Fiction Reviews


Stone

(2003) Adam Roberts, Gollancz, 6.99, pbk, 338 pp, ISBN 0-575-07396-9

(2009 reprint) Gollancz, 7.99, pbk, 291 pp, ISBN 978-0-575-08252-6

 

Adam Roberts' Stone charts the history of a mass murderer of the far future. The protagonist, Ae, is already in a unique prison and plotting his breakout with the help of strange voices in his head. Having escaped, Ae sets off on a course which leads to a spectacular mass murder and, along the way, we are taught more about the society of Ae and about Ae himself in his own words.

Adam Roberts' style is strongly reminiscent of Iain M. Banks, which should recommend him to most lovers of galaxy spanning, thoughtful SF. Like Banks, Roberts has quite a playful approach to even the most serious of subjects and I found myself enjoying Stone because of this. Even the name of the culture, t'T, amused (I kept reading this as tut culture. Try it, it works!) The fact that the result is known at the beginning does not detract in the slightest from enjoying the path that Ae takes as he works his way towards his destiny, the path revealing more and more of the murder for which he is now gaoled. My only quibble was in the needless use of footnotes, which rather bored me, but overall recommended.

Graham Connor


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