Keeping It Real by Justina Robson
Posted by Zumbs on September 8, 2012
A few years into the future, an accident in the Superconducting Supercollider rips a hole between 7 realms, reshaping our reality in the process (fun, almost prescient, variation on the LHC black hole scare a few years after the book was published). Realms of demons, elves, faeries, magic and even weirder creatures become accessible – or were they created by the event? In the years that followed, humanity began to interact with the new creatures and mystical forces, trying to find its footing.
Our story starts in 2021, 6 years after the accident. The diplomatic relations between Earth and the Alfheim (home of the elves) are so bad that the borders have been closed.
The heroine, Agent Lila Black, is an undercover operative, charged with the protection of elven rock singer Zal. She is also a prototype of an augmented agent: After a terrible experience that left her body shredded, most of it has been replaced with cybernetic implants, and she even has an Artificial Intelligence at her disposal. This makes her pretty much the antithesis of the regular elf, who rely on magic and despise technology.
Zal, however, isn’t the regular elf. Regular elves play the flute and treat their bodies as a temple. Zal is a rock singer with all that entails. In fact, he is so controversial that he has been receiving multiple death threads, some even from the Jayon Daga – the Elvish Secret Service.
Imaginative, magical, well written, interesting. If you have a sweet tooth for cyberpunk or fantasy, I expect this book to be right up your alley. The setting may seem a bit like Shadowrun, and there are definite similarities, but Robsons world is quite different from Shadowrun.
Keeping it Real is the first book of the Quantum Gravity series. At time of writing, there are five books in the Quantum Gravity series. If the first book is any indication, I suspect that I will find the remaining four quite an interesting read.