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To Hold Infinity by John Meaney
Review by Mel Jacob
Pyr Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 1591024897
Date: 05 September, 2006 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Meanwhile, his grieving and quasi-suicidal mother arrives for a visit unaware the authorities seek her son, now a fugitive, for murder. Determined to clear his name, Yoshiko seeks the help of a Luculenti family she traveled with from Earth to Fulgor. In the process, she makes friends, attracts Tetsuo's enemies, and seeks clues as to why her son fled and whether he still lives.

A serial killer seeks to kill Tetsuo to avoid exposure. Others also want him silenced. Human life holds little value for some Fulgori, and murder and grave robbing abound. The mind-rape by Mr. Spock from Star Trek in The Undiscovered Country seems innocent by comparison. On Fulgor, stealing of minds and souls is a destructive process that leaves the victim either dead or a vegetable with no mental awareness.

Yoshiko, a celebrated biologist and discoverer of the Akazawa resonance effect (important for mu-space travel), practices the warrior's art. The exercise keeps her fit and helps her focus her considerable intellectual skills. The Luculenti, impressed with her, offer the rare opportunity for an upraise to Luculenta status. She sees it as way to trap the man she believes has framed her son for murder, killed one friend, and seriously injured another.

Tetsuo develops from a frightened, overweight, out-of-shape, technical genius into a son worthy of a warrior mother. She faces the choice between vengeance and survival. Does she really want the death she had planned and is there any other way to stop the vicious killer and save her son?

Overall, Meaney delivers a cautionary tale of a future world and augmented humans. Much is taken for granted and not explained, but his world works and his characters come alive. Like other writers, both American and British, he uses Japanese characters, the concept of a warrior culture, and ritual combat to frame a struggle for world or even universal domination.

Episodic in form, Meaney's novel, written in short sections, smacks of MTV and some frantic, quick-cut movie makers, shifting from character to character and place to place. Eventually, the narrative settles a bit. His use of quasi-computer code to indicate actions and sequences involving Skein sometimes distracts from rather than clarifies the action.

Originally published in the U.K. in 1998, this Pyr edition is the first American publication of To Hold Infinity and follows Pyr's publication of his Nulapeiron trilogy, Paradox, Context, and Resolution. Notable science fiction writers on both sides of the Atlantic have praised his writing, and he has been nominated for a variety of prizes and awards. His first science fiction short story appeared in Interzone.

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