queen to interview four outsiders from different shells and cultures to piece together why. Armed only with a box whose contents she has not dared to view, Logwyn tries to draw the others out and gather up their separate but linked accounts, hoping to understand why the Ancient computers are losing data. Guthrie neatly if straightforwardly weaves together the four stories, letting events repeat without contradiction (no Rashomon here); his worldbuilding is complicated enough, including the characters' ability to rewrite the "code" of reality, to require some simplicity of plot. Raising more questions with every answer, this volume should intrigue readers enough to look for the sequel. (Sept.)