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3.6 out of 5 stars
Spin State
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 April 2006
Spin state has a lot of good ideas - the focus of the book is the interaction between the main character, a genetically engineered clone, and an AI. This is well done and both are strangely human and well developed.
The quantum theory underpinning the book is less well described, and although the author has obviously read a lot of books, it is clear he does not come from a physics background. Contrast the high concept stuff here with that of Alastair Reynolds, for instance.
However, this is a readable, enjoyable book, and if the characters continue to grow it will be a worthy series to follow.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2006
I really must stop buying books this engrossing... the lack of sleep they're causing is slowly driving me mad!
The tale begins on an action-high, with a covert raid on an unlicensed "wetware" lab... a raid which goes wrong. Our heroine (a battle weary, genetically and cybernetically enhanced soldier) is given the classic get-out-of-jail-free suicide mission to investigate an unusual accident (and death) on the mine planet of Compson World. From this initial premise grows a complex and compelling tale of galactic politics, interplanetary espionage and secret agendas.
The characters and locations are elloquently described, providing the reader with a fully fledged mental picture of the scenes. The use of non-alien based lifeforms (purebred humans, genetically enhanced and modified humans and the ever popular AI characters) are well delivered although a good deal of page-inches are spent describing facial expression in an attempt to portray the underlying puppetmasters of the humanoid characters (under the control of almost any other character using the concept of "shunting").
Only one criticism on the story as a whole, which is the centralised concept of the quantum crystal structures which are the lifeblood of interplanetary travel - it all feels a little too Dune / Spice for comfort...
Overall, a very compelling read with fine pace, action, characters and a satisfying ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2007
As other reviewers have suggested, this is an adventure somewhat along the lines of Richard Morgan or Neal Asher, not to mention Peter Hamilton, where an important element in the plot is the augmentation of humans so that they're in quasi telepathic hard-wired "internet" connection with each other. Likewise the relationship between humans & AIs, particularly the protagonist, Major Catherine Li, and her long-standing AI friend Cohen. This aspect leads to the major plot development which, although not difficult to spot, I will not spoil here. There is also extreme and repeated violence, not least from our very "unfeminine" anti-heroine.

At times Moriarty plunges into the story, especially some of the dialogue, leaving us to understand as best we can what is being discussed. I quite like this to a degree, it's as if we're dragged from the 21st Century & given a glimpse of the future - quite a lot would puzzle us at first. Later come the passages of explanation when we've probably figured out quite a lot which seemed a bit of a let-down or even laboured at times. I also found that some of the dialogue, particularly philosophical discussions went on too long. I can understand why they're there; this is a book about ideas, not just a beat/shoot-em-up, but I would have preferred the process to be streamlined so that the ideas were embedded in the story more, rather than interrupting its progress.

Although It's a long book, the plot turned & twisted just a little too much for me (slipping in & out of VR when Li's experiences were described identically to her real-world ones) & at times I couldn't quite keep tabs on all of the characters. I still enjoyed the book (& stayed awake too many nights finishing just one more chapter) but if you haven't read the authors mentioned above, give them a go too - similar territory but more flowing writing.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2006
This is a workmanlike technothriller - enjoyable enough, but hardly living up to the promises of 'compelling speculative fiction' that I read in the reviews.

The story takes a while to get going, and I found myself 'tsk'ing over some of the engineering (the description of Alba's life support system in particular had me rolling my eyes - it didn't sound at all right). The characters are well described, but they all seemed far too normal to me; frankly, I felt the whole story could have been transplanted to a twentieth century diamond mine without losing much at all. The science fictiony bit felt like a veneer - a well applied, good-looking veneer, but a veneer nonetheless.

What Spin State does have is an action-packed, twisty plot, and characters who talk about relationships. Granted, even the AI groupminds sound like they've just stepped out of a Clive Cussler, but the pace is good, and the second half of the book scoots along nicely. Pick it up for entertainment, not philosophy.
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on 4 December 2013
This is the first time I've bothered to review a book. I threw it away after struggling through nearly 80 pages. You cannot make a story interesting by simply throwing in technobabble which, in this case, seems poorly understood. The bit that really irked was the fact that in this future the miners were, apparently, using Davy Lamps. Hmm! Sorry to the author but....
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on 26 December 2013
Li is a hardened soldier, veteran of various wars who has had her mind wiped so often her sense of identity is more than a little precarious. Her best friend is the mercurial, near-omnipotent AI she knows only as 'Cohen'. Compson's World will test that friendship to its limits and maybe - maybe - help it evolve into something more.....
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12 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2004
Great book, good concept, hard science and believable characters. Mature and fully fleshed. Highly recommended.
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