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Genre: Science Fiction, General Science Fiction
Violent and brutal, the story positions Dred and her dubious ally Jael as the good guys — or at least the less bad guys — by surrounding them by rivals who are far, far worse. Dred has an extremely low threshold for ordering executions and Jael is a nihilistic killing machine but at least neither claims to be a god and neither of them is going to eat their victims. As well, Dred exhibits a laudable loyalty to her subordinates, risking much to keep as many of them alive as she can. Perdition uses such classic science fiction tropes as the hell world (or ship) of no return in service of a more modern, gritty narrative. Fans of the Sirantha Jax series, which first introduced the morally compromised Jael, will want to keep an eye out for this book.
Perdition is intended as the prison of no return, the place to which those deemed past rehabilitation (or simply too inconvenient to tolerate as free people) are consigned. Dread Queen Dresdemona “Dred” Devos rules over her section of the prison ship with calculated brutality, accepting casual slaughter as the price of keeping her people safe from the more sadistic and less sane factions inhabiting the rest of the facility. The unstable balance between factions is destabilized when Jael arrives. Indifferent to pain, nearly indestructible and skilled at killing, Jael may be the very weapon Dred needs to consolidate her rule over Perdition and perhaps even escape, but Jael has betrayed allies before and may prove to be the engine of Dred’s final downfall. (ACE, Sep., 252 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed By: James Davis Nicoll
Published: September 2013