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Hunter's Run by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, & Daniel Abraham
Cover Artist: Stephan Martiniere
Review by Barry Newton
Eos Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061373299
Date: 01 January 2008 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

A world named Saõ Paulo is the setting for one of the most intricately layered, page-turning stories I've read in years. It's strongly character-driven, though Ramon Espejo, the principal character, is a hard man to like. A Mexican migrant to a distant planet, Espejo is a hardscrabble prospector, dividing his time between long trips into the hills, and short visits in town, continuing a desultory affair with a lover who can only put up with him for the aforementioned short periods.

He thinks he's in trouble when he kills a stranger in a bar fight, and must start his next trip in some haste. But there he stumbles most unwittingly into a conflict between the race of overlords who tolerate human passengers on their starships, and a breed of strangers desperate to avoid detection. This is where Ramon's luck really runs out, and his story begins.

The story has quite a history in its own right: first started by Dozois in the 1970s, enhanced and extended by Martin through the 80s, and finished by Abraham in the new century. First published as "Shadow Twin", a novella in Sci-Fiction, Ellen Datlow's webzine for SciFi.com, it had at least one print publication (serial?) I've lost, was then printed in a set of 500 by Subterranean Press. The story has been extended to novel length by Dozois and Abraham, and Subterranean is issuing it again in a 500 copy collector's edition in the novel form. Harper-Collins is bringing out the first mass market edition this month.

To return, momentarily to the plot: this is a tale which would be easy to spoil by saying too much. There is that which the reader deserves to discover for him(her)self, and it is only one aspect of a story rich in detail. Everything about Hunter's Run has a vivid quality: backwater colonial town, believable Latin characters, rough country, and extreme alien mentalities to which human concerns are mostly irrelevant. Highly recommended.

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