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The Quiet War (Gollancz)

The Quiet War (Gollancz) [Kindle Edition]

Paul McAuley
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Description


the fascinating inventiveness of the bio-engineered life-forms, the intricate detail of both the societies and habitats, the complex characters all amounted to a fabulous story. This is a book that has been carefully thought out and the author displays a wealth of knowledge on subjects such as bio-remediation and terraforming. It's a tale well worth taking the time to get into and enjoying McCauley's vision of the future. (SF CROWSNEST)

An impressively realised tale of competing ideologies that tackles pertinent questions. This is big, clever science fiction. (BBC FOCUS)

The author creates a magnificent sense of gravitas and wonder as he describes conflict. The ideas expounded are genuinely fascinating and well thought out. The stage is set for war and it is beautifully handled. (SCI FI NOW)

Few writers conjure futures as convincingly as McAuley: his latest novel deftly combines bold characterisation, a thorough understanding of political complexity, and excellent science. (Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN)

The Quiet War is a cleverly plotted book, laced with compelling science, and McAuley's scientific background shines through. (BOOKGEEK.CO.UK)

It's a complex, multilayered novel, almost an SF version of 'Bleak House' or 'Bonfire of the Vanities'. It's packed with great characters, breathtaking set pieces and intriguing SF ideas. (Dave Golder SFX)

Paul McAuley's new space epic finds him deep in Ken MacLeod territory. McAuley depicts his future plausibly. (PRESS ASSOCIATON)

"With restrained brilliance, McAuley takes that hardy SF perennial, the interplanetary war, and shows us how one might actually develop. This novel shows off many of McAuley's strengths - his solid plotting, his command of scientific theory, his sense of the complex moral and political implications of each advance." (Matt Bielby DEATHRAY)

Combines the damn-the-torpedoes, full speed ahead narrative impetus of a Peter F Hamilton, with the detailed, even meticulous attention to world-building and character development that distinguished Kim Stanley Robinson's classic Mars sequence. McAuley has always been a stylish writer, but he outdoes himself here. The Quiet War marks Paul McAuley's triumphant return to full-bore space opera. (Paul Witcover LOCUS)

Book Description

This exotic, fast-paced space opera turns on a single question: who decides what it means to be human?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 731 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (26 Aug 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043M67B2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,568 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I'm the author of more than twenty books, including science-fiction, thriller, and crime novels, several collections of short stories, a Doctor Who novella, and an anthology of stories about popular music, which I co-edited with Kim Newman. My fiction has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell award, the Sidewise Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award for best short story.

Before I went over to the dark side and became a full-time writer, I worked as a research biologist in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and for six years was a lecturer in botany at St Andrews University. My chief research interest was symbioses between unicellular algae and coelenterates, including green hydra, sea anemones, and reef-forming corals. I'm still a huge fan of all things to do with science, and spend too much time tweeting about weird and wonderful stuff as UnlikelyWorlds; Time magazine listed me as one of their top 140 most interesting tweeters in 2013.

I live in North London, and haven't yet walked down every street in the A-Z. But I'm trying.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, entertaining and serious SF 18 May 2009
McAuley returns to the harder end of the SF range with this expansive and complex novel. The story unfolds on a big scale - it offers heady thrills and exciting set pieces - but as ever with McAuley the real success of the book is down to the powerful and precise characterizations. Stories live or die with how much you care about characters, and the people here, for all their posthuman wonders, are utterly believable and true. Few writers succeed at the macro and micro as well as McAuley. His best novel since White Devils and his best pure SF book since Fairyland.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
There is not much to say about this novel, not because it is bad but because it is extremely good. In fact there is nothing to find fault with. The setting is the solar system, after Earth has been devastated by global warming, and is beginning to rebuild, while thriving colonies have been established on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.

All sounds idyllic but it is not. Earlier, colonists from the Moon fled to Jupiter and Saturn after the colony on Mars was nuked by China. Earth is now controlled by three power blocs, Greater Brazil, the European Union and the Pacific Community. All are run by powerful families who squabble behind the scenes. The poor live in overcrowded cities, denied access to the regenerating countryside. Science is fostered, but mainly to create weapons, sometimes involving brutal biological and psychological re-structuring of people.

In stark contrast, the descendants of the Moon colonists, known as the Outers, live in free communities, run by continuous e-ballots. They delve into the physical and biological sciences, especially genetic engineering, to improve their technologies and bodies and to spread new forms of life by creating new ecosystems on previously sterile moons. The 'Quiet War', a low-intensity conflict with little all out fighting, deliberately engineered by factions in Greater Brazil, breaks out after a reconciliation mission to build an Earth-like habitat on Callisto is sabotaged.

