Gollancz, h/b, 208pp, £9.99
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan
This book, and its predecessor, Legion, were originally published as limited editions by Subterranean Press in the USA, a fact that Gollancz does not acknowledge. This, however, is the first mass market edition and is a good looking, small hardcover novella.
Stephen Leeds, the protagonist is an unusual character in many respects. Outwardly, he is young, eccentric and wealthy. His house has 47 rooms. To most observers, it would seem that they are unoccupied, but to Stephen each one is home to an aspect of his personality. In some ways, he would be regarded as a person with multiple personalities, but it is not a case of him being taken over by them. To him, they exist outside of him with their own characteristics and specialities. What he appears to be doing is accumulating knowledge then hiving it off in to an aspect that holds the information and is able to give it back when he needs it, like the external memory sticks of a computer. Stephen knows that the aspects are extensions of himself but is compelled to treat them as real people even if he is the only one that can see them.
Stephen has gained his wealth by helping solve difficult problems. In this instance, he is asked to recover a body. He is told that it has information in every cell of its DNA. He is also being followed by an assassin. For the task of finding the corpse, Stephen calls an all his aspects, pooling their expertise in a massive brain-storming session before either finding the body, or a way of decrypting the code in its cells.
These books are fun. What makes them enjoyable is the by-play between Stephen’s aspects who act as real people, even though they don’t have existence in the material world.
The only question that arises, is if this, very nice looking hardcover, is worth the money.