October 19, 2017

Review: Be My Enemy by Ian McDonald.

On sale in September from Pyr Books!

Ya gotta be careful with that whole multiverses and/or parallel universes thing… just ask Homer Simpson; playing with a time-travelling toaster can have dire consequences.  Which brings us to this week’s review, Be My Enemy: Everness Book Two by Ian McDonald. Out in early September from Pyr Books, Be My Enemy traces the further dimension-splitting adventures of Everett 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 has a knack of taking a dimension-spanning adventure and putting it down in a realm as familiar as your own backyard.

Everett possesses the key to the realms of infinite possibilities by way of the Infundibulum (think the Ring of which all seek to possess) as he seeks to flee from the persecution of the Order as personified by Charlotte Villiers. It’s refreshing to see an alternate steam punk universe depicted in a rejuvenated manner, as the science fiction world is getting just a bit crowded with dueling airships and alternative Babbage devices. I think the only series that surpasses the Everness Tales in this regard is Mark Hodder’s Burton & Swinburne tales of The Strange Tale of Spring-Heeled Jack, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, & Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon.

As they pilot the good airship Everness across the multiverses that is the Panoply of All Worlds, Everett and team confront the bizarre and terrifying possibilities of infinite realities. One of my favorite was that of the Thryn Sentiency, an alien intelligence that occupied the farside (as opposed to the dark side of the Moon, which changes!) since 1964. In fact, in this alternate realm, contact with the Thryn was the goal of the Apollo missions! (Wasn’t this a movie plot somewhere?)

But it’s in the terrifying realm of Earth 1 that our heroes face the penultimate threat; a world being overwhelmed by nano-tech. Known as the Nahn, this tech run wild has already devastated London, and threatens to do the same with all of humanity. The Nahn have all the makings of a good Sci-Fi plague; a completely alien presence with their own inscrutable goals. I liked the parallels with the zombie parasites that have been known to make ants sacrifice themselves for the bacterial good in our own reality; recently, we learned reading The Violinist’s Thumb that the parasite toxoplasma gondii may induce similar urges to “cat-hoard” in its owners!

This Dragon*Con weekend, do track down Be My Enemy: Everness Book Two for the further dimension-spanning exploits on Everett Sigh, Captian Anastasia Sixsmyth, Sen and more as they open the Heisenberg Gate one more time. This series is a fast-paced, pull no punches multiverse-thriller, and Mr. McDonald navigates these alternate realms with seasoned skill. The final cards dealt hint at more adventures to come!

(Next week: We delve into the dystopian world of Katniss Everdeen with our review of book two of the Hunger Games sequel: Catching Fire!)

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  1. [...] 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. McDonald’s vision of a futuristic Turkey (the [...]

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