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Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson October 5, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words.
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A seminal novel written during the pregnancy of her firstborn, G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen is a nice mixture of intrigue, romance (twisted through Islamic notions, sure, but still romance) and Arabian Nights fantasy by way of Charles Stross’ Laundry.  Extra points for correctly identifying the fantasy characters.  There may be a quiz later.

Alif is a poor hacker for hire who specializes in hiding people online from the security apparatus of the State (unspecified but Middle Eastern with an emir, if that helps any).  His well-to-do lover leaves him for an arranged marriage to the head of said apparatus (“The Hand”—are we ominous yet?) just as the eponymous finger is put upon him thereby.  The girl of course has an additional problem to leave with him-a book written by jinn containing perhaps the secret to true artificial intelligence, and a lure for The Hand.

With the MacGuffin securely in hand, Our Hero retreats into the Empty Quarter, a kind of knothole in reality where jinn and related magic critters live, and where interesting bargains are struck…oh it’s ever so much more complicated than that with interesting characters called upon to do frightening things.  I will spare you surprises which I think will delight you; they delighted me.  Certainly I haven’t begun to tell you the weird stuff.  Go buy the book, and be entranced.

Once again, due to gods know what algorithm the audiobook from Audible is more expensive than the CD by seven bucks.  I read the Kindle version, myself, which is still more expensive than the CD by one dollar. 

Go figure.

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