Ken MacLeod has written some excellent novels. I particularly like his Fall Revolution books. Those books were intelligent, completely unlike anything I'd read, and at times were a screaming, supercharged ride. However, I remember his Engines of Light books as though they were a series of interesting scenes strung together to make novels.
In this novel of first contact, the pace is a bit slow, at times, and MacLeod jumps over what sounded like some very interesting parts of the story in order to get to the end. Nothing's wrong with the story. In fact, I was happy to find that this novel stood on its own, but had MacLeod chosen to do so, there were lots of other interesting bits that he could have written and decided not to.
A few other reviewers felt that the story was choppy. Well, the story is covering a lot of ground and a fair span of time. If you wanted 4 or 5 novels on the subject, like a lot of other authors feel pressed to do in order to sell more books, fine. But, you'd still be waiting for book 3, while we all know now how it turns out (WHAT! We find out what happens by only purchasing ONE BOOK?!?!? AMAZING!!!).
I find MacLeod's political bent interesting, and I appreciate the extra dimension it gives his books. Again, this may not be to everyone's liking, especially those who just want things to get complicated, people to fight, and stuff to explode. If you are looking for something a bit more intelligent, give MacLeod a chance. He tells a good story, and his are usually positive without being obvious or simple-minded. Unlike what a few reviewers said, this novel is actually quite spare with the politics, and this may be a good place for readers new to MacLeod to start.
And who complains about people getting together to talk stuff over and find solutions? Someone who lives under a rock, doesn't acknowledge or have peers or colleagues, and is either told what to do or never discusses anything, I would guess. MacLeod's characters are likable, and they do what a lot of educated people do: they think about things and discuss them. Perhaps the mere suggestion of political activism is anathema to some Americans, these days. How sad. At a time when we need people more engaged in actual debate, calling our politicians on bad choices, and pushing for better solutions, an author who suggests such a thing gets lambasted for it. I wonder if this is because the author is Scottish and occasionally voices communist views (common in Europe), or if it's due to intolerance of politics and change, in general. In any case, if that's NOT you, then pick up one or more of MacLeod's books and feed your brain.
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (31 July 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841493449
- ISBN-13: 978-1841493442
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 2.8 x 17.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 222 g
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