Tor, Jul 2002, 25.95, 330 pp.
Four hundred years or so into the future, technology and climate has changed the world, as we readers know it. The North American east coast mostly resides under the sea so that the capital of NorAm has moved to the center of the nation Denv. No one lacks sustenance, as there is an abundance for everyone. However, problems remain mostly with self-actualization since people do not need to accomplish much to insure a full belly and a roof.
In Denv, police lieutenant Eugene Chiang studies crime statistics seeking patterns when he observes an apparent link between seemingly unrelated events including suicide among the under twenty five crowd. Music professor Laura Cornett struggles with today's popular music that makes her style antiquated and unacceptable with the fad being resonant amplification of the emotional impact causing behavioral conditioning that would shock Skinner. Senator Elden Cannon adheres to his values trying to do the right thing, but his re-election is in trouble due to unknown forces wanting the do-gooder out of the way. Media expert Jude Parsfal learns some questionable things about the Martian Republic. Businessman Chris Kemal deals on anything to make for money for his family's business. These five people will clash in a dangerous convergence.
As highly regarded L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is for his speculative fictions, ARCHFORM: BEAUTY is his best work to date and perhaps the science fiction tale of the year. Satirizing the art vs. science war, the author provides a powerful insight into society through his five narrators. His ability to provide distinct lucid voices for each members of the quintet makes the action packed story work.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner