Neptune's Brood Rothdas book review RSS
3.0 Stars

A rather odd little sci-fi novel. In some ways it is constantly imaginative, as it describes the various ways that mechanical life has adapted to the different niches of the universe. You never meet just a "person", instead they will be a deep-sea adapted mermaid form and her cloned and regularly mind-merged sisters, or a mechanocyte priestess who can reprogram mechanical flesh, or an almost group-mind squid variant that communicates with its pod mates via chromatophores, etc. etc. Basically each character and environment is its own fleshy, squishy, mutable thing, like they all have a bit of, well, The Thing in them. The book is not really great science and doesn't have any really new ideas (i.e. most of these character are just animals plus sci-fi dust), but it is enjoyable. I feel like it would make a really good splat book for Eclipse Phase or some other trans-human RPG.

Then you have the plot, which in many places is as dry and shaky as the physical details are wet and meaty. The main character is an interstellar accountant, and the main plot is about unravelling a centuries old financial mystery. The general formula is that the protagonist is propelled from from place to place, and then observes new things at the new place. I'd estimate that half the scene changes take place because the protagonist is kidnapped or dragged by guards. It reminds me a bit of David Brin, and how when he couldn't think of a segue he would just have the PoV character knocked out and then wake up in a new place. The actual psychological models of the characters are very thin, and the main character has very little agency. The central mystery and plot are a bit ludicrous, and then a lot ludicrous by the end of the book.

Anyway, this wasn't my favorite novel, but it is at least unusual, and I enjoyed the various cheerful oddities that it describes.