Orb (Tor), Jul 7 2009, $15.95
The nuclear war between the two American continents changed the world dramatically as the aftermath populations in major cities went from seven digits to three digits or less. Yet humanity somewhat someway sort of survived as civilization evolved in a post apocalyptic world; though devolved might be more accurate.
In that new world order in Minnesota, Sparrow works the night Fair stock exchange as a trader. His specialty is pre-nuke videos and CDs that are rare. As a hustler Sparrow knows what to avoid and when to get out. Thus his being wanted by two rival Horsemen surprises him as he knows to stay away from those powerful telepaths who changed the planet when they caused the war. Still in spite of his efforts to simply survive by selling Big Bang ticket items, the androgynous Sparrow is caught for having information on the Horsemen. They separately are coming for him while working on his mind before he can sell to the highest bidder.
This is a reprint of an enjoyable 1991 young adult post apocalyptic chronicle. The story line is fast-paced, but Sparrow makes the tale work as he has adapted to the new world order of surviving by selling the pre-nuke merchandise before he gets caught up in the Horsemen scenario. The tale holds up nicely as Emma Bull used refreshing spins like the war of the Americas. Readers (and not just “technophiles”) who enjoy a tense post nuclear world thriller will want to peruse Sparrow’s saga of survival.