Jack Glass - Adam Roberts

Jack Glass - Adam Roberts

Jack Glass is a murderer.


More precisely ("and at all costs we must be precise"), he's a murderer in space.


His name, a pseudonym, comes from his preferred weapon: a dagger with a glass blade, impossible to detect with the usual weapon detectors of his dystopian world. An unspecified number of years into the future, humanity has spread outwards from its homeworld to planets and asteroids and, most importantly, precarious plastic bubbles orbiting the sun, humid hells without privacy or security or any real law. Glass wants to change this world (and who wouldn't?) by deposing the corrupt structures of power keeping it in place; but his methods of doing so are, perhaps, more ruthless than we might expect.


To be honest, I was hooked at "murderer in space".


The novel is presented as three murder mysteries:


One of these mysteries is a prison story. One is a regular whodunit. One is a locked-room mystery. I can't promise that they're necessarily presented to you in that order; but it should be easy for you to work out which is which, and to sort them out accordingly. Unless you find that each of them is all three at once, in which case I'm not sure I can help you.

Cue 370 pages of awesomeness, taking the reader on a rollicking ride from a remote prison asteroid to a Sump-bubble, taking in Earth, champagne supernovae, FTL and disappearing bullets along the way.


Not only is it a good read, it's a clever one, too: answers hide in plain sight, motifs repeat themselves, and, yes, each murder mystery is all three at once. It's also a story about power, and freedom, and identity, and (in a strange way) love.


Jack is a terrific character, brutal yet sympathetic, charismatic and sad and one of my new favourites, I do believe. The realities of this strange world are drawn with realism and detail and it's all fascinating and utterly, terrifyingly believable. The science, admittedly, has that very Asimovian quality of being completely logically consistent while making no sense at all in a real-world context...but still. Definitely a book for anyone who loved The Caves of Steel, or any other SF for that matter.