January 08, 2004

The Cassini Divison by Ken Macleod

cassini.jpgKen Macleod (who has a blog!) has written a series of loosely connected novels in the same setting. In this universe, Earth has become a global socialist culture that works. (This book doesn't provide the details of just how it works, but the glimpses he gives us certainly make it seem that it does.) The culture arose following a series of conflicts and revolutions that are strictly history in the context of this volume. Humans live on Mars and some of the moons of Jupiter. Out in the neighborhood of Jupiter is a gateway to a far distant star system where another human colony has been formed (subject in large part of another novel, The Stone Canal) with a more libertarian political framework. The far colony was imagined by some rogue artificial intelligences who still exist in some sort of habitat on Jupiter (as much as anything can be "on" a gas giant). The human colonies around Jupiter are mostly there in defense to blast away anything coming out of the gateway or Jupiter before it reinfects humans and their computer systems with various nasty viruses.

In this book we follow Ellen May Ngewthu as she journeys to Earth to retrieve a physicist who might be able to make enough sense of the gateway to allow an expedition to go through to the distant colony. That's the action part of the story, but at least half of the book is dedicated to all the moral and political issues surrounding the situation. And Macleod is an author who can actually make that part of the story even more compelling to read than the action sequences. He's that good.

I need to read The Star Fraction and any other books in this series and then reread all the books in a more contiguous fashion to make all the interconnections make more sense. This'll be fun!

Posted by jeffy at January 8, 2004 10:21 PM
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