Sunday, 28 August 2011

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: By Light Alone - Adam Roberts

Release Date: 18/08/11


In a world where we have been genetically engineered so that we can photosynthesise sunlight with our hair hunger is a thing of the past, food an indulgence. The poor grow their hair, the rich affect baldness and flaunt their wealth by still eating. But other hungers remain . . . The young daughter of an affluent New York family is kidnapped. The ransom demands are refused. Years later a young women arrives at the family home claiming to be their long lost daughter. She has changed so much, she has lived on light, can anyone be sure that she has come home? Adam Roberts' new novel is yet another amazing melding of startling ideas and beautiful prose. Set in a New York of the future it nevertheless has echoes of a Fitzgeraldesque affluence and art-deco style. It charts his further progress as one of the most important writers of his generation.


Adam Roberts is an author that will appear in quite a few Science Fiction readers top ten’s with one title or another, yet for me, I really couldn’t get into this latest book released by Gollancz. Yes I could see the author typical writing style with sharp prose and interesting premise but I just couldn’t get behind the characters within which I didn’t feel were fleshed out enough for me to generate a caring response to.

Add to this that a lot of the novel felt like padding and I was left wondering if this title was more a novella or short story expanded to fulfil a contractual obligation. Sadly, whilst I have enjoyed this author’s work in the past this one just wasn’t for me and I hope that the next book goes back to what has gone before with better rounded characters, a huge overall plot alongside his breakneck pace and cracking prose.

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