Posts Tagged ‘Hard SF’

Review – Transmission

January 24, 2012 - 12:48 am No Comments

Transmission: Ragnarok Vol Two
Author: John Meaney
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 421pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Volume two in the Ragnarok trilogy, Transmission is John Meaney’s latest epic SF Space Opera and spans thousands of years as various characters find themselves intertwined inexplicably through time.

In 8th Century Norseland, we meet Ulfr, a young man who can see the darkness his enemy he tracks through the lands intent on destroying an evil only he appears to see.

In Europe WWII, Gavriela also sees a darkness that few others can see, as the Third Reich closes in. She finds herself adept at code breaking and aides the Allies in their fight against evil.

In 2603, Pilot Roger is mourning the loss of his parents and his planet as he comes to terms with his new life alone, pursued by the same darkness, as he is trained in the espionage skills shared by his father. This is a new life for Roger and he is intent on finding the evil that destroyed his family.

Ulfr, Gavriela, Roger – all are linked through time and through their ability to see a darkness that few others can see.
As to be expected with a second volume in a trilogy, questions do remain unanswered at the close of the novel. However, this power house of SF is an example of why Meaney remains a strong voice in the genre. Meaney’s love and knowledge of the martial arts and hypnosis feed into the novel, as does his scientific knowledge. For science novices, some of the theories explained can be a little confusing, but this does not detract from the readers’ enjoyment.

The characters are well written, the world building is phenomenal and the pace as chapters switch from time zones is just right, keeping the tension levels up. The female characters are particularly strong and literally jump off the page, particularly the WWII code breaker Gavriela. The novel is also steeped in historical accuracy and authenticity.

Though a little hard going at times this novel is a prime example of hard SF done right. I look forward to what volume three of the Ragnarok trilogy holds.