Characters with distinctly oddball psychic powers or attributes save this other-planet odyssey from sinking under its own weight.
Violent times have come to Geyser—a city perched high atop a towering geyser nozzle on the giant planet Gliese. When Clyde, a robotic, tuxedo-clad young man with hazy memories and the ability to “sponge” guilt from anyone’s troubled conscience, sets out to track down his beloved master’s killers, he finds the city wrecked and virtually empty. He gets help from several allies including Nevele, a sliced-up woman who literally keeps herself together with telekinetically controlled stitches, and a cultured hive mind, collectively named Rohm, made up of over 1,000 tiny “frisk mice.” With them, Clyde travels through noirish ruins, deep into a mine and up the geyser’s massive spout while surviving vicious attacks from oversized insects and a maniacal serial killer/hired assassin. Ultimately, he runs into dazzling revelations about both his true identity and the source of the strange powers dubbed “fabrick” that he and others display. It’s a very long journey. As Post also shoves in several elaborately developed side plots that are left to be resolved, presumably, in sequels, it’s also a wearisome one. Still, dogged readers will be rewarded with exotic locales aplenty, sometimes-grisly battles and a particularly colorful multispecies cast.
An unwieldy setup volume, bearable for its baroque tweaks and twists. (Science fiction. 12-15)