cover image Voice of the Whirlwind

Voice of the Whirlwind

Walter Jon Williams. St. Martin's Press, $0 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-93013-4

Williams's novel Hardwired was a well-written but standard entry in the cyberpunk sweepstakes launched by William Gibson's Neuromancer. This followup, however, is much more interesting and successful. Etienne Steward is the clone (""Steward Beta'') of a hero of the Artifact Wars, in which multinational corporations fielded armies to plunder alien ruins. He's been given Steward Alpha's memories minus the last years of the hero's life: the war and its aftermath. Now Steward Beta begins an investigation, tracking down Alpha's wife, friends, enemies and fellow vets to fill in the picture and learn why Alpha was murdered. In particular, Beta probes the war, its horrors, its betrayals and The Powers, the aliens who ended it. Resonances of Vietnam-era moral concerns make this deft updating of the postWorld War II genre of psychological thrillers about amnesiacs one of the best of its kind. (May 20)