Reynolds, Alastair -- The Prefect

Standalone novel set in the Glitter Band, some time before the biological disaster that sets up his original trilogy. In a system of a thousand orbiting polises, the only global authority are the people who enforce democracy: Thou Shalt Not Mess With The Polling Machines. Someone does, of course, and the conspiracy gets more complicated from there.

I remember his last novel (Pushing Ice) as having a great science-wowzer plot, wrapped around a character narrative which resembled two preadolescent girls sulking at each other for two hundred years. Reynolds is clearly maturing as a writer; the characters in this book are solidly adolescent. Even the rookie cop, who most nearly has an excuse, feels underage. All the rest fall off the credibility wagon when they fail to arrest the obvious bad guy for acting like an obvious bad guy in public. Oh, well. There's a plot, and things explode.

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