March 26, 2007
Air - Geoff Ryman
It's funny reading a book after it has won awards, especially one that's done the UK SF double of the Arthur C Clarke award and the BSFA award. That sets high expectations. Can Air live up to those expectations?
It starts with the best two opening lines I've read in years, then settles back into an unexpected story of life in a poor village. Then the Air test comes to the village. Air is an internet connection in everyone's head. From then on the story is about Mae and her village struggling to cope with technological change.
The plot drives onward, piling trouble and strife onto poor Mae, until you can't believe that things can get much worse. Half way through the book I had no idea where it was going to end up, and I was loving it.
The writing is wonderful; flowing and evocative, some people may call it "literary" I guess, to me it was just great writing. It keeps you immersed, deep in the story.
If there is any criticism at all, and it's minor, the book dragged slightly about three quarters of the way through, but it is the lull before the storm. The story builds to an immensely satisfying climax.
As you can probably tell, I loved it. It is a book that stays with you once you've finished, leaving lots to think about.
If you haven't read it, you really should.