There is just something so awesome about space opera, and about trilogies and about the intricate worldbuilding they inherently contain that pushes my buttons. It might well be the Balkans in me, viewing worlds built from words falling apart and feeling them being stitched back again. Or maybe I just really like books I can get lost in. And the Machineries of Empire are certainly worthy of getting lost in.
Yet, despite this, I do not know whether I totally love Revenant Gun or… not. Calendrical warfare is so cool. The characters are great, and I feel them. They kept on living in my mind long after I finished the book, and some scenes of the novel get played out over and over again. I am still processing it and it has made it difficult for me to write about the book because of it.
My own insecurities about memory, memory loss and aging have been making themselves felt more often lately; they intensify every time I try to pick a thread to stick to when thinking through this book and this trilogy. And all I want to do is go be by myself for a while so I can re-read it, in one go, like I used to devour books. The irony of it is not lost on me.
It occurs to me that the fact that I am having such an intense, complicated and not easily articulated reaction to this book and this world is a recommendation in its own right. It took me years of conversations with myself to find out why exactly Dune and The Stress of Her Regard touched me so, and why Ursula K. Le Guin seemed so brilliant some days and so much beyond my grasp or mood on others. I am a mood reader; I will love whatever best suits my current mood. This is why I can read 20 books at the same time and never miss a beat.
Revenant Gun evokes a mood I have been missing, and pings just enough where it should ping – sentient robots, epic scope, personal twists of morality, abuse, social change, wisdom and motivation through the ages. All packed up into a story, into words that echo with me and with the books I have read years before. I think I might love it after all. Or rather, I think I might go read it again.