cover image Inhibitor Phase

Inhibitor Phase

Alastair Reynolds. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-46276-1

A human ship passing through the Michaelmas system threatens to draw Inhibitors, a ruthless alien threat, to the hidden community of Sun Hollow in this uneven standalone adventure set in Reynolds’s Revelation Space universe (last visited in Chasm City). Miguel de Ruyter, Sun Hollow’s leader, sets out to destroy the ship before it can draw unwanted attention to the area. Reynolds’s precise, poetic prose provides elegant characterization of his desperate hero as Miguel’s plan goes awry and one of the ship’s passengers, Glass, survives. Glass reveals that she’s come to Sun Hollow purposefully to recruit Miguel for a dangerous mission. Threads of well-layered intrigue spiderweb throughout, occasionally linking to events and characters from previous Revelation Space novels in ways that will delight existing fans without being overly confusing to newcomers. However, some of the science presented as fact makes the fiction implausible after Glass coerces Miguel into accompanying her to the ruins of the Yellowstone system in search of an arcane object with the potential to turn the tide in the fight against the Inhibitors. Suspension of disbelief becomes difficult with the introduction of hyperpigs and contrived technological problems on the way to an underwhelming close. This will best be enjoyed by Reynolds’s diehard fans. Agent: Robert Kirby, United Agents. (Oct.)