Invisible Sun

, #3

eBook, 400 pages

English language

Published Sept. 29, 2021 by Pan McMillan.

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3 stars (1 review)

Two twinned worlds are waiting for war …

America is caught in a deadly arms race with the USA, its high-tech, parallel world. Yet it might just self-combust first. For its president-equivalent has died, leaving a crippling power vacuum. Without the First Man’s support, Miriam Bernstein faces a paranoid government opponent. He suspects her of scheming to resurrect the American monarchy. And Miriam is indeed helping the exiled American princess. This is only to prevent her being used against them, but her rivals will twist anything to ruin her.

However, all factions will face a disaster bigger than anything they could imagine. In their drive to explore other timelines, hi-tech America has awakened an alien threat. This force destroyed humanity on one version of earth – and if they don’t take action, it will do the same to both of their timelines.

1 edition

reviewed Invisible Sun by Charles Stross (Empire Games, #3)

Sometimes, taking your premise and running with it is all that is needed

3 stars

Stross’ Merchant Princes series, of which the Empire Games trilogy this concludes is a part, is a poster child for this principle: assuming there are parallel Earth timelines in which development of society (and life, at times) wildly varies, what happens when one technologically less advanced line discovers it can travel to a more advanced one? Start with a knight armed with a submachine gun attacking your hapless protagonist, and take it from there until you arrive at transtemporal nuclear powered space battleships parked on the ISS’ lawn.

If you think this sounds like a silly, incoherent mess, you can be forgiven: in the hands of a lesser author, it easily might have been. What saves Stross are his well rounded characters and an ironclad grasp of what plotting individual arcs along the basic workings of society and history means. Add complex, richly textured world building, a healthy dose of …