Edge Of Dark (The Glittering Edge book 1) by Brenda Cooper (book review)

March 3, 2015 | By | Reply More

The Next might be the next stage of evolution. Sometimes referred to as the Ice Pirates, the Next were once a human creation, near autonomous robots that were banished to darkest edge of the solar system. Instead of guttering without light, the Next thrived. Now they’re turning back toward the sun.

Edge of Dark (The Glittering, #1) by Brenda Cooper (book review)

Edge of Dark (The Glittering, #1) by Brenda Cooper (book review)

Some of them appear human, but they’re not. Their bodies are sexless constructs that don’t require sustenance of any sort. They don’t eat and they don’t breathe. They don’t sicken and they do not die. They’re stronger and faster, in all ways. But are they still individual beings? Are they what was once human or are they something else entirely? The fact that they don’t actually require a body to exist or may insert a copy of themselves into any construct that suits tends to weigh the argument on the side of ‘something else’.

 ‘Edge Of Dark’ by Brenda Cooper explores this argument. Set up as a novel of Science Fiction adventure, the story introduces us to three characters. Charlie is a ranger. Based on Lym, his job is to care for the planet’s carefully cultivated return to the wild. Lym is essentially a planetary nature reserve and stands as a lesson of what happens when nature isn’t respected and cared for. Nona hails from humanity’s other greatest achievement, Diamond Deep Station. She has the resources to buy Charlie’s dreams ten times over. Chrystal is a scientist. With her family of four, she embodies the big question when the Next capture her remote station and subsume the remaining population.

Chrystal and her family are turned into these oddly human robots and through their struggle to accept their fate, we learn what the Next are and what they want. Nona and Charlie make up a part of the team who go to meet the Next to negotiate. The action isn’t as cut and dried as all that, however. Charlie’s agenda is clear from the start. Lym is the most important human resource. Chrystal is now a robot and though she recognises the advantages, she misses being human. Nona is a little less defined.

It’s Nona’s lack of absolute purpose and drive that really slows this novel down, which is a shame as it’s an exciting set up and the concepts laid out to explore are fascinating. The reader is forced to grow at Nona’s pace, however. This leaves the other characters doing little to nothing for nearly a third of the book. Cooper could have started with Part II and we wouldn’t have missed much. Her characters are engaging and the time spent exploring their various habitats before the plot really kicked off is pleasant, but it’s not necessary. Pacing problems continue to dog the action in subsequent parts. My attention wandered often and, at times, I was tempted to simply skip forward and see how it all ended up.

The concepts and questions are fascinating and when the action ramps up, the book works. The exploration of transhumanism is the big draw, however. While I longed the story to pick up and start running, I can’t say that I completely regretted the time exploring Chrystal’s new state of being. I also enjoyed the gentle commentary on sexuality and the idea that not all marriages were made between just two people.

Edge Of Dark’ is the first book of a duology. I was unable to find any information regarding the second book, but there is definitely enough story to continue on with.

Kelly Jensen

March 2015

(pub: Pyr/Prometheus Books. 401 page small enlarged paperback. Price: $18.00 (US), $19.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-63388-054-4. Ebook: Price: $11.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-63888-051-1)

check out websites: www.pyrsf.com and www.brenda-cooper.com/

Category: Books, MEDIA, Scifi

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