The Space Between by Scott J Robinson
I started reviewing books hoping to find the next great sci-fi novel written by an undiscovered writer who would go on to be the next Peter F. Hamilton or maybe even…Isaac Asimov…*sighs, looking into the distance*.
Unfortunately what you do find is a lot of weekend writers churning out derivative stories that always seem to end with “and it turned out she was a robot”. If it’s sci-fi it’s always lasers, if its fantasy it’s always dwarfs and elves with names like Thuyl’erngorn, son of R’dirnegt.
So I started reading The Space Between with the same trepidation. And I have to say the more I read, the more I loved it. The characters, the pacing, the writing, the plot, it was all so good. Where a lot of the sci-fi I have read and reviewed recently follow a very linear plot, following a specific formula, The Space Between felt fresh and new.
The story is set in the multiverse of Ananake and draws on myths and legends of ancient Earth, weaving a tale that moves from Sherwood Forest to distant worlds and outer space. It involves, amongst other things, magical gateways, Area 51, sentient spacecraft, a 50 thousand year old intergalactic war, elves and dwarves, wonder bras, Machu Picchu and strong coffee.
Kim thinks her day is going badly when her friend fails to meet her at Sherwood Forest. Then an annoying knight hits on her and she is stalked by an elf and a dwarf. But then the aliens attack and things really start to go downhill. Collecting strange companions along the way she finds herself in a race to stop the war with the aliens before things really get out of control.
It is a great mix between Earth mythology and science fiction and it manages to feel believable and magical at the same time, which is combination that sucks you into the story. He takes the familiar (Area 51 for example), colours it in his own way and expertly weaves it all into a page turning story.
There are elements which will be familiar to all fantasy and sci-fi fans; the grumpy dwarf and aloof elf. It’s just when we think we have these characters figured out that we see that we were wrong all along, and though where Scott takes us is completely different to what we have read before, it feels familiar and right.
I won’t say that it’s all positive though, very few books are (apart from Dune and anything by Wyndham). There are some parts where you have to suspend your disbelief in the plot to enjoy the story, but the raw talent is there for the right publisher and editor.
It may be me, it may be that this is just the kind of book I love, but I believe that this has something for every Sci-fi fan whilst managing to create a niche of it’s own.
I’ve spoken to Scott and he said that book 2 will be available in a few months and will be made available to people who donate through his website here: http://scottjrobinson.com/. I for one can’t wait for the next instalment.
A very strong 4.5/5 for The Space Between.