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String City by Graham Edwards. Book review

February 20, 2019

Book cover for string city. Orange streetscape with many silhouettes of the same man walking down it.

A private eye in a city, where string theory is actually a reality and an inter-dimensional place filled with gods, myths and other mind-bending personalities, is always going to have his work cut out for him. When he is “persuaded’ to investigate an explosion at a local casino, a heist gone wrong takes on a whole new meaning for him, involving ancient Greek Titans, an interdimensional spider god and a mysterious creature known as the Fool. Oh yes, and the obligatory dames in distress.

“String City is where the cosmic strange gets knotted so tight that all the dimensions kind of fold together”. Which describes the place in a nutshell and lets you know you’re in for a bit of a mind-stretching read.

There is so much going on conceptually in this novel in terms of theoretical physics, ancient gods, mythical creatures and heists, not to mention the classic noir narrative complete with down at heel scruffy gumshoe (although this one has a front door with singularity locks). Did I mention the fiendishly complicated plot? In other words, an enormous smorgasbord of concepts rammed together in what could have resulted in nothing more than a pile of pretentious drivel. But String City is enormous fun when you get onboard those strings and don’t let the boundary wolves get you. The dialogue is so Chandleresque slick, you can sense the oil dripping off the castors of the storyline.

Each chapter is packed with “stuff” in this all you can eat buffet of worldbuilding. But they are short, allowing you to take a psychological breather before diving into the next action-packed, mind-bending, concentration-demanding episode.

String City is a highly entertaining story with a great deal of humour (check out the bladderwrack plug-in to the weather scanner), cliff-hangers, twists and great characters (R2D2 and C3PO are so last year compared to The Scrutator), which make you think “Wow that was genius. How can Graham Edwards top that?”, and in the next chapter he does.

Definitely on my to-read again list, not only to pick up all the things I missed the first time, but just because I really enjoyed it.

String City was courtesy of Tachyon Publications via NetGalley.


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