cover image Souls in the Great Machine

Souls in the Great Machine

Sean McMullen / Author, Sean McCullen / Author Tor Books $27.9

Fast-paced and amusing, McMullen's latest novel (after The Centurion's Empire) is an action-packed adventure in the tradition of world-building SF. Set 20 centuries in the future, in a postnuclear winter society, the tale centers on the Calculor, a fantastic calculating machine powered by nameless human components who remain imprisoned within its workings. As the Highliber of Libris--aka head librarian--Zavora is the de facto ruler of the Calculor, and thus of all Confederation society, packing more political clout than the mayor himself. Through the Calculor's number crunching, Zavora has discovered that the world will be plunged into another ""Greatwinter,"" or ice age, unless she can gain control of a satellite in Earth's orbit, which seems nearly impossible given her society's limited technology. Aiding Zavora in her mission are the Abbess Theresla, who has an innate ability to resist ""the Call,"" a psychic phenomena that forces all humans to follow its deadly beckoning; Lemorel, a spirited young street fighter and librarian within the Libris; and Johnny Glasken, a rogue and former prisoner of the Calculor. McMullen's dramatic pacing and believable characters ensure that readers will enjoy Zavora's quest through a well-wrought, richly imagined multidimensional world. (June)