On one hand the novel succeeds as a classic space opera, with a militaristic regime trying to control freedom-loving individualists. There is plenty of action, from a ground assault on a domed city to balletic space battles, using clever weapons and some effective 'dumb' ones, like asteroids used as missiles. Heinlein would be proud.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic hard science fiction 5 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent dystopian science fiction novel. It is set in a future where the earth has been devastated by global warming & subsequent social & political upheavals, many humans have left earth to settle on the outer planets & moons of the solar system. These two principle groupings; the Outers and the Earth are on a collision course. The underpinning science is genetic manipulation but this is only superficially explained and serves really as a backdrop and theme to ponder on rather than a detailed exploration of the pros & cons. Of course (as is always the case with good science fiction) the political game playing reflects 21st century pseudo-democracy and political spin. The characterisation is patchy - some are reasonably fully formed but some are a little thin and underdeveloped although this is probably to be expected given the large cast of characters. There are some set piece chase & battle scenes that are quite effective and overall it reminded me of classic science fiction of the 60s / 70s.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind Science Fiction's Iron Curtain 27 Oct 2010
Let me tell you a story.

In the far-flung future, humanity has spread across the stars. Earth has very probably gone the way of the dodo: if it exists at all, it's a smoldering mess of a planet, barren, stricken, utterly bereft of life or the prospect thereof. We past generations have had our wicked, heathen way with the world, leaving our by-all-accounts more evolved descendants no choice but to venture further afield in order to survive. People have colonised distant planets, moons, built interstellar cruisers, fleets of space-liners. They have gone on.

But resources have become dangerously scarce. Despite centuries of peace, humanity has fallen back on fears it had thought long forgotten. Tensions are at an all-time high; factions squabble with one another; politicians bicker pointlessly. And then someone, somewhere, starts a fight. Like a rash of pimples, war breaks out.

Stop me if you've heard this one before, why don't you!

Evidently, Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author Paul McAuley has. The Quiet War - part the first of a duology concluded in this year's Gardens of the Sun - is smart, self-aware sci-fi from an author who's learned his lesson. It's a novel which takes as its refreshing core tenet not another interminable iteration of the same old space battles we've been reading about for decades - dare I say centuries - but the build-up to boiling point. McAuley's business in The Quiet War is the slow burn which leads to the titular conflict rather than the fast thrash of so much science fiction.

In Professor Doctor Sri-Hong Owen and "the traitor" Macy Minnot, McAuley offers up a pair of narrative chaperones - one on either side of the ever-escalating crisis.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Overtaken by events
It's hard for SF writers to pitch it just right. Some technologies seem to come out of nowhere and turn everything upside down in an instant. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. R. Lamont Abrams
1.0 out of 5 stars long winded
This is a book that starts slow and then never gets going. Confused barely connected parallel plots that frustrate any attempt of building a coherent story. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Catherine Symons
2.0 out of 5 stars "Quiet" is a very appropriate word
I really wanted to enjoy this book, especially when people cited it as excellent classic sci-fi. However, it was so painfully slow. Read more
Published 9 months ago by thed0dgydancer
2.0 out of 5 stars Dune Lite - baroque political drama but without the innovative tech.
Have shelved this series. Really like his work usually but after struggling to make headway on the first book decided (and I almost never do) to give up. Read more
Published 10 months ago by TP
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent amputated trilogy
Excellent. A good read with nice future technology and a good plot. Thinks ... this is Book one of a ripping trilogy but nowhere can I find the title of the Quiet War 2 .. Read more
Published 10 months ago by stupormundi
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book
If you are looking for an in-depth sci fi trilogy that is INCREDIBLY well written then look no further. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Christovski
3.0 out of 5 stars The Green Goddess War??
I wonder if this was a conscious attempt to write a Genesis for Dan Simmons' Hyperion universe? Consider the similarities: genetically modified Outers (albeit in the outer solar... Read more
Published 19 months ago by DB
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Asimov
Wandering and blustery.Quite like the way that the laws of physics(inertia,speed of light etc.)are ignored (like Asimov). Read more
Published 23 months ago by mike millbank
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read - truly unleashes your imagination
The book is fantastic, the narrative is great and the stories are very thrilling. It follows a number of characters and the sheer amount of science makes everything believable to... Read more
Published on 17 July 2012 by AL
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult read, with an awkward narrative style developing after a...
Initially I was very engaged by the plot and characters, with a nice flowing story line. But after about a third of the book it seemed to revert to a he said she said, he did she... Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2012 by J. Carter
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