Terra Ignota – Ada Palmer

All covers by Victor Mosquera

Cover artist

The Terra Ignota universe is the brainchild of history Professor, Ada Palmer. “Too like the Lightning” is her first novel – and it is amazing.

We are in the 25th century. We are on Earth – but an earth, where society is vastly different from today.

If you commit a crime, you are not put in prison, but are required to walk the world and be as helpful to all, as you possibly can. Mycroft Canner committed a crime – and he is forced to tell us all about it in the Terra Ignota books.

The questions raised in the first book are mostly answered in the second.

We are told of an earth, that is close to a human Utopia. A society that is built upon history and old philosophers. We are told of this in a fascinating way incorporating what SF is really about – sense of wonder and what if….

So far this series is superior SF and should be read by any SF fan.

Terra Ignota

  1. Too Like the Lightning
  2. Seven Surrenders
  3. The Will to Battle

Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer

Victor Mosquera

Cover artist

The wait is over, and I have read “Seven Surrenders”, which left me totally flabbergasted.

If “Too like the Lightning” was full of questions – “Seven Surrenders” was full of answers. So even, when it turns out, there is a third book (“The Will to Battle”) coming out in December, you have not been left hanging.

We get a lot of answers about, why Mycroft Canner acted as he did, what he did and also what the seven leaders of the great hives did – and why. This is where I think the book is on the verge of giving us so much information, that it slows things down a bit too much.

But, that is a minor complaint. When one ghastly thing has just been revealed, the next one pops up, and the next one, and…..

Your head is in a whirl, as you try to keep track of the whats and whys. Your reading speed is kind of slow so as not to miss anything – but you cannot help to be amazed of the amount of information you are offered, and the way the author keeps it all together.

The story is glued together with references to history and old philosophers. Unfortunately I am sure, that I miss a lot of these references, as I don’t know all that much about either history or philosophers. I know names and such, but alas, not alway what they stand for.

However, don’t let that keep you from reading. You can miss a lot of references and still feel the fascination of this book and the universe the author has put together.

The “Terra Ignota” universe of these books is, what SF is all about. Most of all these books tell you about a Utopia, that humankind wants – but are they ready for it?

I, for one, know which book I am going to read come December.


Too like the Lightning – Ada Palmer

Victor Mosquera

Cover artist

Ada Palmer’s “Too like the Lightning” is one of the best SF novels of the year.

It builds on history and philosophy, but creates a new world entirely its own. It poses questions, that makes you think. It does, what SF does best – introduces new ideas based on the basic SF question “What if…..”.

Mycroft Canner committed a horrible crime. Getting to know him as a kind and gentle person you wonder, what he could have done. You are finally told, and cannot believe it. Why did he do it?

For the answer to that you have to wait for book two (“Seven Surrenders”) that will be out in February 2017. Book one ends abruptly stating: “Here ends the first half of Mycroft Canner’s History”.

“Too like the Lightning” is Ada Palmer’s first SF book – and it is fascinating. It is not a fast read, there is too much information crammed into its pages for that. But oh, you are richly awarded for the time it takes to read it.

The book contains so much of what makes SF brilliant and special. It was much hyped by other authors before publication, but it lives up to every praise and even exceeds it. The only reason it may not take some of the major prices in the field is the fact, that it is only the first half of a story.

I cannot wait for February.