The lady of the shop said she had some new books from an author who lived in nearby Brixham, a port known for it’s grizzly fishermen and hardcore twitchers. Not exactly science fiction central. I read the blurb and thought for a few moments. It was half price at £4, much more than I intended to pay but half price. Should I take a gamble and risk the 4 quid, or leave it and try somewhere else? Time was short so I gambled.
Miles Goram’s brief was to write a hotel review on a distant planet, Reevis. However soon after arrival he finds himself at the centre of a murder mystery as the man he has planned to meet is dead in his bathroom. The story centres on Miles attempts to find out what has happened and getting the review written. In so doing he explores the planet. The author, Richard Dee, paints a convincing picture of Ribbonworld which shares something in common with Radole, an Isaac Asimov construction if memory serves me in ‘Foundation and Empire’. A world of 2 halves. One side always facing the sun and one away. So one side is ice and the other fire. This leaves a ribbon of barely inhabitable land around it’s longitudinal axis. This is where the action takes place. Ribbonworld has been built by a large corporation, Balcom. It seems they may be implicated in the murder. The action rolls along at a pace with twists and turns along the way which keep the reader engaged and needing to know how it turns out. I found myself empathising with the wronged man, Miles Goram as he sought to find out the truth and put his own demons to bed.
I have to say I really enjoyed this romp around Reevis. The planet is well realised, the characters believable, and the story would sit well in the crime section of the bookshop. The book has to some extent restored my faith in Science Fiction being a more accessible read than the aforementioned award winners. It is also relatively short which suits my busy lifestyle as I do not get a lot of time to read. I would certainly recommend it and will be looking out for more Richard Dee.
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