Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Title:Double Vision
Author: Tricia Sullivan
Publisher: Orbit

It is 1984 and Cookie works for a secret agency. She is psychic, like her mother, she has helped the police and is now helping on an alien planet. At least that’s what she believes. The Grid is a morphing mutating structure, which fights a constant battle against the human troops who land there. It takes the bodies of the dead, reanimates them zombie style, and throws them back at the humans. Because of the male tendency to kill too easily, the troops are now all women, and once the next wave is in place, the troops will be all machines. Gossamer is a flyer, an alien creature, part of the grid, which has been reengineered to allow Cookie to fly it and gather information for the troops. Between shifts Cookie reads fantasy novels and practices martial arts with dedication - determined to lose weight in the process.

Things keeping getting worse for the soldiers in the war against the Grid. The whole thing has started affecting Cookie, she has stopped eating, fears that she might be going mad. And all her bosses are interested is the product lists the soldiers talked about.

Tricia Sullivan's novel Double Vision switches back and forth between its double narratives, though quite where it is going in the process isn't something I felt particularly clear on. For me Double Vision feels muddy and not very engaging. I just couldn't get into the characters or the setting. Having been pointed towards the hispter erotica website about the time I was reading Double Vision, I couldn't help but see parallels - the constant cultural references felt like they reached saturation. There is a pop culture here, which might mean something to an American of a certain age, but meant nothing to me - the music, the books, the food - all kind of alien.

Double Vision is the fourth novel by Sullivan that I have read - following on from Maul, Dreaming In Smoke and Someone to Watch Over Me. All of which I enjoyed a lot. So I was pretty disappointed to find that I just didn't get into Double Vision. Fortunately I still have the earlier novel Lethe in my "to read" pile, and I hope that it will do more for me.

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