cover image Dream London

Dream London

Tony Ballantyne. Solaris (, $7.99 mass market (404p) ISBN 978-1-78108-174-7

Over the course of a year, something has altered London’s geography, physics, and inhabitants to mysterious purpose. Some buildings grow like weeds while others dwindle, mathematicians commit suicide, and iconic poetry rewrites itself. Within this shifting world, Capt. James Wedderburn has entrenched himself in his faults, content to live as an unrepentant pimp, until he’s approached and courted by rival groups who want him to play a variety of roles in an approaching magical endgame. Though the story is fast-paced with very effective escalations of danger, first-person narration muddles the appeal of Wedderburn’s progress from lowlife to antihero; his own account of that transformation isn’t so much unreliable as unconvincing. A lively supporting cast helps move things along, and the ways in which women occasionally cut through Wedderburn’s unpleasant sexist ideas are refreshing but too infrequent to feel like a real counternarrative. (Nov.)