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Resonance, by Chris Dolley Book Review | SFReader.com
Resonance, by Chris Dolley Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Baen Published: 2005 Review Posted: 9/21/2006 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10
Resonance, by Chris Dolley
Book Review by Steven Sawicki
Have you read this book?
It's possible that the current fascination the SF field has with Asperger's Syndrome will produce a spate of novels with main characters who have mental illness. I can't say for sure whether or not that had anything to do with Chris Dolley's choice of characters for this book but I find the coincidence interesting. Dolley's two main characters both evidence symptoms of psychiatric dysfunction. Graham Smith is obsessive compulsive and while he manages to get through each and every day relative unscathed there's more going on than the ritual of repetition. Smith also sees things and believes that, when he does not follow ritual, things change. Sometimes it's small things like the way a street name is spelled and sometimes it's big things like who his parents are and whether or not they are alive. Annalise Mercado, the other major protagonist in the novel, heats voices. The voices belong to other Annalise Mercado's who communicate with her about the different worlds they inhabit. There are hundreds, if not thousands of these alternate Annalise's. Finally, when multiples of these voices begin to talk about Graham Smith, the Annalise in the novel's reality, decides it's time to figure things out and so she goes looking.
The novel is more or less split between the stories of Graham and Annalise and how these stories converge and what the convergence means and what it discovered. There are similarities to their lives and these similarities begin to make an odd kind of sense. As Annalise and Graham begin to try to figure out just what is going on they become more deeply involved in a conspiracy involving a major, worldwide corporation and a small sub-set of people who also appear to exist for the alternate Annalise's and in Graham's different versions of his worlds.
Of course, as you have no doubt figured out already, this is an alternate world story but told from a very different perspective. While the other trappings: the evil corporation, the nice, misguided scientists, the clueless public, etc, are pretty standard, it is Graham and Annalise that drive the action. The use of mental illness takes the place of the geekness or the science obsessed individuals that you would expect to find in these character positions. It's an interesting transition, although the plot ends up making their mental illnesses really nothing more than their individual interpretation of reality. Overall, I found the book enjoyable and fast paced. I liked the underlying plot and the device that moved the action. The book was a fairly fast and enjoyable read and I would definitely pick up other books by Dolley in the future.
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