Synopsis: Naqi lives on planet Turquoise, an oceanic world where the Pattern Jugglers live. They are aquatic alien entities capable of storing the neural patterns of human swimmers, preserving their memories and consciousness forever.
Naqi’s sister is a rare case of a human whose body has been absorbed and dissolved when she swam with the Pattern Jugglers.
The first spacecraft since decades visits the planet and is welcomed by the local government. Their scientists ask for access to the Pattern Jugglers. Naqi as managing scientist is escorting them.
One of the scientists is a suspect, sneaks off and starts poisoning the Pattern Jugglers, which is a feat of itself because they were thought to be indestructible. Naqi follows in a race to hinder him from further destructive actions.
Review: Pattern Jugglers are a recurring entity of interest in Reynolds’s Revelation Space series. This novella focuses on these fascinating aliens without giving away each and every ability they have. Just recently, a new novel Inhibitor Phase (review) has been published, featuring consciousness swapping by those beasts.
I’m not a Revelation Space specialist, so I was glad that this novella can be read as a standalone.
The novella has a slow buildup before the showdown happens at high speed.
Fans of the series will enjoy this read probably more than newcomers.