That’s not to say that this defiantly unclassifiable novel doesn’t abound with arresting stories. One turns on the murder of an imperial guardsman and such men’s conviction that young women’s bodies constitute “A precious resource … that begs to be mined before it deteriorates.” Another reveals a blood feud among the Longists, an alien specie, that only births 20 or so per decade. And there’s the beauty about the “pitiful, empty poverty” of life in a zoo on the planet Markturum-5.
The stories and storytellers of Seven Beyond draw from a host of Earthly traditions and cultures—the biblical, the mythic, the historic—while Atrium teases out, in prose of sparkling precision and wit, the curious overarching tale of 800 year-old Dr. David Christopher Meenins, on a tour that takes him and his retinue from an ancient monastery to a sheik’s yacht to New York City to the mysteries of “kka” and the Longist resting place of the dead. If that sounds mysterious, well, that’s how Atrium’s “fanciful tale” goes, charting the journeys, relationships, beliefs, and discoveries of these travelers through tales that reflect and challenge our own world and culture.
Takeaway: This bold S.F. travelogue offers stories within stories and mysteries within wonders.
Great for fans of: Sofia Samatar, Ursula K. Le Guin.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B