A minor triumph - start on this one.,
This review is from: Forbidden Knowledge: The Gap Into Vision (Mass Market Paperback)
Forbidden Knowledge is well-written, excellently paced and constructed as well as could be expected. It extends the story and characterisation of brutalised Morn and her fleeing to Nick Succorso from Angus Thermopyle, saving the latter pirate's life to keep control over the zone implant he gave her.
This is a many-faceted story of corporate corruption, greed, and an insidious alien presence that seeks to undermine human life as a prequel to changing it into something non-human (Amnion - the name of the aliens). A complex and fascinating faster-than-light future is set most effectively against a background of Morn struggling to stay alive and sane aboard a pirate ship with a captain as alternately unstable and brilliant as the rest of his crew, and various people who want to help, rape, hug and understand her. The tale takes leaps of horror, throwing itself from intra-crew intrigue, sexual jealousy, viruses and murder, to confrontation with an alien horror and an unimaginably horrific yet at once deeply human and profound examination of childbirth, all mingled in with the tale of Angus from the first story, and an examination of the ethics of turning a human into a machine. As a study in how a book can be at once enthrallingly horrible and a thorough character study of several different people, this book has top marks.
The only thing that brings it down - the only thing at all - is the consideration that others without my love of SF and dark foulness will read it, and not have the same opinions. If you haven't got a strong stomach then you probably won't be reading "Forbidden Knowledge" in the first place; but, if you do start, my advice is don't finish. You will have nightmares. This consideration of others forces me to mark down. In terms of piling horror upon horror in an intense and sickening yet maniacally gripping and extraordinarioly effective, and - crucially - *human* way, this story has no equal. Anywhere.
It's goddamn brilliant. But it may not be to your taste.