River is the story of India's 100th birthday, when the great nation has fractured into warring subnations on caste, religious and cultural lines. Like McDonald's other great novels, the story is beyond epic, with an enormous cast of richly realised characters and a vivid, luminous vision of techno-Hinduism that beggars the imagination. Take, for example, Town and Country, a soap-opera acted out by AIs (or "aeais") who lead double-lives -- each AI character has another role, as the actor who plays the character, in a "meta-soap" where their squabbling, indiscretions and marriages are tabloid fodder for the soapi magazines that dote upon them.
This is just one of dozens of conceits in a novel that combines the best themes from books like Out on Blue Six and Desolation Road, handles them with the masterful hand visible in Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone and the Sturgeon-award-winning Tendeleo's Story, and folds in all the contemporary themes in sf like the Singularity and the cratering of cyberpunk memes and spits out a 575-page epic that I couldn't put down until I'd finished it.
Ian McDonald has been one of my favourite writers for some 15 years now, and the amazing thing is, he's getting even better.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the mind-expanding modus operandi of the counterculture spread into the realm of science, and shit got wonderfully weird. Neurophysiologist John Lilly tried to talk with dolphins. Physicist Peter Phillips launched a parapsychology lab at Washington University. Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill became an evangelist for space colonies. Groovy Science: Knowledge, […]
Timothy Ellis’ galaxy spanning space opera continues in Hero at the Gates! We’re 9 damn books in and the central plot is finally about to get past its prelude! I’ve really enjoyed this massive story. 9 novels ago Jon Hunter was a wet behind the ears kid on board his uncle’s space trader. Now he’s […]
Modern civilization has all but disappeared. It falls to a fearless, dedicated and slap-stick bunch known as Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors to help humanity recover. With help like this, you might be better off on your own! Benjamin Wallace’s first installment in the Duck and Cover series is a quick and witty read. We find America […]
Looks like all of your potential employers are hiring candidates with programming skills (which you don’t have). With all of the languages out there today, it’s tough to know where to start.With the Complete Front-End to Back-End Coding Bundle, you can beef your resume up in all the right places, no confusion necessary. This package of […]
Those of us who love music wish we could listen to it 24/7. But it’s impossible when we’re trying to converse with our friends, or when are swimming in the local pool.That is, until now. The KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset, now 48% off, has changed the audio game.Made with lightweight titanium memory metal, this headset boasts patented bone conduction technology to transport sound […]
It’s one thing to enjoy dinner at home and a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with your best friend, Netflix, but it’s another thing entirely to make that meal from scratch and get that wine delivered right to your doorstep.But what if we told you there’s a way to make this possible? To keep your social life, […]