Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Night Session -- Ken Macleod.

I think the last Ken Macleod book I read was either Star Fraction or The Cassini Division and Night Sessions definitely won’t be my last. It only took a few pages before I felt something loosening up in my chest because the pages were speeding past and I knew I was in safe hands. This was a thoroughly engaging tale, despite the ‘oops’ moments.

Though this book is great science fiction, it is also a demonstration of how there ain’t nothing that dates so quickly as science fiction. Here we have, as an essential plot driver, medical technology based wholly on embryonic stem cells – a route already being abandoned for adult stem cells. We also have global warming of the Gore/Hansen school - abandoned by the first for carbon trading profit, and preached with such hysteria by the second that a man in a white coat is edging closer, a syringe full of Thorazine concealed behind his back. But of course we must never forget this is fiction.

I think I was hooked properly the moment a main character peered out of his aeroplane window to observe a space elevator and, despite the SFX quote on the front ‘The modern-day George Orwell’ I found this very optimistic in tone. The victory of secularism over religion could be described as extreme optimism, and the sfnal future full of such great techno toys to play with is another form – Macleod did an excellent job of projecting how information technology might be used by a future police force, and really, you gotta love the lead detective’s three-limbed robot called Skulk (short for Skullcrusher). A worthwhile read, this.


Martin Sommerfeld said...

I just finished Newton's Wake and they put the same SFX quote on the back cover - had me too wondering what book exactly they were refering to.

Anyway, NW was a nice read, but the last 50 or so pages for me felt very strange... I don't know... misplaced.

John said...

Ken MacLeod is the only SF author besides you whose every book I buy as soon as they come out. Great stuff. (Non SF is Tim Dorsey.)

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

anyone who enjoys McLeod should take a run thru the Wu books of Niven's known space. saw some gadget ideas lifted out his glass pantied brain.

bascule said...

"glass pantied brain"

Jees Vaud! You really need to quit smoking that shit, look what it's doing to your head.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

Niven wears the panties on his head, i wear the pubes noir and the onshore drilling city.

smoking makes me gak.