“The String Conspiracy” by Candace Freilich

It is advertised as Science Fiction, but believe me, it resides in that narrow band where Sci-Fi and Fantasy overlap. The technical wizardry is so powerful and complex it might as well be magic. And there is a danger inherent in this situation. If the characters can come up with magical solutions to every problem, we stop worrying about the dangers, and the suspense suffers.

All the elements in the story:  — action, setting and science —  are well thought out in every detail, but the density of facts slows the writing. The world-building is precise and creative, and the social background is often meaningful.

The science is wonderfully complicated, but this requires constant explanation, which keeps the plot from moving rapidly.

There is a minor problem with a continued switching of point of view between four or five characters. A couple of them are similar to each other in thought process, diction, and attitude, and at times it’s easy to forget whose head we are travelling in. However, the fact that the POV characters are strangers to, and suspicious of each other makes for interesting interpersonal conflict.

The love story is minimal, and it is told rather than shown by the actions of the characters. It’s as if the author and the recipient of the love have the same attitude towards romance; it’s a part of life, but it shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of the important stuff.

This novel is the result of a great deal of loving creativity on the part of the author, but too much time is spent in demonstrating the details, and emotional contact and suspense suffer. If you like your Sci-Fi dense in ideas and jargon and full of hi-tech gadgets, this book is for you.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This book was originally reviewed for booksirens.com. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

About the Author: Gordon Long

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