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Book Title: The Star Fraction|
The author of the book: Ken MacLeod
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.18 MB
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Loaded: 1425 times
Reader ratings: 5.4
Date of issue: October 16th 1995
ISBN 13: 9780099558712
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I might be overdosing on Ken Macleod by this point in the summer but it's such a good feeling. And with The Star Fraction, you arrive at his first novel and the start of his Fall Revolution sequence. Set in a balkanized Britain of the mid-21st century, The Star Fraction tells the story of security mercenary Moh Kohn who along with scientist Janis Taine is fleeing the US/UN's technology cops. Jordan Brown is a teenage atheist in the Christian fundamentalist of Beulah City that wants out.
Macleod's 21st Century is one where the US/UN have control of space and are the arbiters of the entire planet. Britain is a broken country after the end of the Third World War, when the United Republic was overthrown, the Kingdom restored and a patchwork of free states set up across Northern London. Janis Taine is a scientist experimenting with memory enhancing drugs that accidentally releases the Artificial Intelligence that some fear and some are waiting for, The Watchmaker. And The Watchmaker has plans-- plans that will change the lives of Moh, Janis and Jordan as the betrayed revolution of the past comes back to haunt the present day.
(And for the rest, kids, you'll have to read the book to find out.)
Macleod makes a fine debut with this novel. He includes in a short introduction explaining his novels and sneaks in a money quote that underlines his entire body of work with the Fall Revolution sequence: "What is capitalism is unstable and socialism impossible?" I love this notion! I love the way Macleod explores it throughout the novel but there's a certain cynical truth to the idea when applied to the real world. Ideologies war with each other everyday, people die for ideologies and at no point do we ever wonder, what if we just said 'no more new world orders.'
The Star Fraction explores these ideas and more. The Balkanized Britain of Macleod's world is believable and exciting: a United Republic overthrown and driven back to the Highlands of Scotland to carry on the struggle against a restored Kingdom or 'Hanoverian Regime.' (I love that he refers to it that way- it dates back to the overthrow of the Stuart Monarchs in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 followed by the Hanoverian succession of 1701.) Macleod refers to the Republic as a 'radial Democratic regime' which sounds interesting and a lot nicer than usual ideas about Republicanism most of which involved aping the American model.
I would have liked to know more about the America of this world. The critical juncture of the novel sees America going on strike from coast to coast which is a nice idea to think about but one that I couldn't conceive of in today's America.
The usual concepts of the Singularity and futurism are in fine form here- and only goes to reinforce the plaudits that Macleod has duly earned. This guy is writing revolutionary, thought-provoking science fiction and if science fiction isn't your thing and books that make you think are, then you've come to the right place.
Overall: I did this all backwards but reading this series last to first saved the best for last. This is a must-read for any true devotee of science fiction and if anyone's looking for a thought-provoking dystopian read this is the best place to start.
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Read information about the authorKen MacLeod is an award-winning Scottish science fiction writer.
His novels have won the Prometheus Award and the BSFA award, and been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He lives near Edinburgh, Scotland.
MacLeod graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in zoology and has worked as a computer programmer and written a masters thesis on biomechanics.
His novels often explore socialist, communist and anarchist political ideas, most particularly the variants of Trotskyism and anarcho-capitalism or extreme economic libertarianism.
Technical themes encompass singularities, divergent human cultural evolution and post-human cyborg-resurrection.
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