Noah Robischon
March 07, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

EW reviews the latest in sci-fi

PARADOX
John Meaney
Tom Corcorigan is only a boy when his mother is lured away by one of planet Nulapeiron’s all-seeing Oracles. To exact revenge, he overcomes his impoverished origins and grows into a politically powerful lord. Weird Science Since Oracles are pre-scient, the only way to kill one is by using a data crystal to simulate the future. Lowdown Paradox‘s ingeniously stratified universe is reminiscent of Dune, but hardly groundbreaking. B+

PASHAZADE
Jon Courtenay Grimwood
In a 21st century slightly different from our own (the Ottoman Empire never collapsed), Ashraf Bey is sprung from a U.S. jail, ferried to a North African city to collect his inheritance, and then accused of murder. Weird Science Cyber-genetically upgraded as a boy, Bey has enhanced vision, perfect memory, and protective ribs. Lowdown A provocative hard-crime novel, Arabic alternate history, and literary page-turner all in one. A-

MARKET FORCES
Richard K. Morgan
Chris Faulkner is a rising star at a corporation that funds small wars around the globe. But making partner will mean risking his life and losing his soul. Weird Science Chris’ morning commute entails challenging company rivals to deadly highway duels refereed by a DMV-like ”Driver Control.” Lowdown Forces is turbo-injected with moral ambiguity, Wag the Dog political scenarios, and action sequences fit for a Bruckheimer movie. A

SHADOW OF THE GIANT
Orson Scott Card
The Battle School grads from Card’s seminal 1985 novel, Ender’s Game, now rule warring countries. But Ender’s older brother wants the ex-students to lay down arms for a new mission. Weird Science A rogue scientist develops a common-cold virus that can alter the human genome. Lowdown Card is so captivated by strategy that the action in Shadow unfolds as if from a distance. B

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST