First up a big thanks to Graeme for sending this on to me after he had finished it a while back. His review was great and made Implied Spaces the exact sort of thing I thought I would enjoy – it didn’t disappoint! Although it’s taken me a while to get around to, I couldn’t be more thankful to Graeme for passing it my way!
With the assistance of eleven AI’s that work with humanity the technology to create wormholes has bought about a time of peace and enjoyment for everyone. Although the wormholes can’t be used for interstellar transport, they can be used to create pocket universes, places where everything is designed and built to suit a purpose. It is in these pocket universes that the Implied Spaces are found, the spaces between chosen landmarks or features that have not been designed but exist because they have to.
Aristide is a scholar of the Implied Spaces, travelling from pocket universe to pocket universe with his faithful cat Bitsy (an avatar of the planet-sized AI Endora) to see what lies outside of the known. It is while travelling on Midgarth searching out these implied spaces that a discovery is found – powerful beings are working to abduct and turn those that they catch. Aristide is curious of these and sets off to discover the mystery. What he discovers is a plot by an unknown party to turn humanity against itself and unite to complete their chosen goal.
From here things go from bad to worse. With the secret now discovered Aristide lets his curiosity get the better of him and he starts to delve deeper into the mystery. Travelling to another pocket universe to investigate the disappearances (and reappearances) of people in positions of power he stumbles across an even more sinister plot: the creation of unauthorised pod people that are controlled by this unknown party. As the realisation hits of what this means for society – an invasion and contagion the likes of which hasn’t been seen for centuries – Aristide must work out who he can trust to help start solving the problem.
I really enjoyed Implied Spaces and what I’ve described above barely even scratches the surface of what you’ll find in the surprisingly short novel. The ideas that are at times casually thrown around here would give a lesser writer years worth of material. I guess this is what Implied Spaces excels at – a gripping story filled with high-scientific ideas that are delivered in a fun and enjoyable way. We have a wormhole-edged sword, multiple pocket universes, eternal life, complete genetic freedom for the characters to create themselves in any way they see fit, zombie plagues, pod people, wormhole flamethrower weapons, and many many more things that I won’t even try to go into here. All of these make Implied Spaces fun, but serious at the same time. This shows only too well what can happen in a society where almost anything is possible and their technology is turned against them in a surprising and pre-emptive way. Truly great stuff.
I don’t have any real issues as such with the book. It goes along at a steady pace for pretty much the entire story. There are some parts where I felt it was a little slower, but these were usually the scene setting or build up sections and were all done remarkably well. There was no info-dumping and considering the technology and story I was impressed with how Walter Jon Williams manages to keep a nice balance throughout.
Although I read the book over a period of nearly a week I think it would benefit from reading it during a few long sessions rather than a lot of smaller ones. Implied Spaces is a great story that has me wondering whether or not to start checking out some of the older novels by Williams.