Neil Mach's Reviews > Illuminae

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

it was amazing

Graphics in novels are not new — explanatory deviations, little illustrations, and other non-linear devices were used to add contextual colour to stories during the Age of Enlightenment.

Illuminae 'feels' fresh because it's set within the space opera genre and makes use of photocopied documents, censored emails and transcripts of interviews as well as other graphics...

My persistent and enduring thought, while reading this [ “to read” might be too strong a verb? Maybe one “absorbs” a work like this] is this — it's set in 2575 so why, why, why in the age of futuristic weaponry and sophisticated technologies — do they still have emails, written duty-statements and call-logs?

It's as if Kady and Ezra and all the other peoples who populate these “worlds” [actually they live aboard ships for the most part] are throw-backs to a time and place that even us back here in 2017 have travelled way beyond.

I realize that interplanetary science fiction romances are basically old-style Westerns set in rickety science futures where clans clash and boys meet girls... but in Illuminae there is hardly any attempt to manufacture science wonder...

That said, it is a very realistic tale that parallels current events [gas attacks in the Syrian Civil War, for example] and the quick-fire and often funny text, delivered for pure entertainment, reminded me of the works of Harry Harrison.

The sentient A.I. was reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's HAL 9000 in that it is totally reliable and yet can never be fully trusted. And other add-on characters are just a bunch of Starship Troopers or drop-outs from Battlestar Galactica.

So innovative it ain't... But lack of originality aside, this is still an epic work.

It's a novel that embraces those heroic conventions we love so much... in other words it's a treasure chest of old-style adventuring, and absorbs other genres as it goes, such as film noir, whilst it spits out gangster jargon and retro space-chat. And in that respect it is more like something done by Jim Steranko... but for Generation Z readers.

You'd almost expect this to be an obscure fan publication but it's not. In fact I'd even go so far as saying that it feels decentered and futuristic [which it's not] and that's because it is so well executed.

So it's not modernist or revolutionary? No, not at all. It's simply a riveting yarn delivered in an easily chewable format and as retro as retro could be.

I loved it. I pawed and re-thumbed every single page. And want to read it all over again...
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Illuminae.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

December 12, 2016 – Shelved
December 12, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 26, 2017 – Started Reading
January 26, 2017 –
page 203
33.89% "Fascinating"
March 28, 2017 –
page 309
51.59% "Savouring every nuance..."
May 10, 2017 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.