Wednesday, July 4, 2012

To boldly go where?

Transition, by Iain M. Banks, 2009. The main character of this novel, the "Transitioner," is an assassin who is able to jump between parallel worlds through use of a drug called septus. Two beautiful women contend for power over the linked labyrinth of universes, competing for the Transitioner's loyalties through sensuous luxuries, sexual delicacies, and torture. This is a book where characters jump into different bodies, have violent sex with strangers, fling themselves into other dimensions, and dispatch their enemies grotesquely in such picturesque locales as Tibet or Venice.

By the way, this is a science fiction novel. You can tell by the "M" in the author's name. (No M, it's mainstream.)

I enjoyed this as much as any of the dozen or so of Banks' books I have read. It is conceptually thought-provoking as well as being massively good entertainment. Banks is so keenly intelligent, if we can keep up with him it makes us feel very clever. But there is another factor that makes this book worthwhile: it breaks all sorts of boundaries of imagination. You cannot see what is coming or how it is coming or who is who or what is what. It's a wild ride.

Happy traveling. Hang on to your septus.