February 25, 2020

Review: Planesrunner by Ian McDonald.

Out this December from Pyr Books!

Ever wonder why this existence of ours just doesn’t seem to make since most of the time?  Believe me, the thought has crossed our minds here at Astroguyz HQ as we see the likes of the Kardashians and what not trending. Perhaps there’s a multitude of universal possibilities out there, branching off from our own bizarre existence…

This week, we review one of those possible quantum solutions in Ian McDonald’s new multi-dimensional thriller, Planesrunner out December 6th, 2011 from Pyr Books. Fans of this space will know that we’re no stranger to Mr. McDonald’s works with our reviews over the years of the post-cyber punk thrillers Desolation Road, Cyberabad Days, (our favorite Ian McDonald read thus far) and The Dervish House. Mr. McDonald has a way of weaving in a convincing near-future world with believable tech that you might expect to see at tomorrow’s Apple Store. The feel of many of these tales is very Bladerunner-esque, where the juggernaut of modern technology is juxtaposed against the element of social consequences. As the past decade has shown, you never know what folks will do with tech once it’s given to them… who could have predicted Ebay or Twitter?

In Planesrunner, young Londoner Everett Singh becomes the reluctant possessor of the Infundibulum, a digital road-map of billions of possible universes. This was given to him by his father and installed on his laptop shortly before his dad was kidnapped, and confederations from parallel universe factions throughout the Ten Worlds are keen to capture this strategic program. This sends Everett “on the lamb” through the Heisenberg Gate built by his father into the Earths of parallel histories. Think of Everett as Frodo to the Infundibulum’s digital Ring that all seek to possess. Everett finds companionship aboard the airship Everness (hence the series name) a sort of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow fortress in the sky. We thought the helium pumping stations where a nice touch; did you know that the United States once maintained a Strategic Helium Reserve for just such a possibility?

Like many of Mr. McDonald’s works, the world of Planesrunner is convincingly portrayed, right down to the Earth 3 Airish language, an off shoot of the Palari tongue or “secret thieves’ language” which has its 17th century roots in a cross section of European languages. The book even includes a Palari glossary!

We can definitely see room for further intrigue and adventure in the worlds of Planesrunner; believe me, with the piles of books we’ve reviewed on quantum physics  this past summer, it’s a wacky multi-verse out there… and hey, we still want to find out what happened to Earth’s missing Moon in that aforementioned parallel existence!

Next Week: We review a selection from our way-back machine with Alpha Centauri by William Barton and Michael Capobianco!


  1. [...] Singh.  Fans of this space will remember our action-packed review of Everness Book One entitled Planesrunner as well as Mr. McDonald’s Turkish dystopian future world of The Dervish House. Mr. McDonald [...]

  2. [...] dimension-spanning series. Fans of this space and the saga will remember our reviews of book one: Planesrunner and book two, Be My Enemy also out from Pyr Books… and who could forget Mr. MacDonald’s vision of a [...]

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