October 17 2013

The Incrementalists

The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White is a book of many threads. Two threads are the points of view of Phil and Ren. Phil is an Incrementalist, a member of a secret group who try to gradually improve the world by changing things for the better. A nudge here, a nudge there. They are also, functionally immortal. That’s a few more threads.
For you pleasure, there are also explorations of consciousness vs. memory vs. personality and the role of fear in causing damage to the bindings of society. You’ll get some observations on poker and on good meals with good conversation. Watch for cards as they get palmed and people who may not be as annoying as others have made them out to be.
Brust and White weave together a tale out of these slowly gathered threads. If you want to see the tapestry that emerges, you’ll have to pay attention. This isn’t a book that allows for a shallow reading. You get thrown in the deep end and the action starts quicker than you may even notice.
I enjoyed the journey contained in the weaving of the tale and won’t take that journey away from you with a bunch of explanation of the details that you should really experience as you reach them.
As I read this, I heard the sounds of pigeons under the chestnut trees on the Champs-Elysées, of purring cats and the smells of old bookstores and chocolate. I’ll leave it to you to find out why and just remark that this is a very good book.