Ian McDonald has been putting his own glittering, poetic spin on SF themes and styles since his 1988 magic-realist novel debut Desolation Road
. His 1995 Chaga
described the first repercussions of an alien biotechnology that spreads from a meteor-strike in Kenya, transforming Earthly ecosystems into something frightening and wonderful. Kirinya
is the sequel, with Chaga
's reporter heroine Gaby McAslan stranded with her now grown daughter in what ought to be an African utopia of freedom from want, indefinitely extended life, and magical new abilities ... but which is poisoned by the politics of fear. First World powers, terrified by these changes, want to seal off and forget the mutated southern hemisphere: the equator is a new Berlin Wall, murderously defended. Meanwhile benevolent alien processes continue in space, in the "Big Dumb Object" now balanced between Earth and Moon, and the ongoing transformation of Venus into something that cannot be predicted. Gaby is uniquely placed to follow the tortuous, bloody path through political compromise, complex African factionalism, aggressive US imperialism and a cluster of shocking new weapons and surprises--all eventually leading to the hope of a new, sane world order. It's finely written and uncompromisingly knotty, with no easy answers. Though there's room for another sequel, Kirinya
ends satisfyingly. Recommended. --David Langford
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Ian McDonald was born in Manchester in 1960. His family moved to Northern Ireland in 1965. He now lives in Belfast and works in TV production. The author of many previous novels, including the groundbreaking Chaga books set in Africa, Ian McDonald has long been at the cutting edge of SF. RIVER OF GODS won the BSFA award in 2005, BRASYL won in it in 2007 and THE DERVISH HOUSE in 2010.