cover image The Bones of Time

The Bones of Time

Kathleen Ann Goonan. Tor Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85916-9

Goonan, who immediately established herself as a major SF author with Queen City Jazz (1994), again melds an original variety of elements into a satisfying and richly speculative novel. In near-future Hawaii, the corporation Interspace is exploiting the local Asian population as cheap labor and as subjects for experimental biological nanotechnology. Meanwhile, the rival Homeland Movement seeks to use technology for its own, nationalistic purposes. Interrelated narratives depict the adventures of Lynn Oshima--a geneticist who rescues a clone of King Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian people hundreds of years earlier--and of Cen Kalakaua, a young man of royal Hawaiian blood whose vision of Princess Kaiulani, heir to the Hawaiian throne, drives him to explore the mysteries of both time and space. In vivid prose, Goonan combines well-knit plotting, exotic settings (from Victorian England to a future Dalai Lama's Himalayan retreat), believable characters and extrapolations concerning science and consciousness that will revive even the jaded SF reader's sense of wonder. (Feb.)