Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Review: The Outside by Ada Hoffman

Title: The Outside
Author: Ada Hoffmann
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780857668141
Publisher: Angry Robot
Published: 11 June 2019
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Purchased

Buy it from:
Angry Robot

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world inside out.

The Outside melds cosmic horror and space opera resulting in a mind-bending story in which the very boundaries of reality become malleable. In a universe ruled over by AI gods post-human angels act as their avatars to guard against heresy and the encroachment of chaos. When autistic scientist Yashira Shien powers up her experimental energy source the very fabric of reality warps and her world changes forever.

This promised to have all the elements I normally adore, but about midway through I felt my attention wavering. While I enjoyed the story and Yashira’s journey to uncover the truth, the world just did not feel fleshed out enough for me to really care that deeply about what happens to it. The narrative became repetitive and left the elements that I found the most compelling largely unexplored.

While this didn’t quite work for me, The Outside is still a refreshingly surreal read with one of the best portrayals of a neurodiverse character I’ve read. It’s definitely worth checking out. Just be prepared for things to get weird...

The Rating: 6/10 (Good)

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