Creation Machine by Andrew Bannister book review

Andrew Bannister tackles hard sci-fi in The Creation Machine

Creation Machine Andrew Bannister

Galaxies can be engineered, civilisations can be enslaved and the Creation Machine can resurface – threatening to tear entire clusters of planets apart.

The burden of stopping such a catastrophe lies with young heroine Fleare Haas, the estranged daughter of the totalitarian Hegemony leader Viklun Haas.

Fle journeys all across the Spin: from Obel Moon, where our protagonist is initially imprisoned but manages to run away, to sitting in orbiters in space just above the Catastrophe Curve. And yet they’re all very believable backdrops. Indeed, author Andrew Bannister’s exemplary world building brings a sense of awe to The Creation Machine – you can’t help but marvel at his descriptive prowess, something we hope continues in the two planned sequels.

If the interstellar locations weren’t enough to convince you of how intricate a space opera Bannister’s debut novel is, then the characters, which include a sentient cloud, a multitude of intriguing lifeforms and modified humans, will surely charm.

With so much unique detail spanning the residents of the Spin it’s easy to be enthralled. But there’s always a seemingly dissimilar event happening one after another, and it’s difficult trying to tie them together, if at all. It’s clear that this is due to the swift and unapologetic action. You are dropped in medias res at every interval, and it certainly takes some getting used to.

It seems like Bannister is trying to make up for this, often by providing either too much narrative information or by shoeing in the characters’ dialogue for a cheap and cheerful explanation. It comes across as fragmented, with the structure only starting to take shape around two thirds into the book.

Still, if you stick with The Creation Machine, you will find a beautiful space opera trilogy that’s just waiting to explode in a well-crafted first attempt, ready for future stories.