There’s simply no knowing where Cent and this series are headed next...but it’ll sure be interesting to find out.

READ REVIEW

EXO

Gould literally raises the bar on teleportation in this sequel to Impulse (2013).

Seventeen-year-old Cent is your typical teen: She's reeling from a breakup with her boyfriend, worried about her ailing grandmother and developing a plan to teleport into orbit—you know, the usual. Intelligent, resourceful and well-funded, she begins field-testing a new spacesuit and putting together a company that will both support her voyages and make a profit by placing small satellites into orbit and removing debris. It’s not long before Cent’s one-woman space program gains considerable attention, including some from the shadowy corporation that once captured Cent’s father, Davy, and still pursues their family. Gould grows more ambitious with every book in the Jumper series. He began by mixing speculative fiction, adventure and bildungsroman, then added in political and corporate thriller; this novel is primarily hard sci-fi while maintaining the other genres. By constantly experimenting with new tropes and extending the limits of the Harrison-Rice family's power to teleport, Gould ensures that each installment remains fresh and enthralling. As in the previous book, Cent’s genius and her social skills (considering that she's been discouraged from creating close bonds with anyone outside her immediate family) seem almost more unusual than her teleporting ability, but her character has an intellectual and emotional validity as well as an inherent likability that encourages the reader to overlook those quibbles.

There’s simply no knowing where Cent and this series are headed next...but it’ll sure be interesting to find out.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3654-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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DUNE

This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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Someone else might’ve made this fresh and clever, but from this source, it’s an often dull and pointless-seeming retread.

AGENCY

A sequel to The Peripheral (2014), in which bored dilettantes from the future meddle virtually with potential pasts while more responsible people try to ameliorate the damage.

The novel opens, as so many Gibson novels do, with an intelligent, creative young woman accepting a not terribly well-defined job from an enigmatic (possibly sinister) executive involving a piece of cutting-edge technology. In this case, that technology is an emerging AI with origins in top-secret military research who calls herself Eunice. The young woman, Verity Jane, spends only a couple of days with Eunice (via company-issued glasses, phone, and headset) before her new boss, Gavin, gets nervous about Eunice’s potential and starts attempting to monitor every move of the human–AI pair. What Verity does not know is that her present day of 2017, in which a decreased Russian influence on social media led to an unnamed woman who is clearly Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, the U.K. voting to remain in the E.U., and a volatile situation in Turkey threatening to turn nuclear, was deliberately manipulated by someone in 2136 who enjoys creating doomsday scenarios among possible past timelines. It’s up to future law enforcement (who can only contact the timeline via digital communication or virtually controlled mechanical peripherals) to get in touch with Verity and Eunice and recruit them to prevent looming global catastrophe. Given Gibson’s Twitter-stated unhappiness with the timeline in which he currently finds himself, it's hard to know what he's implying here: That outside intervention would have been required to achieve a Hillary Clinton presidency and defeat Brexit? Or that our own vigilance on social media could/should have brought those outcomes about? And why would these two potentially positive occurrences in that timeline instigate an even darker scenario than the one readers are currently experiencing—and also require that intervention to fix it? Have we reached the point of no return in all potential 21st-century timelines, doomed, at least in part, regardless of what political and social choices we make now? (Nor is it ever really explained why Gavin turns so quickly on Verity and Eunice, unless it’s simply to inject the story with urgency and transform it into the author’s favorite plot device, the chase.) This is vintage, or possibly tired, Gibson, filling his usual quest-driven template with updated contemporary or just-past-contemporary politics, technology, and culture.

Someone else might’ve made this fresh and clever, but from this source, it’s an often dull and pointless-seeming retread.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-98693-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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