The Rig has some trouble making all its stories connect


Although there are some lovely parts to Roger Levy’s The Rig, a solid half of the story fails to connect, at least for this reader.

Conceptually speaking, there’s a lot to like about Roger Levy’sThe Rig from Titan Books. After all, it’s about a universe where people vote on whether or not those on the edge of death should be revived and cured of whatever put them into stasis in the first place. It’s also, in a lot of ways, wrestling with ideas of religion.

The problem is that the story of the creation of this universe’s current system is more interesting than the events happening in the present of the system. It slowly becomes apparent that the two will eventually merge. But getting through the present-day story is more of a muddle than anything else.

Part of the problem stems from how chapters in the present of the novel jump from character to character without really stopping to explain a lot of what’s going on. The past narrative is consistently from one point of view and has more context for things. The past story itself probably wouldn’t work as a standalone novel, but the connections it does have still aren’t that interesting — and that’s even with the idea that there are crimes to solve in the present. Because Levy doesn’t particularly contextualize new terms, it makes it harder to connect, relate, and find everything intriguing.

Part of it too is that the past story is narrated in first person. The other sections are in third-person. That allows for more interiority on Alef’s part, meaning we connect to him more than Razer, Tallen or any of the present-day characters. It also has the unfortunate side effect of making that particularly apparent.

Next: Only Human is a solid end for The Themis Files

Ultimately, The Rig will ask you to deal with how far someone can go to reshape a world for someone else … and also trying to make sense of the basics of how that world works at the same time. It’s not the greatest combination, but sci-fi fans can find some things to enjoy here.