Palimpsest by Charles Stross

As a novella, Palimpsest is densely packed with extraordinary ideas, facts and speculation. It also manages to pack in an absorbing story to wrap all this around.

Charles Stross—PALIMPSEST

At its heart is the story of Pierce, an agent of Stasis, he starts a twenty-year apprenticeship by killing his grandfather and that’s when everything starts to go crazy.

Stasis are in the business of keeping the Earth as a viable home for humans long after it would have died in the aging universe. It is such a complex process that it requires an intensive workforce such as Agent Pierce. With a personal wormhole, he is constantly sent on missions into history to change or reshape events.

As Pierce is living an almost immoral life, it seems unlikely that he can form connections; such is the nature of his existence that when meeting a would-be lover he has to be told the *spoilers* to persuade him of the truth.

Stoss invests huge width and depth, despite the shortness of the page count, and there is plenty to admire and enjoy splashing in the deep end. He manages to convey a great deal of information without making this reader feel too thick. He explains things that are normally the preserve of physicists and mathematicians, letting us see the splendour of the universe.

Woven through the personal this amazing story is powerful and poetic, making us realise how small and finite we really are. Pierce’s sense of self, affected by his time travel, is also part of this journey in which we are allowed glimpses into the heart of the cosmos.

Sue Davies

September 2012

(pub: Subterranean Press. 134 page page deluxe hardback Price: $35.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59606-421-88)

check out website:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.