2011-04-04 · in Books, Commonwealth · 235 words

Yes, it really is called that. At 1235 pages, the sequel to Pandora's Star is straining the limits of paperback technology — my copy began to disintegrate around the time the Starflyer was finally vanquished — and is every bit as much a triumph of awesomely creative worldbuilding over terrifyingly poor editing as the first book was. For example:

There was no problem with erosion on the wet desert, total saturation bestowed the sand with a fantastic degree of cohesion, locking every grain and grit particle into place like an epoxy. It provided a remarkably stable base to drive on, albeit one with very poor traction had they needed to brake sharply.

And later:

They were halfway down the slope now, ranged at four hundred and seventeen metres from the MANN truck. Thick clouds of diesel gushed up out of its vertical exhaust pipes behind the cab, and it started to rumble forwards.

If you're wondering, the climax of the book involves large amounts of long-distance lorrydriving, and a fairly uninspiring whodunnit. Given all the fuss about shortwave radio during the final chase, I was disappointed that the effects of solar flares on the ionosphere didn't turn out to be a major plot point. There's plenty more I could complain about here, but it's probably not going to stop me from buying the next book just to see what on earth he does next. Grr.