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The Cassini Division: Book Three: The Fall Revolution Series: A Fall Revolution Novel Paperback – 3 Jun 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (3 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857237307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857237306
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since graduating from Glasgow University in 1976, Ken MacLeod has worked as a computer analyst in Edinburgh. He now writes full-time.

Product Description

Amazon Review

With his third novel, Ken MacLeod elaborates further on the future timeline of his first two, The Star Fraction (1995) and The Stone Canal (1996). Most relevant is book two, which established a colony on the remote world New Mars via a spatial wormhole created by superhumans--transcendent machine-hosted intelligences called the "fast-folk". The original fast-folk crashed from too much contemplation of their metaphorical navels, but their descendants on Jupiter still harass Earth with virus transmissions that have killed off computers and the Internet. Enter black heroine Ellen May Ngwethu of the Cassini Division, an elite space-going force created to defend against the fast- folk. Her wild doings in the 24th century's anarcho-socialist utopia make for fun reading-- everyone will covet her smart-matter clothing that can become a spacesuit, combat outfit, evening gown or satellite dish at will. But Ellen's and the Division's political philosophy is brutally tough, with alarming plans to use a planet-wrecking doomsday weapon against "enemies" who may not in fact be hostile. In a climax of slam-bang space battle, MacLeod crashes the ongoing ethical debate into a brick wall and leaves you gasping. Witty, skilful, provocative, and just a trifle too glibly resolved. --David Langford --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

This man's going to be a major writer. (Iain M. Banks)

Prose sleek and fast as the technology it describes...Watch this man go global. (Peter F. Hamilton)

Great sci-fi. (FOCUS)

MacLeod still writes with charm and wit. (SFX)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven Fouch VINE VOICE on 3 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a very fast moving novel indeed - in fact that is my only serious criticism - at times it almost feels rushed, and as a consequence some characters never fully develop, and certain plot elements jar. Also, some of the events and characters probably would make full sense only if you have already read MacLeod's earlier two novels, 'The Star Fraction' & 'The Stone Canal' (especially the latter). Certainly, there are subtleties that allude to both earlier novels that give a different take on the whole story.
That to one side, this is refreshingly clever, insightful, and witty SF. The technologies may have been seen before in other guises by numerous contemporary SF writers (nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence gone rouge, difference engines, arcologes, etc., etc.). What MacLeod excels at however is an ability to create a credible, alien worldveiw. This story is essentially about a clash of anarchist world views, one socialist, but also deeply nihilistic and pessimistic about the human condition, the other highly capitalistic, individualistic, and almost naïvely optimistic. Against this is the potential threat of possibly hostile, possibly benign Artificial Intelligences which may or may not represent the next step in human evolution.
It is a measure of his success that the human societies are credible, and their conflicts understandable. In Ellen May Ngwethu he also gives us a central character whose world view is very different to our own, and which is at times morally repugnant to our modern liberal western sensibilities. Her society the Solar Union in its egalitarianism and communitarianism may be superficially reminiscent of the Odonianism of Ursula le Guin's 'The Dispossessed', Iain M. Bank's 'Culture' or Peter F.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Feb. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ken MacLeod is, among other things, writing about a future in which science fiction -- SF as art form, as political discourse, and as dream -- has actually existed in the world. The central scene of The Cassini Division is a flashback to an argument, back in the 21st century, between an advocate of posthuman transcendence, and a critic of that ideal. The critic gets in the first blow, dismissing the Singularity as "the Rapture for nerds." The heroine, witnessing this, realizes that she and her friends are advocating the Asimovian, Star Trek dream of the Federation, against the would-be posthumans, the partisans of the Singularity. MacLeod knows that, at root, Star Trek is a Communist dream, and just as The Stone Canal was a sympathetic examination of libertarian utopia, The Cassini Division is a novel about communism...complete with a hilarious confrontation, at the end of the book, between his communist military cadre and the denizens of a libertarian free-market enclave. (Judiciously, both groups get in their share of good lines.)
MacLeod is a wily polemicist and just as you think you have him nailed down, he extrudes a pseudopod in some unexpected direction. For those who like their SF argumentative and challenging, he's a welcome kick in the head -- one of the most genuinely Campbellian SF writers now working.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Dec. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ellen May Ngwethu is our narrator for the duration of this nerveless space saga which manages a vast structural background and a political past ranging thousands of years into the future. It is cool stuff and has a consistency with other Macleod output describing the exit of humans from Earth and their adventures all over this and neighbouring galaxies. The science is highly speculative and often amusing and there are battles, replicant take-overs by the Jovians, body-responsive space suits and a quiet recommendation for light gravity sex.

As before (with, for e.g. Learning The World), humanity is immortal, though contentious concerns have arisen about so-called `copies', especially when there might be some doubt about the destruction of the original human. I feel Ken Macleod will explore this uncertainty in future novels. This novel pits capitalism against communism (in their evolved forms, which might not be as predictable as you think), together with a far superior race of beings about to provide a catalyst that might settle some old scores among the Division's flattened hierarchies. As always the ideas are presented engagingly. Characterisation is just about okay, though he has written better about human motivation. It read a little flat to me this time around.
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Format: Hardcover
The Cassini Divison is beyond doubt a sci-fi lover's dream. Spaceships. Alien races who need nuking. Almost sentient spacesuits that can change swiftly from combat gear to pyjamas and a duvet. Not to mention Ellen's quick thinking mind which gets her into trouble as well as out of it.

What appealed to me here was the fact that Ellen isn't developing her abilities, she already knows how to use her special suit. It's how she explains her world to her target, and the female who tags along with him. Through their experiences thoughts on morality and ethics are discussed at length. Life on board a spaceship has both highs and lows, all of which are delved into.

I definitely want a spacesuit. It has a mind of its own: tailoring clothes usually to the wearer's choice. Lace, trousers, dress - any material and any outfit can be created within a few seconds. No need for a wardrobe. Dirt is absorbed into the suit. Any unwanted particle is also absorbed into the suit. It can even - no, I mustn't tell you about what it can do to a person's soul. You'll have to read for yourself :)
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