Angry Robot, out now
With the Fissure gone, can the Empire State survive?
Adam Christopher’s follow-up to Empire State benefits from the reader understanding the underlying principles of the pocket universe, and its relationship to the real world, as explained in the first novel (and briefly but clearly restated early on enough in this for it to be clear to a newcomer). It’s a few years after the climax of that story, and things have changed either side of the fissure – and not for the better. The Empire State is freezing, while a new movement, Atoms for Peace, is gaining power in our world, led by a mysterious figure who really has no business still existing.
Like its predecessor, it plays with some of the tropes of the detective novel while adding a science fiction spin to them, and there’s a definite 1950s B-movie feel to the robots who are central to events in each reality. Christopher’s love of superheroes shines through once more (his novel Seven Wonders is well worth picking up for its treatment of that genre), and he has a gift for pithy descriptions that pull you right into the heart of a situation.
Verdict: Christopher provides a fast-paced novel which juggles high stakes and personal quests with great aplomb. 8/10