cover image Burning Paradise

Burning Paradise

Robert Charles Wilson. Tor, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3261-5

Hugo-winner Wilson (The Chronoliths) casts a cold eye at SF clichés in this powerful novel designed to shake up lazy readers. In an alternate 2014, contented citizens are celebrating a century of “approximate peace” since the Armistice ended the war in Europe. Only members of the Correspondence Society realize that an alien entity encompassing the planet has been manipulating and pacifying humanity by controlling electronic communication and sending sims—artificial products of its hive mind—to kill anyone who discovers the truth. This is familiar stuff, and readers will expect to see heroic humans casting off the alien tyranny. Instead, Wilson focuses on the difficult moral choices his characters must face as they consider what has been done for (not just to) humankind, and as they discover sims among their closest companions. Heroism is set side by side with deep pain, and there are no easy answers. This is a deeply thoughtful, deliberately discomfiting book that will linger long and uneasily in the reader’s mind. Agent: Shawna McCarthy, McCarthy Agency. (Nov.)