Extremophile is the second in the series called The Unwinding by Juliana Rew. The first one I read, Unwinding is subtitled Gin’s story. I didn’t realise it was a series at the time. A couple of months ago I discovered there were two more out so I added them to my list. This is scifi at its best.
Extremophile: Violet Rain (Unwinding #2)
by Juliana Rew
Violet Rain, a VR expert from the 25th century, joins the crew of time-traveling Watchmen, monitoring the precarious truce between universes (“The Unwinding: Gin’s Story”) from a remote space station. Engineering a rugged tardigrade body to temporarily host her through the extreme conditions of space, she detects a new abnormality and fears a new Unwinding. [goodreads]
The blurb above does not do this book justice. Yes, there is a truce between two universes which is the cause of the Unwinding in the first book, but has none of the excitement of Violet Rain’s adventures crossing time boundaries. She has a major role to play as a Watchman of the truce,. We meet here as she engineers herself down to fit inside a microscopic being called a tardigrade. A tardigrade is a genuine animal that lives in extreme conditions, i.e. an extremophile. This helps her discover the truce is indeed in danger. This leads to great fun in 21st and 25th centuries, as she has to return to her former life to work out how to persuade the person who is going to invent advanced virtual reality (as she knows it) to do so.
Are you confused yet?
I have to say this is not as confusing as The Unwinding, which mystified me a lot of the time. All the characters have defined roles, and even if the time lines cross and recross, the connections seem logical. The author’s inventiveness of character, science, and fabulous locations, brilliantly described, leave me breathless. The tensions build, people mess things up, and Violet has to sort them out again, and then… temptation strikes.
I’m looking forward to the third of the series, which features one of the alien Watchmen. Now that will be even more fun.