Fix-up novel (made up of short stories sorted in chronological order) about a pilot and his semi-sentient battle plane Yukikaze on the world of Faery, where they battle against enigmatic aliens that invaded Earth years earlier through a portal in Antarctica. Some of my favorite novels are fix-ups (Accelerando, Mindplayers) but this isn’t among them. It’s an interesting read, but also slightly frustrating. Everything feels fragmented, the glimpses we get about the true nature of the aliens, about the war that is going on and about the main character. I wanted the novel to explore at least one thing with more depth, be it the main character and his motivations, the aliens and their motivations or how the war played out. But at the end all I had were small fragments of a bigger picture, that while not completely elusive, was still pretty much sketchy.
It’s still an interesting read. All too often alien invaders force Earth’s nations unite, here the whole conflict becomes a forgotten war by people on Earth, who still bicker among themselves like they do in reality. This makes the book feel more grounded and real. And the tidbits about the true nature of the aliens show an interesting picture. The JAM seem completely technological, who can’t get their head around the true nature of the enemy they are fighting (fleshy things like us). Like a more enigmatic version of the Transformers. It’s a bit disappointing that we don’t learn more about them, but that obviously wasn’t the focus of the novel. Too much of the text is given over to (for me) uninteresting and pretentious wankery about how the inhuman nature of the aliens changed the humans involved in the war. I found most of the philosophical musings pretty much devoid of real substance.