Today marks the publication of Be My Enemy, the absolutely triumphant sequel to Ian McDonald's pulse-pounding young-adult science fiction novel Planesrunner.
Planesrunner -- a rollicking, multidimensional tale of a young boy who holds the key to infinite universes, seeking to rescue his physicist father from sinister powers -- finished on a brutal cliffhanger, leaving its readers gasping and cursing for more. Now we have it.
In Enemy, there's a lot more of what made Planesrunner great -- tremendous action scenes, cunning escapes, genius attacks on the ways that multidimensional travel might be weaponized, horrific glimpses of shadowy powers and sinister technologies.
But Enemy also has more of what makes McDonald's adult fiction some of the best work I've ever read: a gifted ear for poesie that makes the English language sing, the unapologetic presumption of the reader's ability to understand what's going on without a lot of hand-holding, and a technological mysticism that never explicitly says when the literal stops and the fantasy starts.
In Enemy, Everett, the young hero of Planesrunner, is confronted with multiple versions of himself from different worlds, all facing different versions of his crisis, and some not on his side. McDonald's handling of this is deft, going beyond the good Spock/evil Spock cliches and showing us how two "good" kids could start as multidimensional twins and end as mortal enemies.
If you held off on reading Planesrunner because you didn't want to commit to a series without knowing if the author could keep up the quality, have no fear. McDonald has proven himself handily. And if you read Planesrunner like me and have been slavering for the sequel ever since, rejoice -- the time is at hand!
Here are the first five chapters, courtesy of the kind folks at Pyr!
Be My Enemy
Mark Marcino writes, “Boingers might be interested in this new free 3-week course I’m co-teaching with UnderAcademy College founder Talan Memmott: How to Write and Read Fake News: Journalism in the Age of Trump. It starts Jan. 20, of course.”
dj BC writes, “My best Christmas mashups from the past decade are collected for this year’s Santastic (previously) holiday music sampler. You can also dig on the site for the full albums from past years, our ‘Menorah Mashups’ Chanukah collection, and my chill instrumental album of holiday classical remixes. It’s all free.”
I first started writing about the remarkable Joi Ito in 2002, and over the decade and a half since, I’ve marvelled at his polymath abilities — running international Creative Commons, starting and investing in remarkable tech businesses, getting Timothy Leary’s ashes shot into space, backing Mondo 2000, using a sprawling Warcraft raiding guild to experiment with leadership and team structures, and now, running MIT’s storied Media Lab — and I’ve watched with excitement as he’s distilled his seemingly impossible-to-characterize approach to life in a set of 9 compact principles, which he and Jeff Howe have turned into Whiplash, a voraciously readable, extremely exciting, and eminently sensible book.
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