NINEFOX GAMBIT

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Science Fiction is a genre which tends to encourage originality and weirdness in equal measure. Space is very big, which means that creators have plenty of room to try out the strangest of ideas. Yoon Ha Lee’s Nine Fox Gambit is an excellent example of this; it is big in every possible way. It’s a space opera story with ghosts, social commentary, epic battle, but it’s also much more than that.

One of the novel’s central ideas is that entire civilisations are run on an calendrical systems. This means that the beliefs, calendar, and observances of society create topologies that in turn alter the fundamental laws of reality and allow the use of strange and exotic weapons.  The story centres on Kel Cheris, a brilliant captain who happens to be down on their luck. The only mission they’re allowed to embark upon is an insanely hard one; They must recapture the impregnable space station, the Fortress of Scattered Needles. Her ally is tactician Shuos Jedao, the only person to ever get into the station. This might sound like a standard sci-fi trope, but Lee adds their own twist to it. For a start, Shuos is sort of dead. And insane.

The writing is superb and clever. The ideas are strong and constantly fascinating.  The pacing is a quite bumpy, however. In order to cram in so much world building, something has to suffer and in this case, it’s a consistent speed to the action. We go from space battle to personal drama to really cool exposition pretty quickly at times, and though all these elements are great on their own, they can be a little jarring for those of us who like to read at more than a leisurely pace.

Though this is, at its core, a pulp sci-fi page turner, it’s also intelligently written in a way that would appeal to fans of Hannu Rajaniemi and Ian M Banks.  That said, don’t be afraid of the complex ideas here; the super science blurs into magic pretty quickly, lending to the space opera stylings of the book.  Yoon Ha Lee is a powerful talent, and one to watch out for.

NINEFOX GAMBIT / AUTHOR: YOON HA LEE / PUBLISHER: SOLARIS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


Suggested Articles:
Few could argue that the character of Captain Phasma was severely underused in The Force Awakens. Pr
Now that the critical and commercial disappointment that was this year’s live action version of Gh
There is a swathe of Star Wars books being released at the moment, covering all era’s and topics f
Good News Bible: The Deadline Strips of Shaky Kane is exactly what the title says. The book collects
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Book Reviews

STAR WARS PHASMA 17 September 2017

GHOST IN THE SHELL 16 September 2017

STAR WARS KIRIGAMI 12 September 2017

GOOD NEWS BIBLE: THE DEADLINE STRIPS OF SHAKY KANE 12 September 2017

MURMURS OF DOUBT 04 September 2017

STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION: THE ART OF JUAN ORTIZ 01 September 2017

WYCHWOOD 01 September 2017

STAR WARS VISUAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 01 September 2017

DOCTOR WHO PAPER DOLLS 01 September 2017

ULTIMATE MARVEL 01 September 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner