This amazing new addition to the Bioshock world is set in an ultra modern city in which people live in enclaves based on moments in history. Our hero, Lewis Snodgrass, lives in an enclave that is obsessed with the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The peculiar ladies and gentlemen that live in this enclave are convinced that the sleek outside world is merely a facade to hide the moral and cultural decay of 2267. Mr. Snodgrass is prone to agree until the body of a nursemaid is found in an airlock having died of exposure to the toxic atmosphere that plunges New York into a perpetually crystalline twilight. Mr. Snodgrass’s investigation leads him to a seedy underground world of nanodrug use, a beguiling housewife, and an eccentric sculptor.
John Shirley has successfully combined hard science fiction with Steampunk noir. The world created in Bioshock: Rapture is both sleakly futuristic and depressingly gritty. The delusions of the World’s Fair Enclave are a perfect metaphor for the topsy turvy future society. If I have any complaint it is that the main characters are somewhat dull and tend to blur into the landscape, but perhaps this too is part of Shirley’s scathing critique of a society in which people cling strongly to delusions, despite all evidence to the contrary. Occasionally the plot seems haphazard and poorly thought out, but the beautiful world building makes this easy to forgive.
All in all, Bioshock: Rapture is an excellent book that is well worth a good read.
Available July 19, 2011.
(A Book by its Cover is our new weekly column in which we review a book based solely on the cover, without any other knowledge of what it is about. Any similarities in our review to the book are purely coincidental and proof that we are awesome)