on Aug. 23, 2013
What does one say about a book like Kyrathaba Rising, the first in a planned series of sci-fi novels about human survival in a post-apocalyptic world?
In a nutshell - Wow!
This is one of those big ambitious sci-fi stories. Much like some of the classics of the genre, it takes on big topics such as: survival of the species, definitions of consciousness, and technology’s role securing a very different future than the one we originally imagined for humanity.
In many respects, Kyrathaba Rising has more in keeping with works such as Asimov’s Foundation or I Robot stories than it does with the more introspective and inward looking sci-fi of writers like Ballard or Heinlein. And although it’s not space opera, Kyrathaba Rising definitely is a form of opera. Perhaps “civilization opera” would be the best way to describe it.
And like all good opera, this story is loaded with complex and layered elements that make for a solid main plot plus several interesting subplots. These elements include alien invasion, some Lovecraftian imagery and themes, virtual reality, mind transference, emerging robotic intelligence, swords & sorcery gaming, political intrigue, and even a tiny bit of good old fashioned sex.
From that list you might get the idea that Kyrathaba Rising is one of those hodge-podge “with everything but the kitchen sink” stories. But it’s not. Strange as it may seem, all of those elements (plus a few I’ve left out) are wedded seamlessly. And all make absolute sense within the context of the story. Nothing I read seemed to have been put there purely for the sake of filler.
If nothing else, Kyrathaba Rising is an unusually well plotted story. Refreshing in an era where characterization and “character driven” fiction has pushed plot to the background in far too many stream of consciousness narratives.
Science fiction, as a genre, is supposed to be about ideas. Kyrathaba Rising is a story loaded with ideas as well as being a very enjoyable read.