Reynolds loves things on a large scale. Take the opening paragraph:
“A lighthugger is a four kilometre spike of armour and ablative ice. That’s a lot of surface area to search for a lost crewman. Especially when the hull is a craggy, knotted labyrinth of jagged ornamentation and half-abandoned machinery, a place you could lose an army in, let alone a single hull-monkey.”
When Raoul finally finds the lost crewman and brings back the body, he needs to go back out there to finish the crewman’s job in the crewman’s own suit. Suits are highly personal things, covered in tattoo-like paintings. So it’s understandable that Raoul would find it disturbing enough wearing it, let alone that he’s wearing it while on the outside of a percentage-of-lightspeed-moving ship.
Given all this, is it any wonder that Raoul soon grows paranoid that the suit is moving by itself?
Simultaneously claustrophobic and agoraphobic, it’s a wonderfully atmospheric story.
Monkey Suit by Alastair Reynolds
Availability: print only
Word count: 4,800
Universe: Revelation Space (prior knowledge not needed)
First published: Death Ray magazine 2009
Where to find it: Deep Navigation, collection, 2010, NESFA Press