Often when I read science fiction I tend to read the classics like, H.G.Wells, or Arthur C. Clarke. There is something about their style and storytelling that I find enduring and even attractive. Many modern writers have too much street talk for my tastes. I prefer thing to be written in full, not a collection of abbreviations.
There are, however, two recent authors whose work I have read and loved. They are O.C. Heaton with his Human Race and Ernest Cline’s fantastic geek porn Ready Player One. I can now add a third to that list of modern, readable, very enjoyable story tellers that just keep the pages turning.
Before I started this book, I had been reading The Song of Ice and Fire. There was, needless to say, a huge gulf in both content and style. It took me a couple of pages to adapt to the style, but that was no fault of the author. This book is worth its asking price.
Here, we have a story about the discovery of the place where all life began: The Zone. A place where all you need is imagination to bring your creations into being, albeit temporarily. The CIA are searching for a man known only as C.C. Go, who has written a fabled book called The Travelers Companion. Which is essentially a hedonists guide to the world. A book that lists every debaucherous den of depravity imaginable. The only thing is, they’ve never actually seen the man nor read his book. That is, until, he turns up unannounced in the Director’s office at Langley.
The CIA decides to unleash their latest weapon against terror: Angela, a highly sophisticated android designed to extract information through desire. And so the chase begins. I do not want to go any further into the plot as it will spoil the story no end. It is tight well woven plot with many satisfying moments and a superb, poignant, ending.
The Travelers Companion pulls the reader through the pages. The lead characters never follow set behaviours or predetermined paths. Each of them has to battle with their emotions and an ever growing sense of megalomania. The Zone is far from safe, but its creator is insistent upon going public in the next morning and everyone will get the Zone for free.
John Chater has crafted a credible tale with plenty of real science upon which he builds his creation. It is a book that I would happily have paid for had it been recommended to me.
A worthy 4 out of 5 stars.
To get your copy of The Traveler’s Companion please check out the following Amazon links: