Libby's Reviews > Up Jim River

Up Jim River by Michael F. Flynn
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Aug 30, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: unforgettable, favorites, sf-hard

Up Jim River continues telling of a future universe Flynn first chronicled in The January Dancer.(If you haven't read The January Dancer, do so---you will not regret it.) In this far future, much of our present world and point of view has been forgotten, swallowed by vast time and space. Flynn's characters play in an heroic Space Opera dominated by the League, a quasi-governmental group whose will is done by the Kennel, whose agents(Hounds and their Pups)are resourceful, relentless, clever, manipulative super-spies; and the Confederacy, ruled by Those of Name, an enigmatic opposition group both ruthless and frightening.
Bridget ban, a Hound, has gone missing and is being sought by her daughter Mearana, a Harper of some distinction. She enlists the unwilling help of the Scarred Man, whose personality has been shattered by mental torture under Those of Name. They and their varied and fascinating henchmen travel the star roads until they reach Dangchao Waypoint, a planet where there is a long and braided river. They are told, "If you go upriver you can find anything or lose everything." This proves to be true on many levels.
Flynn's narrative also contains many levels. His books are wonderful concoctions like layered Viennese tortes of damp rich cake and velvet icing. His action moves through elaborately imagined worlds and cultures, rich with detail and fat with the weight of history. His characters are weighty as well, burdened with past decisions, old emotions and conflicting motives. His books are never easy, but always are worth your time. They are a banquet of many courses inviting his readers to feed their imaginations. They are loaded with cultural allusions both obvious and obscure, but all are amusing.(For example, there is a planet called Boldly Go. Snicker!)
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