River now demonstrates that Griffith is the major
new voice in the field. ..In her depiction of a woman
struggling for control of her life, Griffith has fashioned
a paean to the human spirit, engaging both the mind and
heart. It's fashionable to say such books transcend the
genre, as if quality had no place in science fiction.
Rather, I think Slow River elevates the genre,
joining a select few books that shine as beacons of excellence.
--The Seattle Times
wakes in an alley to the splash of rain. She is naked,
a foot-long gash in her back was still bleeding, and
her identity implant is gone. Lore Van Oesterling was
the daughter of one of the world's most powerful
families...and now she is nobody, and she has to hide.
out of the rain walks Spanner, predator and thief,
who takes her in, cares for her wound, and teaches her
how to reinvent herself again and again. No one can
find Lore now: not the police, not her family, and not
the kidnappers who left her in that alley to die.
She has escaped...but the cost of her newfound freedom
is crime and deception, and she pays it over and over
again, until she has become someone she loathes.
has a choice: She can stay in the shadows, stay with
Spanner...and risk losing herself forever. Or she can
leave Spanner and find herself again by becoming someone
else: stealing the identity implant of a dead woman,
taking over her life, and creating a new future.
to start again, Lore requires Spanner's talents--Spanner,
who needs her and hates her, and who always has a price.
And even as Lore agrees to play Spanner's game one final
time, she finds that there is still the price of being
a Van Oesterling to be paid. Only by confronting her
family, her past, and her own demons can Lore meld
together who she had once been, who she has become,
and the person she intends to be...
Francisco Review of Books
San Francisco Chronicle
With her rich imagination, Griffith has created an intriguing
world and a character who not only makes her way through
it with boldness and creativity, but takes the time
to reflect as she goes. Lore confronts moral dilemmas,
faces the pain of her past and eventually finds an identity
centered in herself rather than in "that most modern
of ectoplasms: electrons and photons that flitted silently
across the data nets of the world."
[W]ith her first novel, Ammonite...Griffith revealed
herself to be fluent in presenting realistic science
and its implications, capable of cinematic clarity in
her prose, insightful with emotions and character....Replicating
many of her debut's themes and strengths, Slow River
nonetheless expands into new territory....Although
packed with memorable events--including a thrilling
brush with a toxic blowup in a bioremediation plant
that reads like an updated version of Lester Del Rey's
Nerves (1956)--Slow River is, in tune
with its title, a stately, measured voyage down the
secret streams inside us all.
Ambitious, remarkable, strikingly described.
With its persuasive characters trying to form identities
in an unstable society, its midnight streets and shabby
apartments, and its vast industrial engines, Slow
River is a powerful prose poem on issues that are
already with us...It's a worthy, and radically different,
successor to its author's acclaimed debut.
Charles de Lint, F&SF
Griffith has done a wonderful job... Slow River
is a jewel of a book, beautifully written and mature
in how it approaches its concepts. It calls light up
from the darkest shadows--a light that shines more brightly
for having survived and prospered against the odds stacked
up against it. In a world that seems forever going more
and more awry, we need reminders such as this, and authors
such as Griffith to provide them.
Nicola Griffith made a brilliant debut two years ago
with the planetary exploration novel Ammonite.
Her second book is an equally brilliant but very different
story of the near future and one woman's search for
an identity. Slow River extrapolates changes
in biology, computers and drugs in the day-after-tomorrow
fashion of Bruce Sterling. Slow River moves swiftly
but is also deceptively deep and thoughtful.
David Langford, in SFX
Credible internet charity scams, kidnapping, fashionable
designer drugs, sex, sadism, advanced digital porn,
sabotage, information and identity theft--all solidly
human, without the easy dazzle of cyberpunk cliche.
There are no disposable characters either. Real life
isn't as cheap as some fiction would have us believe.
Slow River is an extremely mature SF novel which
pulls off the difficult trick of combining a solidly
decent moral stance with compelling readability. I was
Lambda Book Report
No second-novel slump for English-born Nicola Griffith,
whose first novel, Ammonite, won both a Lammy
and science fiction's Tiptree Award....In both theme
and imagery, Slow River invites comparison to
such death-and-rebirth epics as the Sumerian descent
of Inanna or the attempt of Orpheus to bring Eurydice
back from Hades...Rarely has this reviewer wished so
fervently for a sequel!
An astonishing piece of work.
The novel's gestalt is realized with depth and subtlety.
The science is right, the understanding of interlocking
systems is viscerally correct. This is a world, complete
with cracks in the sidewalk, stray cats, human folly
and wisdom, and the selective blindnesses that complicate
existence. Slow River is graceful and seductive.
The background and foreground work seamlessly...Lore's
story embodies all things human, including science and
the moral imperative which fall out if its proper practice.
It is the best kind of science fiction, and, finally,
the best kind of literature. In the end it is reaffirming
of our humanness.
- winner, Nebula award
- winner, Lambda Literary Award
- winner, Spectrum Award