(2009) Justina Robson, Gollancz, £12.99, pbk, 397pp, ISBN 978-0-575-08562-6
Chasing the Dragon is the fourth in the 'Quantum Gravity' series, following Keeping It Real, Selling Out and Going Under. If you have not read any of the previous novels then this is not the place to start. Go back to book one and start from there… In 2015 a Quantum Bomb went off, breaking down the barriers between worlds, and allowing us to enter the realm of the fantastic and allowing the creatures who dwell here to come to earth or Otopian as it has become known. Here, 50 years have passed since the last book, which gives main character, Lila Black, a problem as most of the people (or creatures) she knew have either died, or disappeared, including Teazle, the heir to Demonia, making her in charge of that world. Her husband has also died, but she can still save him, but she has changed. She used to be human until the elves tortured her, and she was saved by being turned into a thing that was part human, part robot, but now metal elementals have got into her body and she is changing more and more.
Without a doubt, this is the best book of the series, but you have to stick with it. It is not just the dimension/reality-hopping that is difficult to follow, but Robson is dealing with some pretty complicated themes and ideas here (but she is trying to make them as simple and enjoyable as she possibly can, for which I was grateful). This is not hardcore science fiction, but it tapping into some pretty cutting edge and way out theories. Great series, great writing, great ideas, a great character in Lila Black, great supporting characters and a whole lotta worlds to put them in. Roll on book five. There is going to be one, right?
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