February Books 5) Yellow Blue Tibia, by Adam Roberts
For the last couple of years I feel I have been rather neglecting the latest sf, so I decided to start catching up by getting through the shortlist for this year's BSFA award. Yellow Blue Tibia carries the subtitle Konstantin Skvorecky's memoir of the alien invasion of 1986, and is about a Soviet science fiction writer who becomes entangled in a complex conspiracy possibly involving aliens, Scientologists, the KGB and the Chernobyl nuclear power station in early 1986. The point of the book is at least as much the style as the substance, and I thought I recognised homages to Zamyatin and Bulgakov, as well as to the intersection between the writing of pulp sf and the Cold War as experienced on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The absurdism and surrealism extends also to one character with Asperger's syndrome, who is himself something of a metaphor for the Soviet system. I winced when I worked out what the title meant, about halfway through.