Monday, June 28, 2010

Nexus: Ascension Review in PW!

Boyczuk's grim first novel has no connection to the Mike Rude comic book of the same name, but in typical comic-book fashion, gadgets and scenery trump characterization, and female characters are relegated to emoting, nurturing, and providing sex. Surrounding the typecasting, however, are page-turning thrills aplenty. Centuries-old long-haul spacefarers Sav and Liis arrive at their homeworld of Bh'Haret with two bureaucrats as cargo. The planet broadcasts nothing but plague warnings, but with vital supplies near exhaustion, the four must don space suits and brave the ravaged surface. They depend on one another for survival, but mutual distrust may prove as deadly as the plague. Boyczuk borrows from sources as diverse as Tolkien, Star Wars, and Alan Moore, and integrates the miscellany admirably into a fast-paced plot. The dystopian human dynamics, on the other hand, are the stuff of an epic nihilistic hangover. (Aug.)


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