Double Vision, by Tricia Sullivan

Karen Orbach has a job that exploits her psychic powers, requiring her to inhabit the mind of a creature on a faraway planet where humans are trying to tame an alien entity called "the grid". Meanwhile her life outside work is filled with mundane worries about her personal life. Or so it seems.

Tricia Sullivan was recommended by the Guardian, who called this book "terrific", when reviewing its sequel. Well, I think there were some good ideas here, but it didn't really work. Alternate chapters in the book were set on the alien world and the "normal" world, and as the story progressed it started to seem likely that Orbach's description of the grid and the battle against it was in fact some kind of fantasy resulting from a mental illness. By the end of the book the real explanation is ambigious, but since the descriptions of the grid have some of the qualities of a dream it's a bit hard (a) to follow what's going on, and (b) to bother to take it seriously when it might all turn out to be pointless.

While there were sections where grid-narrative did intersect with normal-narrative, towards the end of the book I was just skim reading the grid sections as I couldn't be bothered trying to follow what was going on.

The other one they rated was "Maul", which is a pretty good name for a book I think, so maybe I'd give it a go, but I won't bother with the sequel to this one ("Sound Mind").

Completed : 25-Feb-2007

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