|Submitted by Mike Montgomery |
(Dec 30, 2004)
This was the first Ken Macleod book I read and it inspired me to go on and read much of his other work. He is without a doubt one of the best Sci-Fi writers today, along with the likes of Iain M Banks and Peter F Hamilton, as well as a personal favourite. Anyway, here are my thoughts...
Character Development - 10/10
Macleod has an incredible gift when it comes to his characters and the relationships between them. At times they are stupid, at others they're close to genious, but they are always believable. They don't pull of crazy stunts that make you think 'yeah right, or come up with unrealistic plans that could never be devised. It's these human qualities that allow you to relate to them as you would a real person. From the very beginning you find yourself really caring about what happens to them, just like you would a friend or relative, and as you see them through the highs and lows of success and failure you can't help but feel attached to them.
Story - 09/10
Just like the characters, the story is surprisingly believable, and at times you can almost imagine the future truning out somewhat similar.
Matt Cairns, an expert in interfacing legacy technology, lives in Scotland during a time where Europe is under Soviet rule. He finds out some information that takes him to America and then Space, where he works on a ligh-speed drive.
Accross the galaxy, Gregor and his two colleges Elizabeth (human) and Salasso (saur - humanoid), are working on the marine biology of their home planet Mingled when a trade ship arrives. It Carries news of the rest of the Universe but more importantly a lady named Lydia, who sparks Gregor 's interest.
Although the two stories are seperate they are also heavily linked and the second book (Dark Light) brings them together brilliantly.
Macleod includes some very interesting concepts such as the 'gods' which are confusing to start with but become more and more clear as the books proggress. The one thing which can be slightly frustrating, but necessary, is the politics involved, especially for people like myself who never took a real interest to them. However, don't let it put you off, as this book is far too good to be tossed aside due to their inclusion, and besides, they're only used when really necessary.
The ending is left open for a sequel, and shouldn't be seen as 'unfulfilling'. Having read all three I can assure you that the remaining two will not disappoint, and the Grand Finale is far from 'unfulfilling'.