Light Chaser – Peter F. Hamilton & Gareth L. Powell


So yeah, this little novella packed one hell of a punch. Like we’re talking a Bruce Lee one-inch punch here. What’s this wee guy going to do here? Then WHAM, you’re halfway across the room on your ass trying to put your ribs back in place. Fuck me!

Our main gal Amahle is a Light Chaser, and no bro, it’s not what you drink after a tequila shot. Via genetic modifications and time dilation she is as close to as an immortal as you can get. She travels on a long circuit through the galaxy like a comet, making millennial pitstops on different worlds to trade for memory collars worn by the inhabitants. To bear these collars is a huge honour and they are passed down through the generations collecting centuries of memories of all those who wear it. The saved memories then serve as entertainment for the advanced Glisten civilization. People there want to experience life as a king on a medieval planet or as an augmented mecha-spider-dude on a mining colony. It’s the Real Housewives or Siesta Key for this futuristic civilization.

Logging a life’s worth of memories and experiences really makes you look at yourself. Like, am I living my best life? Would people want to experience my life? My day so far has been me singing Hollaback Girl and hip thrusting in my underwear followed by eating an entire bag of cheeze puffs while watching a hockey game. So yeah dude, pretty rad! Future people would definitely pay top dollar for that!

Anyways, Amahle vicariously lives thousands of lives on her journey between the stars. While experiencing one life, someone named Carloman is communicating directly to her in the memory. She puts it off as something fucked up at first, but this guy keeps popping up in these memories as different people in different times on different planets, but it’s always Carloman. He’s someone from Amahle’s distant past trying desperately to reconnect with her. There’s something sinister with the memory collars and why human civilization has stagnated. It’s up to Amahle to remember her early memories and save humankind.

I find myself frequently circling back and thinking about the story the last couple days which is a gigantic accomplishment since I have the attention span of a labradoodle puppy. There’s been a lot of soul searching with too many (or not enough) margaritas as I reflect on my life. Also, it’s me trying to piece together the mindfuck of time travel, reincarnation, memory, and just all the cool sci-fi shit in this book. Light Chaser explored so many rad worlds and ideas without ever feeling rushed. No need for an epic series of eight books with 900 pages each that just drags on endlessly. The authors were like “we have a gnarly idea, let’s trim the fat, and fucking wow some people!” Nailed it dudes!

Anyways, that’s about all I got. Adios amigos!

Light Chaser will be published on August 24, 2021 and you can pre-order a copy here. A huge high five to Peter F. Hamilton, Gareth L. Powell, Tordotcom, and NetGalley for the ARC.

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