In the far future a huge dust cloud - the Encroachment - is starting to threaten life on Earth. A conspiricy of silence from the leaders of the various communities based around the remains of a space elevator is unveiled, they believe they have an escape route, but it is limited and they do not want the general populance along. While the investigation is going on, the keys to a potential cure are coming together.
The story mainly follows four sets of characters, one of whom (Bascule) is dyslexic and spells phonetically - making for difficult to read chapters. Bascules character is the most interesting, being young (by the standards of people who have nine real lives, and nine virtual ones afterwards), funny and a little crude at times. Most of the other characters are dull, with one having a promising start, but lapsing into a mythological-style journey through a virtual landscape. It suffers from the same problem as Excession in that it has all the parts for an interesting ending, but somehow fails to make it as gripping as it could be.
Review by Paul Silver, 2000
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