I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The Jubilee Tides will drown the continents of the planet Miranda beneath the weight of her own oceans. But as the once-in-two-centuries cataclysm approaches, an even greater catastrophe threatens this dark and dangerous planet of tale-spinners, conjurers, and shapechangers.
A man from the Bureau of Proscribed Technologies has been sent to investigate. For Gregorian has come, a genius renegade scientist and charismatic bush wizard. With magic and forbidden technology, he plans to remake the rotting, dying world in his own evil image--and to force whom or whatever remains on its diminishing surface toward a terrifying and astonishing confrontation with death and transcendence.
What an odd little novel! Not my usual fare at all, and I wouldn’t have picked it up or persevered if it wasn’t on my project reading list (and if it wasn’t so short). I can see where many people would find it interesting and intriguing. I merely found it all confusing, so it’s not my cuppa tea.
The main character never even gets a name—he is merely “the bureaucrat.” When I first started the book, I thought, “Oh good, this is a sci-fi mystery!” And it kind of was, but it also wasn’t. There’s a lot of odd technology and strange biology. It reminded me a lot of Philip K. Dick’s writing, actually, which I quite like. It had that same trippy quality, so I’m not sure why it rubbed me the wrong way, but it did. It also made me think about Gibson’s Neuromancer, with its hallucinatory qualities.
This is the only Swanwick book on my reading list, but I may at some point try some of his other writing just as an experiment, to see what else he has to offer.
Book number 284 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.