Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Coming Attractions | The Echo by James Smythe

In a relatively recent edition of the British Genre Fiction Focus over on Tor.com, inspired as I was by the surprise arrival of Lavie Tidhar's new novel, I discussed how fantastic it can feel — as a blogger whose responsibility it is to be (almost) always on the ball — to be caught off-guard by a book from time to time. By something I just didn't see coming.

Well, I must have been off my game lately, because it happened again last week: I received a review copy of a book I hadn't heard a bit about, but which, now I know it exists, I can hardly restrain myself from reading. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Echo: volume two of The Anomaly Quartet, which I'm given to understand began back in January with The Explorer, "an introspective time travel novel from which you won't be able to look away [that] plays out like Moon meets Groundhog Day."

I bloody loved it, though I wasn't aware it marked the start of something grander.

If the truth be told, the idea of a sequel, even to a favoured fiction, doesn't usually move me, but the mere premise of The Echo excited me immediately:
Twenty years after the disappearance of the infamous Ishiguro — the first manned spacecraft to travel deeper into space than ever before — humanity are setting their sights on the heavens once more. 
Under the direction of two of the most brilliant minds science has ever seen – that of identical twin brothers Tomas and Mirakel Hyv√∂nen — this space craft has a bold mission: to study what is being called ‘the anomaly’ — a vast blackness of space into which the Ishiguro disappeared. Between them Tomas (on the ground, guiding the mission from the command centre) and Mira (on the ship, with the rest of the hand-picked crew) are leaving nothing to chance. 
But soon these two scientists are to learn that there are some things in space beyond our understanding. As the anomaly begins to test the limits of Mira’s comprehension — and his sanity — will Tomas be able to save his brother from being lost in space too?
I've got the a copy of the image adorning the front cover of the proof, too. Here is is next to the stark cover art of The Explorer:

The Echo will be published as a hardback by HarperVoyager on January 16th, whilst the ebook will be made available — for a limited time, I imagine — at the tiny price of £5.99. You can bet your last penny I'll have read and reviewed it well before then.

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