“Yes, but I’m not stupid. I know the d-mat isn’t evil. It’s just a tool. And tools don’t kill people. People kill people. Tools won’t save people either. Nothing will save us but… us.”
– Sean Williams, Fall
Clair’s world has been destroyed – again. The only remaining hope of saving her friends is for her and Q to enter the Yard, a digital world of Ant Wallace’s creation. The rules there are the same as those of the real world: water is real; fire is real; death is real. It all looks exactly the same as the world she used to know. But in the Yard there are two Clair Hills, and their very existence causes cracks that steadily widen.
Getting inside is the easy part. Once there, Clair has to earn the trust of her friends, including the girl who started it all – her best friend, Libby. But they don’t know what’s happened to the real world, and the other Clair is headstrong, impulsive, suspicious – just like Clair herself used to be. And that makes her dangerous.
As Clair struggles to find Jesse and make peace with herself, a surprising new ally emerges from the ashes of the world. Together they fight their way through the digital and political minefield in the hope of saving the world once and for all. This time Clair has to get it right or lose everything.
Earlier in the year, I attended the Reading Matters conference at the State Library of Victoria and heard a variety of authors talk about their books. One of those authors was Sean Williams, creator of the Twinmaker series. I have confessed many times to being a poor science fiction reader but these books sounded really good. I went to work the next morning and ordered a copy of book one, Jump. Fast forward a few months and book three – Fall – appeared in the letterbox. It was the push I needed to finally start the series!
Clair Hill lives in a future not too far from our own where technology has transformed yet dominates the world. The creation of the d-mat has revolutionised transport and fabbers reproduce everything, eliminating the need for money. When Clair’s friend Libby falls victim to a life threatening meme called Improvement, Clair discovers a deadly flaw in the d-mat system. To save her friend, Clair must work with a minority group call the Abstainers, and trust a powerful new friend. In a matter of days, Clair kills the d-mat system, betrays her new friend, and finds herself some very powerful allies. Caught between conflicting philosophies, Clair must decide who she can trust to prevent war and the end of the world.
There is so much to like about this series. It is intelligent and fast-paced and Williams does a fantastic job of moving the story along. Williams has created an intricate plot weaving between the physical and virtual worlds. It is a complex story that I admit to struggling with at times. However, I genuinely believe that this is not reflection on Williams’ story, but of my inexperience with science fiction. Clair is the catalyst for a technological apocalypse that explores the ethical and practical issues surrounding teleportation and technology. I feel sorry for Clair; William’s gives her some very heavy issues to deal with. If being a teenager isn’t enough, Clair soon becomes responsible for the future of the human race. Life and death become a fluid notion and the race to play god is a deadly one. There is plenty of action that leads to love and loss however William’s doesn’t spend a huge amount of time pondering the emotion of it all. It is what I would typically class as a ‘boy book’ but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable for everyone!
AUTHOR: Sean Williams
PUBLISHER: Allen and Unwin
PUB DATE: November 2015
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!