BRAVE OLD WORLD by Philippe Curval


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One of France's most popular sf writers appears for the first time in English--with a bizarre, fragmented, dystopian romance illustrating some cultural differences between Europe and the US. In the late 21st century, Marcom (a high-tech, 13-state Common Market), hiding itself behind impenetrable energy barriers, has become an utterly rigid, self-absorbed, nostalgia-sodden police state: it's secretly controlled by the Slow Time Company, which markets devices that stretch time (thus providing longevity) and space (offering, like Dr. Who's Tardis, commodious rooms-within-tiny-rooms); the only sanctioned opponents of ""slow time"" are the ""dream priests,"" a cult based on astral projection and dream interpretation; other dissidents are banished to the abandoned countryside. So, when the outside world discovers that Marcom's spacetime warps are threatening to drop the entire Earth out of its continuum, attorney Belgacen Attia is sent to penetrate Marcom's deadly neurological barriers and destroy the slow time network. And the narrative that ensues involves florid dream sequences, graphic s/m sex, narcissistic conflicts, and a rather shapeless series of mini-plots. Flawed, underpowered, claustrophobic, hallucinatory work--but, for those partial to earnest weirdness, an occasionally fascinating distorting mirror.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1983
Publisher: Allison & Busby--dist. by Schocken