Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fractions-Ken MacLeod

Ken MacLeod
Orb (Tor), Oct 28 2008, $19.95
ISBN: 0765320681

The Star Fraction. By 2040, the Kingdom of Great Britain lays in ruins divided into independent states due to the policies of the leftist Labour Party. Some of these new entities are no bigger than a few city streets and run by gang-lords while others like the Army of the New Republic control a vast area. Marxist gun for hire physical security expert Moh Kohn, computer scientist Janis Taine, terrorist Catherine Duvalier and teenage atheist Jordan Brown meet when Moh is assigned to protect Janis and her lab from the fundamentalist Stasis who control technology and have ruled that her work needs to be destroyed. After several Stasis assaults, the foursome decide they must take out an evil artificial intelligence if they are to survive.

The Stone Canal. Political rivals Jonathan Wilde and Dave Reid both love Annette, but the former marries her. Over time Jonathan drifts to the extreme left while Dave turns towards the anarchist’s credo. Their competition grows more heated with Annette still in play. Wilde wakes up near a canal where Jay-Dub the robot informs him he is a clone with the original Wilde's memories downloaded into the replica. Reid runs the Martian colony, but the Wilde clone remembers his rival being there when he was assassinated. Worse Reid has a clone of Annette. Round two is commencing.

This is a reprint of the “The First Half of The Fall Revolution” with the second part to come soon. The tales retain their fresh creativity though both were published in the mid 1990s. Each is fast-paced with the worlds, a futuristic dismal earth and a Mars colony after a loss in WW III, seem genuine even with clones and AI machines. The additional fun for Ken Macleod fans is to see the leap in skill from his first to second novel as each is entertaining but THE STONE CANAL is much tighter despite containing two major subplots.

Harriet Klausner

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