Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Million, by Karl Schroeder

[Tor Novella]
★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Thriller; Lockstep) Earth’s billions live just one month every thirty years. The rest of the time, “The Million” live in luxury on an almost empty planet, and they don’t tolerate unauthorized “visitors” like Gavin. (39,174 words; Time: 2h:10m)

Although this is set in Schroeder’s “Lockstep” universe, this story stands by itself. See related articles on

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Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: This is the story of how Gavin successfully assumes Neal’s identity, becomes an auditor, and learns the truth about his own identity and about the world he lives in. Gavin’s a nice guy—we see that from the start with his fierce loyalty to his brother and father—and it’s fun rooting for him to succeed.

Parallel to Neal’s story is Elana’s story, in which she finds her proper role in her family, finds someone to care about, and becomes an auditor as well. The contrast between her limitless wealth and Gavin’s complete poverty makes their partnership entertaining.

The real star of the show, of course, is the setting. Much too big for one novella, it’s no surprise that there’s obviously going to be a sequel nor that there’s a novel, “Lockstep” set in the same place.

Con: It’s a stretch to believe that Gavin escapes detection so easily. It’s also a stretch to believe that the people sleeping in Lockstep have survived so long, given that Jagand has no trouble getting into their storage space. Why do the Million bother to wake them up at all?

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Karl Schroeder Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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