Head Full of Mountains
By Brent Hayward
Toronto’s Brent Hayward has a knack for creating incredibly lush alternative worlds and mythologies, and Head Full of Mountains may be his most complex and demanding work yet. On its surface it’s a psycho-mystical SF fantasy that describes the adventures of a figure (is he human? cyborg? an alien or artificial intelligence?) named Crospinal.
Because Crospinal is like a newborn being released into a world he doesn’t understand, the reader has to share much of his confusion as he explores an environment or mental geography painted in the rusting colours of industrial-abstract expressionism. His journey suggests an allegory of human development progressing through different stages of life, but readers will probably come up with many other interpretations as well, perhaps seeing in it a nightmare of isolated and introverted consciousness, or the endgame of technologies that have left humanity behind. The result is a different and difficult SF novel, but also one that is rich and rewarding.