Elizabeth Bear
Undertow Cover



I struggled to get through the first half of this book just through lack of time and through tiredness, and then I raced through the second half in less than a day. I don't think there was really very much difference between the two halves - the difference was all in me - so I don't know how balanced my assessment is going to be.

Superficially, Undertow is a tale of corporate exploitation of an alien world, and the people and aliens who oppose that, and on this level alone it's a decent enough book, full of incident, with complex characters, shifting alliances and secrets. On top of that, there is an extra layer of SF weirdness, involving quantum entanglement and the deliberate manipulation of chance. Of course the two things are related, and there's some fun speculation here.

I thought Undertow was a solid, almost old-fashioned, bit of standalone planetary SF, and I enjoyed it when I finally managed to get myself to read it. I've given it 3.5/5.