Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.Read more...
Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.
The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.
And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life...
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Palmer's fiction debut is the ambitious and colorful first installment of her Terra Ignota series, following the political intrigues of Mycroft Canner, a convict who, as punishment for his crimes, becomes the servant of all he meets. The setting is a richly depicted future where gender is concealed, people live in carefully coded sects, and theology is pick-and-choose. Mycroft is tasked with hiding a child whose existence could cause chaos; this is no easy feat, and he and those around him are soon plunged into the world of high politics. Palmer's prose is written with an Enlightenment sensibility, deliberately dense and ponderous. This stylistic decision can be engaging, especially in the tête-à-têtes between Mycroft and the reader, but the heaviness detracts from what might otherwise be an engrossing plot. Mycroft is a witty unreliable narrator whose own biases color the world brought before the reader; it lurches between hellish and utopian. Palmer proves that the boundaries of science fiction can be pushed and that history and the future can be married together. Agent: Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary. (May)