Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mark von Schlegell - Mercury Station (2009)

If nothing else, this was a very unique book. It is equidistantly divided between comical hard sci-fi and fantasy, almost like Philip K. Dick meets Cormac McCarthy. The narrative is quite fragmented, convoluted at times even, which was it's biggest problem for me. Time is distorted, characters take parallel roles within other characters, the chapters jump back and forth between events and eras with little or no exposition. Although this style seems appropriate given the technicalities of the plot, the characters and epochs get sucked into a vortex and everything converges towards the end and I think there could have been some more literal explanations of just what the fuck is going on. Like, an additional 200 pages, more, but then again it might have been heavy-handed and too much. I can't help but think of the line in Adaptation when Nicolas Cage asks his fictional twin brother just how he plans to write/shoot his screenplay which has 3 characters who are all actually one, so I guess I have to give the author here some props for tackling such a difficult and complex task.

Outside of the narrative, it's really quite skillfully written, possessing some of the best prose I've yet to encounter in a work of science fiction. The dialogue remains witty throughout, at times quite funny as well, being how there is hardly any amicable regard between any two of the characters, mortal, machine, spirit, or beast, and the author has imbued every character with equally sarcastic and sharp-as-Muramasa-blade tongues, so you can see the possibilities for humor. There is also an encyclopedic amount of depth and detail in the worlds, both future and past. The languages and cultures all seem very realized and this is what makes the book enjoyable to read despite its back and forth leaps from one scenario to the next.

No comments:

Post a Comment