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Evergence: The Prodigal Sun
Sean Williams and Shane Dix
Ace Books, 393 pages

Evergence: The Prodigal Sun
Sean Williams
Sean Williams was born in Whyalla, South Australia, in 1967. He has been writing full-time since 1990. His short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Aboriginal SF and Eidolon as well as anthologies such as Alien Shores, Intimate Armageddons, The Oxford Book of Australian Ghost Stories, The Year's Best Australian SF & Fantasy 1996 and Terror Australis. His first collaboration with Simon Brown, "The Masque of Agamemnon," was selected to appear in The Year's Best Science Fiction: 15th Annual CollectionMetal Fatigue is the winner of the Aurealis award for best science fiction novel.

Sean Williams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Metal Fatigue
SF Site Review: A View Before Dying

Shane Dix
Shane Dix says there have been 4 defining moments in my writing career:
'At 12, I read Heinlein's short story, "By His Bootstraps", and immediately became obsessed with tales of time travel and thus science fiction; at 15, I was encouraged to write short stories by my English school teacher, at 21, I read Delany's Dhalgren and realised that this was the type of fiction writing I wanted to aspire to and at 30, I met Sean Williams...'

'At 40, I no longer focus solely upon science fiction as I did through my teen years. I still write, though have recognised the need to concentrate on novel writing now as opposed to short stories. I still dream of one day penning a Delany-esque type book, but as the years tick by this seems increasingly unlikely to ever eventuate. And, despite the beard, long hair and considerably different writing styles, I am still, on occasion, mistaken for Sean...'

'For the not too distant future I have a number of writing projects lined up, including a science fiction novel, a horror novel and a mainstream novel, as well as a children's book and a recipe book. But if none of these projects get to see the light of day, it doesn't matter. I will continue to write regardless, because, to quote Delany, I have an "exhausting habit of trying to tack up the slack in my life with words."'

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

It has been five years since Williams and Dix collaborated on the military SF novel The Unknown Soldier, but they are back! Prepare to embark on a new series in a universe far removed in time and space from us lowly Humans here on Earth. The trilogy of Evergence begins with The Prodigal Sun and a voyage into danger.

Commander Morgan Roche is a woman on a mission: deliver a new breed of AI to the Commonwealth of Empires' (COE) headquarters. It sounds like a routine, even boring, mission until the frigate Midnight is attacked by enemy ships of the Dato Bloc. Roche's only hope is to escape to the surface of the inhospitable Sciacca's World, a penal colony. Even if she and her passengers survive the attempt, they will still not be safe from their attackers.

"Box," the AI that Roche is attached to, is more important than she thought. In fact, it's important enough to kill for. Or go to war.

Aiding her in her escape is the mysterious Adoni Cane, a man without a past. His loyalty is with Roche now, but his true motives are as unknown as his origins. In a time when a being's caste is all-important, it is impossible to completely trust a man who appears to belong to none. And, on a prison planet, who can you rely on?

The Prodigal Sun is a story that twists and turns back on itself and keeps the reader always off-balance. There is danger, adventure, and a labyrinth of loyalties. But despite the constant threat of capture and death, The Prodigal Sun takes on an altogether lighter tone than Williams' superb Metal Fatigue. The input of Box and the variety of unusual characters surrounding Roche give The Prodigal Sun a strong undercurrent of humour and more of a space opera "feel." If some of the emotional impact of the grim Metal Fatigue is lacking, it is only to make room for a more droll atmosphere.

Williams and Dix have done an excellent job of setting the stage for the remaining two volumes in the series. It is a situation wide-open to further adventures and deeper exploration of the characters along for the ride. A number of questions remain at the close of The Prodigal Sun, but the answers seem well within reach of Roche and her band.

A couple of pointers: there is an appendix (including a timeline) at the back of the book. The information is very helpful to understanding the universe Williams and Dix have created. Also, there is a glossary of terms that can be invaluable when a detail has slipped by the reader. You may wish to read through this material before beginning the book, but be careful! The appendix begins immediately after the narrative; don't let your eyes stray and spoil the ending for you.

You are off on an adventure and you don't want to ruin the surprises ahead.

Copyright © 2000 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, will be published in early 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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