cover image MEMORY


Linda Nagata, . . Tor, $26.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-312-87721-7

The author of the innovative Limit of Vision (2001) offers another challenging science fantasy. On an artificial world, the people, referred to as players, are reborn time after time, to rediscover their talents (if not their history) from past lives. Their needs are largely provided for by mechanical beetle-like kobolds, which appear out of wells. A silver fog that appears each night constantly reshapes the world. At age 10, Jubilee is devastated when her brother Jolly is taken by the silver, despite the usual protection by kobolds. He had oddly not shown any inherent talents, but in his last words claimed to have called the silver. Jubilee studies the silver assiduously in the ensuing years. The action picks up when she's 17. Her lover, Yaphet, is identified in a faraway town (like talents, mates repeat from former lives), a hauntingly familiar though menacing stranger appears out of the silver asking after Jolly as if Jolly were still alive, and the silver takes Jubilee's father. Jubilee joins her father's younger brother, Liam, on a quest for clues about players who survive the silver. What they learn and do affects the fate of their world. This poignant tale with the bones of hard science is bound to win Nagata new fans. (May)