February Books 4) Lightborn, by Tricia Sullivan

I had already read three out of the five novels on the BSFA shortlist, so have duly equipped myself with the other two. This is a story of a near-future cyberdisaster in California, with all the adults’ brains corrupted by a massive software malfunction and two teenagers caught in the peculiar interactions of the badly damaged society. Neuromancer meets Hurricane Katrina, perhaps.

I previously had tried Sullivan’s Maul, which made the shortlist for both BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke awards a few years back, and wasn’t enthused, completely failing to spot the link between the two story lines until I read someone else’s review months later; Lightborn left me a bit like that too, with densely described incident and characters, but also an abrupt ending which I didn’t understand and lots in the middle which I couldn’t keep track of (I lost my place in it yesterday and found it surprisingly difficult to find again where I had stopped reading). No doubt that is a reflection more on me than on the author, but I don’t think this will be getting my top vote.

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