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Something Coming Through

Paul McAuley

Average Review Rating Average Rating 6/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Gollancz

Published : 2015

Copyright : Paul McAuley 2015

ISBN-10 : HB 1-4732-0393-7
ISBN-13 : HB 978-1-4732-0393-8

Publisher's Write-Up

The aliens are here. And they want to help. The extraordinary new project from one of the country's most acclaimed and consistently brilliant SF novelists of the last 30 years.

The Jackaroo have given humanity fifteen worlds and the means to reach them. They're a chance to start over, but they're also littered with ruins and artefacts left by the Jackaroo's previous clients.

Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could forever alter humanity - or even destroy it.

Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.

And on one of the Jackaroo's gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.

Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe's orphans, and Vic Gayle's murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo's benevolence...

'Something Coming Through is as tight and relentlessly paced as an Elmore Leonard thriller, and full of McAuley's customary sharp eye for dialogue and action. What's really impressive, though, is that it achieves a seamless fusion of the day-after-tomorrow SF novel - it's as interested in gritty Earthbound near-futurism as William Gibson or Lauren Beukes - with the cosmological themes of McAuley's galaxy-spanning space operas. It's the freshest take on first contact and interstellar exploration in many years, and almost feels like the seed for an entire new subgenre.'

Alistair Reynolds

'McAuley's latest is smart, it's challenging, and as an exploration of the social consequences of sudden science fictional change, it's very impressive indeed.'


'The action, slow to get going, builds to a dramatic climax of chases and shoot-outs. Crime-tinged SF at its canniest.'

The Financial Times
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Ben Macnair (300416) Rating (6/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Rating 6/10
This is one of those novels that starts with big ideas, and a number of characters, but starts things on the small scale, and grows bigger. In a future world, an alien race gifts humans with 15 extra worlds, which between them could contain information to cure all known diseases, the keys to ending all wars, and immortality, but they could also contain more horrors than we have experienced in our history.

Of course, 15 new worlds bring with them a lot more paper-work, and in London Chloe Miller is in charge of the admin. She maps the changes that the alien worlds brings with them, scraps of alien technology that could change the agenda of the smallest of groups, potentially making global terrorism even more of a threat. She stumbles across two small children, who have seen more than their youth would suggest, orphans from another world, but the authorities believe that they are bringers of a new kind of danger.

At the same time, on a separate world, an earth man is killed, and Vic Gayle, during his police investigation stumbles on a turf war between two gangs.

This is a novel that blends philosophy with gritty crime and believable Science Fiction.

Although first seen as a gift, the fifteen planets are also, like the internet, something of a curse, if used for the wrong reasons, and the basest of human desires, greed, one-upmanship, and indifference soon becomes apparent, both to Chloe, and the many characters that build the novel.

In creating fifteen, distinct worlds, and also building a number of different genre conceits into the novel, McAuley has set himself a daunting task, which he largely fulfils. The characters are all appealing, and believable, whilst Chloe Miller, as the heart of the story is strong enough to see things through to the end.

This is a book that would appeal to a number of genre readers of Science Fiction, and Crime, whilst the many philosophical points that McAuley raises are well integrated into the story as a whole.
Ben Macnair (30th April 2016)

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