The Braided World
Copyright 2003 by
I first read this on the 27th March 2003.
In Key Kenyon's previous novel, "Maximum Ice", we read of the passage of
dark matter through our region of space. and how this absorbed information
and indeed life as it passed through the Earth, leaving damaged, corrupted
computers and a wrecked ecology, humans decimated by new virulent infections.
This new novel continues from this time. An alien signal is received
directing humans to a far-off world "to find what they have lost".
Disregarded by the world governments only a single, privately-financed
ship, the Restoration, will attempt the trip.
During the three-year voyage the captain dies and many of the crew sicken
with virii brought unknowingly from Earth. When the weakened crew arrive at
the planet Neshar they find an surprising puzzle. There is a human culture,
at least there are people very close to human, yet this cannot be the culture
that constructed the satellites that orbit the planet, the satellites that
sent the mysterious message across space to the Earth.
Four of the crew move down to the planet. These are Bailey Shaw, the
seventy-eight-year-old owner of the expedition; Zhen the biologist and Bailey's most senior staff Anton Prados and Nick Venning.
They are attempting to establish relationships with the local culture in
order to identify the source of the messages. However, this is proving more
difficult and more slow than expected, since the natives are (i) completely
unaware of the existence of the message and (ii) rather more concerned with
their own affairs. However, the Earth humans and their disturbing customs
eventually disrupt local politics. Let's hope Bailey and her crew
can survive war that ensues.
Meanwhile, the remaining crew of ship orbit the world continue to sicken
and die as their bodies weakened by the ravages of the dark matter and
cosmic radiation succumb to virulent infections.
Surprisingly good and much better than, and quite different from,
Ms Kenyon has spent more effort on this book, there are some good characters:
Maypong and Gilar were impressive, and even Anton, mired in his provincial
puritanism. became more than one might have expected. The plot was
carefully constructed plot with none of the ludicrous coincidences of
The physical differences between the humans and the Dassa were interesting,
not just the unusual birth method, but also the skin sensitivity. The
culture that resulted from this was well conceived and remarkably
interesting. Indeed two elements were provocative: the requirements of
courteous behaviour and the enslavement of the Hoda.
What's it got? a mystery and a thriller set in a strange new world. Plus
alien sex, full on and apparently very satisfying for
the participants but as it turns out, not as good as good old human humping.
Oh, and incest (as it were), almost forgot that, and some uptight humans who
indulge in remarkably little sex bearing in mind the local conventions.
Loaded on the 1st June 2003.