cover image Ymir


Rich Larson. Orbit, $17.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-41658-0

Drawing inspiration from Beowulf, Larson (Annex) weaves a tense far-future story of powerful technology, family trauma, and complicated politics. Yorick Metu, “the butcher,” fled his frozen home planet of Ymir after massacring a group planning a rebellion against the company that controls Ymir, earning himself a terrifying reputation. After 20 years away, Yorick is called back to kill a grendel, a dangerous, sentient technological relic from an alien civilization. While doing reconnaissance, he discovers his estranged brother, Thello—who once shot Yorick’s jaw off—has survived the recent attacks and has somehow learned to communicate with the grendels. Thello forces Yorick to swallow a machine that Thello can detonate remotely if Yorick does not do as he’s told: namely to help Thello and the grendel’s plot to topple the company. When the scheme falters, Yorick, who relies on a cocktail of intoxicants and stimulants to cope, discovers unsettling truths about the past and faces a test of loyalties. The connection to the classic is thin, but Larson layers the plot with dreams and flashbacks that create a deep sense of his characters, and the nonstop action and violence keep the pages flying. Fans of finely crafted, high-intensity sci-fi stories will enjoy this. Agent: John Silbersack, Bent Agency. (July)