Radix is a novel that you’ve never heard of, but one I can never forget. I turn to it every few years or so — the struggle of the protagonist Sumner Kagan never fails to ignite something to burn away the ennui that fills my gut from time to time. Like phlegm.
Here you have a science-fiction novel that manages to coalesce around spiritualism, politics, racism and a hero’s journey. And Attanasio writes with more poetry than you typically find in the genre. Gone is the ‘hard science’ for the most part, and instead a thoroughly imagined cosmology about a bleak future Earth, peopled by an unstable co-habitation: humanity’s remnants and a mysterious race of interstellar ‘light-beings’ who use humans’ corporeal forms as hosts.
Sounds hokey, and I think in another’s, less competent, hands it would be. But Attanasio has a wonderful lyrical gift and he certainly lets his prose fly to amazing heights.
Ethos. Letting go. Transformation. Want always brings me back to these things. I think I need to ride the light with Kagan and the Voors again…