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Mainline: A Science Fiction Thriller Mass Market Paperback – August 15, 1997
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Splendid. A fast fun read....Ambitious....Dynamite." --Larry Niven
"A smart, tightly plotted thriller....Explosive." --Walter Jon Williams
"Impressive....****" --Detroit Free Press
"A fascinating, complex high-tech thriller." --Locus
"Enthralling....Suspenseful." --Science Fiction Chronicle
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As the story unfolds, Reva gets involved with a young smuggler, and tries to stay in that mainline to maintain the friendship. Complications ensue.
Mainline has some of the cheerful amorality of early Delany, and an interesting study of the implications of worldline-crossing in a many-worlds universe. Reva's ability is psi-based -- she is something of an adult, conflicted Telzey Amberdon. She does turn out to be an assassin with a heart of gold (gag), but it's more complex than that, thank heavens. The major good guys are well-drawn, but her villains are pretty cartoonish. The frequent POV shifts are distracting, and, like many first novelists, Christian tries to cram in too much stuff. And there's some dodgy (to be polite) economics in the world-building. But, overall, a worthy first effort and a fine, gripping story.
Here's a cover blurb from Nicola Griffith: It's a "refreshing change to read about a woman who kills people for a living, instead of worrying about their well-being."
Cheers -- Pete Tillman
On the good side, the lead femme fatale Reva has interesting time-skipping powers, though the logistics and effects of those powers are a bit under-explained. Regardless, the nearly ceaseless action overwhelms any believable developments in Reva's character, and she comes across as maddeningly obtuse and impenetrably shallow. The other good guys are better-drawn as characters, but then there are too many cartoonish villains. Attempts at pseudo-religious big thoughts and some cyberspace intrigue are half-baked and unresolved amidst the battle scenes. Granted, the novel is pretty well-plotted and if you like Christian's style of action you'll keep reading. But there aren't too many developed ideas beneath all the chases and assassinations. [~doomsdayer520~]