Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 10 hours and 22 minutes (320 pages)
Publisher: Neil Gaiman Presents
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Empty Space Trilogy
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I have had this book awhile to read and finally picked it up. It’s a very interesting book but somewhat hard to follow and understand. I am still trying to kind of figure out what happened here.
I listened to this on audiobook. It is part of the Neil Gaiman presents series. The narrator did a decent job of narrating it.
The book follows three main characters. The first is Michael Kearney who is a physicist and serial killer. He thinks he is being chased by a creature called the Schrander and that the serial killing he does keeps the Scrander at bay. Michael’s story is set in 1999.
The second character is Seria Mau Genlicher; Seria Mau is a cybernetically modified woman who operates a K-ship as a merc. Seria Mau has received a mysterious package that is supposed to allow her to be more human again and is trying to track down the source of the package to figure out how it works.
The third character is Ed Chianese. Ed is a former thrill-seeker and current Tank junkie (VR immersion tanks that providing new experiences for users). He is a bit lost in many ways and ends up finding work at a circus run by Sandra Chen. Both Seria Mau and Ed’s stories take place in 2400AD.
As I mentioned I am still trying to kind of figure out what this book was about. Neil Gaiman provided a nice foreword which gives some good initial description and summary to help ground the reader a bit before starting the story, which was nice.
The book is filled with spectacular descriptions and creative ideas. However it was kind of all over the place and threw tons of terminology at you without ever really explaining anything.
All of the characters are pretty dark and depressing with addictions, mental issues, and general instability being the major portions of their personalities. All the stories do end up tying together somewhat; the Schrander ends up being a connecting theme between all of these characters.
There is a lot of ambiguity to the story and a lot of things left unexplained. It is possible I missed some the explanations because I had a lot of issue with staying focused on the story because of all the unexplained terminology. You never really find out what the Light is and why it affects the cats the way it does. I also never really understood what The Schrander was or where it came from or what its purpose was. Additionally I never really understood exactly what the Shadow Operators were.
Overall this was an okay story. There are some very creative ideas in here and excellent description throughout. This is definitely one of those books that I will think back on often because my mind is still trying to unravel all the connections and unexplained aspects of it. I didn’t enjoy the depressing and damaged characters or the large volume of unexplained terminology that was thrown at the reader. I usually don’t mind my stories a bit ambiguous; but this book went too far for me and wandered outside of ambiguity into confusion at points. I am honestly not sure whether to recommend this or not. If you like mind-bending sci fi that is a bit hard to decipher you might enjoy this.