Spin State by Chris Moriarty

Spin State [3.5/5]
by Chris Moriarty
(Bantam Spectra, September 2003)

After a bungled mission that hints at serious conspiracy in high places, Major Catherine Li (peacekeeper and war hero) is posted back to her home planet to investigate the murder of a construct, famous for having invented quantum teleportation. The politics are complicated; the secrets and motives multiply; and the solution could threaten the balance of power (and economy) in the known galaxy.

Good prose with a confident and assured style/voice. Li makes for an interesting protag, but I must admit that I found the supporting role of Cohen (an emergent AI) the more human of the two of them. When it came to the story, there was a profusion of subplots that diffused the focus of the novel and left me feeling somewhat less involved in the ultimate outcome than I otherwise might have been. This wasn’t helped by the sense that the ending was a bit too tidy (and maybe a little rushed) for my taste. Some of the world-building was not quite as realized as I would have liked — there was an impression of looking at a broad horizon through a very small lens. I was introduced to a variety of concepts but felt like it was barely scraping the surface of what the author actually imagined. Evenso, her science came across as plausible and she seemed to write authoritatively on that side of things. Very much an interesting perspective of memory, quantum travel, and the extrapolation of the future social implications of genetics and artificial intelligence. Overall, a solid debut and an author I’ll likely read again.

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