Eric Brown's Binary System was published by Solaris Books in August 2017. Binary System is an omnibus edition of the novellas Binary and System.
Information about Eric Brown:
Eric Brown reviews for the Guardian and has written over fifty books. His latest novels include Jani and the Greater Game, Jani and the Great Pursuit and, with Una McCormack, The Baba Yaga, the third book in the Weird Space series.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Binary System:
SURVIVAL IS ALL IN THE MIND.
A drowned ship. An ice planet. Unknowable aliens. Delia Kemp has had better days.
Stranded, alone and hunted by the insectoid skelt for her scientific knowledge, Delia flees across the undiscovered world of Valinda as its years-long winter comes to an end and its short, blistering summer approaches.
Finding strange new companions - other victims of the Skelt - Delia makes a desperate dash across Valinda's fiery equator, bringing her ever closer to the valley of Mahkanda, where salvation just might be waiting...
A REVIEW OF ERIC BROWN'S BINARY SYSTEM
Eric Brown's Binary System marks an impressive and delightful return to the classic science fiction adventure genre. It's everything that fans of the genre could ever hope for and then some, because the author has created an immersive and surprisingly intelligent story that immediately awakens the reader's interest. It's a simple yet elegant book that will resonate among those who love good old-fashioned sci-fi stories.
Binary System tells of Cordelia 'Delia' Kemp who - after a catastrophic accident and explosion on her spaceship - ends up in a remote, strange and unexplored part of space with only the Imp (the AI) as her companion. Delia finds herself on an ice planet Valinda with unknowable aliens and has to find a way to survive under challenging circumstances.
This book features some of the best characterisation and dialogue you will ever find in science fiction adventure stories. Delia is a well-created and three-dimensional character whose anguish and desperation over being stranded on an alien planet is vividly brought to life by realistic descriptions. Her feelings toward Timothy 'Tim' Green, a xeno-biologist, are explored exceptionally well. She is haunted by what has happened to him, because she was falling in love with him. Delia's interaction with the Imp, the Fahran and the Skelt are also handled well.
The worldbuilding is excellent and immersive, because the author has created a fascinating world and writes well about the planet, its geography and its inhabitants. Valinda is inhabited by the native ape-like Fahran and the crab-like Vo, but has been conquered by the insectoid and hostile Skelt. The Skelt have subjugated the Fahran and the Vo. Valinda has long winters and short, blistering summers - all life on it has adapted to its strange climate.
The exploration of an unknown and strange alien world is what makes this novel superb. The author's vision of a strange world stunningly credible and realistic, but leaves enough room for the reader's imagination to make it even more alluring. The author explores the culture and religion of the Fahran in an engaging way. He fluently writes about what the Fahran believe in and what they do.
This book has many well written scenes and suspenseful moments. Delia's escape from the Skelt is one of the highlights of the story, because she has to put her trust into the brave little Fahran who leads her away from the Skelt. I was positively surprised by this suspenseful scene, because it featured good storytelling.
Eric Brown's straightforward and elegantly flowing prose fits the story perfectly, and he effortlessly evokes a sense of excitement and discovery. He creates a fresh and enticing story by writing about how Delia feels about her situation and how she survives on Valinda.
In my opinion, it's possible to say that in this novel, Eric Brown channels certain elements from classic science fiction stories and H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy through the imagination exhibited by such authors as Frederik Pohl and Poul Anderson. When I began to read this book, I was instantly taken by its old-fashioned elements, because I've missed this kind of science fiction.
Eric Brown's Binary System is a deeply immersive and highly enjoyable science fiction adventure that can be seen as a tribute to old-fashioned sci-fi adventure stories, the likes of which used to be popular a few decades ago, but have now become almost extinct. It's a delightful gem of a book with plenty of adventure.
Excellent and charmingly old-fashioned science fiction entertainment!