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The Night Sessions: A Novel [Hardcover]

Ken MacLeod
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Aug 2008

A bishop is dead. As Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson picks through the rubble of the tiny church, he discovers that it was deliberately bombed. That it's a terrorist act is soon beyond doubt. It's been a long time since anyone saw anything like this. Terrorism is history . . .

After the Middle East wars and the rising sea levels - after Armageddon and the Flood - came the Great Rejection. The first Enlightenment separated church from state. The Second Enlightenment has separated religion from politics. In this enlightened age there's no persecution, but the millions who still believe and worship are a marginal and mistrusted minority. Now someone is killing them.

At first, suspicion falls on atheists more militant than the secular authorities. But when the target list expands to include the godless, it becomes evident that something very old has risen from the ashes. Old and very, very dangerous . . .



Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (7 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841496510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841496511
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 16 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,875 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

Review

MacLeod spins a yarn that moves at a fast pace, and which doesn't disappoint; exciting and intriguing, it keeps a consistent level of interest throughout its passage ... a satisfying read (SciFiNow )

A twisting conspiracy tale shot through with MacLeod's gloriously mordant sense for the absurd (BBC Focus )

Gripping and clever near-future thriller (Lisa Tuttle, The Times )

A stunning indictment of fundamentalism of all kind s' Eric Brown, Guardian

Book Description

A stunning new SF thriller from the critically acclaimed author of The Execution Channel.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept me interested 30 Aug 2008
By Robert
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am pleased that Ken McLeod is back on form, and Night Sessions kept me interested. The concept of a world after a pogrom against all religions will horrify some readers and appeal to others. (No more Thought for the Day!). The plot is an entanglement of religious conversion of AI, underground Covananters and high tech sabotage. As is usual, Ken McLeod educates the reader. All in all, I enjoyed this book, it was a fun read and the only reason I did not give it five stars was that I thought it tailed off a bit at the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Kens Best 23 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this latest novel by Ken Macleod. In my opinion one of his best since writing the Star Faction. The characters are fleshed out with depth and interesting back stories. The plot is detailed with plenty of action and enough well thought out tech to keep the pace going.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storming! 10 Aug 2008
By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
O.k. - let's try and set the scene a bit here. In Edinburgh, years after the end of the Faith/Oil Wars and the Second Enlightenment. Someone sets off a bomb that kills a priest. Enter Detective Inspector Ferguson.

So - is it sci-fi or is it a 'whodunit'? Well, it's both, of course. But the sci-fi ideas in this book just keep building up and up. The soldiers went to the wars with their battle mechs. Some of these battle mechs became self-aware. After the war, these K.I.s (Kinetic Intelligences) find roles in society, as police, as space workers and so on. Also, along with K.I.s', there are A.I.s and a police computer commonly referred to as Paranoia.

Add to all this the remnants of Dominionists, Dispensationalists, Covenantists and other religious extremists, plus a wild and high-tech club scene, space elevators, a totally mobile and integrated web, sharp dialogue, a very well written narrative that just keeps steaming along and you've got a wonderful book.

Ken Macleod's last book The Execution Channel was good, but this is better; this is back to the complexities, the extrapolations of current events, the chaotic realism of The Star Fraction and is all the better for it. Thank-you Mr Macleod!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
What if robots found GOD? This very question lies at the heart of Ken MacLeod's near future science fiction novel, "The Night Sessions", one of the most compelling fictional condemnations of fundamentalist religion I have read, which is, not surprisingly, one of MacLeod's best novels. "The Night Sessions" illustrates the importance of science fiction as a literary genre rooted in ideas, as a fictional condemnation of the worst aspects of religious fundamentalism, and one quite critical too of anti-religious fundamentalism expressed by some atheists. In a near future slowly recovering from the worst aspects of man-made global warming, religion has been rendered almost invisible, barely tolerated by government as a result of the "Second Enlightenment" separating faith from politics, in the aftermath of so-called "Faith Wars" which have rendered part of the Middle East radioactively uninhabitable. Only a relative few, mainly religious fundamentalists, dare practice openly their faith, even as they are greatly distrusted and despised by most of the public. A young New Zealand robotics engineer - and skeptical creationist - finds himself the object of religious devotion during a brief visit to a Scottish Fundamentalist Protestant Christian Church, stunned to hear that his lay preaching has attracted not only the attention of, but also, ample devotion from robots who view him as a latter day prophet. One year later, Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson investigates an Edinburgh church bombing and the murders of two priests, finding evidence which points initially to zealous anti-religious atheists as the likely culprits. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but left some question marks 24 July 2013
By Strv 74
Format:Paperback
This is a detective story set in what is called the near future. Normally you would think that the world has changed some but not a lot in a short time but not here. There has been a type of World War between secular and religious forces with all religions (!) on one side! This all started with 911 and as a result all religions are more or less destroyed with a few survivors here and there. After this there were some type of Civil War in the US. On top of this Man Kind has invented fully sentient robots, two space elevators and a very advanced communication system allowing you to see what other people look at through their contact lenses! Considering all of this the concept of "near" future seams a little stretched...

But if you accept this there is an interesting detective story of an almost classical type in the book. We meet an advanced police force trying to figure out two odd murders with the help of high tech equipment. Mr MacLeod writes well and the various people in the story comes across as "real" people even if it is hard to accept some of their background. The Police officers have a background as torturers and some type of killers (as I have understood it) and still they are supposed to work in law enforcement.

I found the book to be interesting but at times frustrating since so many odd details were never explained in a satisfactory way. How the world could turn against Christians and wage war against them as a result of 911 felt very odd and it just left you hanging there. How the world could afford to create a high tech future after several devastating wars was an other. Somehow I got the feeling that all the politically correct forces in the world won and created their dream state.

Mr Macleod has maybe put to much details and background into a story that did not need it.

But it was well worth reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
It's more than a little deplorable that such a quality and thought-provoking read took so many years to become available on this side of the Atlantic. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Patrick St-Denis
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's Rebus ?
I'm sorry but when I read this book I couldn't get Inspector Rebus from my mind. It was set in the near distant future after the faith wars and grandson of Rebus was trying to... Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2011 by joppie
4.0 out of 5 stars Rebus meets Asimov
Any detective novel set in Edinburgh is going to evoke some thoughts of Ian Rankins Inspector Rebus, and McLeod tips his hat to these by setting some of the story in St Leonard's... Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2010 by Lendrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you saved?
In a world containing conscious, religiously inclined robots that can be backed up and incarnated in new bodies, this question is ambiguous, and the ambiguity representative of a... Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2010 by D. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Book purchased for a third party.
Book was purchased for a third party who was very satisfied with both the condition and delivery timescale.
Published on 13 Nov 2009 by R. W. Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion and robots do not mix...
This book takes place in 2021, in Edinburgh, where I live, and Rotorua, New Zealand, which I visited when I worked for four months in Wellington. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2009 by A. J. Poulter
3.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting portrayal of a near future society, but problems with...
I really enjoyed the science fiction ideas in this novel, particularly the exploration of the consequences of religion being more marginalised and the high-tech employed by the... Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2009 by J. Jillians
4.0 out of 5 stars Taggart in the future
Ken Macleod is never less than a good read, and always ready to challenge your perceptions of the world. Read more
Published on 26 April 2009 by A. Key
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly a bit of a mess
I really enjoy Ken Macleod's work, but sadly this was a bit of a let down. I've given it three stars because he is as inventive as ever but the problem is that the narrative just... Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2008 by P. G. Harris
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