Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Bend in the Sky, by D.S. Morgan

The Bend in the Sky, by D.S. Morgan

Odd. The Bend in the Sky tells several parallel stories that—of course—converge at the end. The conceit here is that there are many, many dimensions and they are informally ranked with each higher level possessing a higher form of consciousness and advancement. Each of the parallel narratives begins on a different one of these levels, and each level seems stranger than the last. One told of a truly alien rock concert, one of a schizophrenic tyrant wanting to destroy other dimensions, a world where living vehicles are raced and battle, and towards the bottom of the hierarchy, Earth. Morgan uses odd language to impart the alienness of the various worlds to great effect, although this same oddness made the book often difficult to follow. "The alert that Shloomger had set was playing his improvised version of 'The Crescent Dustcloud of Cludnarp' from a point somewhere in the small screen-space that K*rargxtko allowed security staff of his grade."

There is a fair bit of humor here, but I felt most of the book was a setup for the last joke:

"Yes, I heard people on Earth, did get an offer [of upgrading to immortality]."
"Where from?"
Ora pointed upwards silently for a moment, then looked at her boss straight in the eyes. "From The Top Of The Very Top Level, and I'm not talking about the outfit we work for here."
"You mean...?"
"Yup. And I heard that the One who took the offer down to them got treated appallingly, and executed, as if He was some kind of criminal."
Proyn looked at her in amazement. "What happened then?"
"He came alive again, said goodbye, and went back home."
"And is the offer still open?"
"I heard it is."
While God-is-an-alien isn't exactly new ground for a science-fiction novel, I still found this amusing. Overall this was almost too weird to be enjoyable, but once the first quarter or so passes and some of the separate threads start to coalesce it becomes much more interesting. Hard to truly recommend, but if you are looking for something different this will certainly fit the bill.

First Sentence:
Scents jostled in the warm night, like the creatures moving among them, billions of beings in wild shapes and shades, groping, crashing past — or through — one another.

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