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This review is from: River of Gods (Paperback)
This is the second book I've read of Ian McDonalds, the first being Brasyl, and as inventive and quirky as that was, this book is even better. For reasons that have never been entirely clear to me, the UK has IMO never produced a world-class sci-fi writer. With this book Ian McDonald changes all that, joining the ranks of Alfred Bester, Roger Zelazny, William Gibson et al. This is a work of vaulting imagination which draws on the issues, technologies and geopolitical fault lines of today to yield a work which is fresh, fast-paced, and has that textual and linguistic richness that has eluded pretty much all other UK (and European?) writers in this genre. One could argue that this book is stylistically indebted to William Gibson, yet it is none the worse for that and besides which, McDonald is entirely his own man, with a facility for transporting the reader to a strange, yet entirely believable Indian sub-continent, albeit a fractured one, at once colourful, dark, sexy and not a little troubling for those of a nervous disposition. I cannot reccomend this work too strongly.
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Initial post: 2 Apr 2012 05:01:36 BDT
Sirrah PdT says:
Your humble opinion manages to dismiss Douglas Adams, Brian Aldiss, Iain Banks, Stephen Baxter, John Brunner, Anthony Burgess, Arthur Clarke, Fred Hoyle, Aldous Huxley, Tanith Lee, Doris Lessing, Michael Moorecock, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Priest, Mary Shelley, Brian Stableford, Olaf Stapledon, H.G. Wells and John Wyndham.
Good thing it isn't arrogant.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2012 12:26:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Apr 2012 18:19:10 BDT
F. M. Muse says:
Aldiss, Banks, Clarke, Wells, Wyndham etc are in my view quite pedestrian. Burgess was not a sci-fi writer (and this is the genre I was discussing), tho' his 'Earthly Powers' was quite wonderful, whereas I found Stapledon laboured and lugubrious,and Moorcocks early writing - I'm thinking of the Elric series - likewise, tho' the Cornelius books are splendidly inventive. Until McDonald came along Brunners 'Stand on Zanzibar' was quite exceptional and virtually a lone beacon amid a sea of mediocrity. Whilst I'm not overly fond of much that's American, the writers I referred to stand out from the crowd and as with people like Tom Pynchon, their best work has been described as ' stylistically grand baroque' a term which I understand (and use) to describe the kind of multilayered writing, seething with ideas, and at which they excel. With the exception of John Brunner and later Moorcock, none of your nominees (IMO) attains to this. I except Pratchett,Lessing, Priest, Shelley, Baxter and Stableford from this observation on the grounds that I have not read them. You sound to me like some kind of establishment pongo of the kind wheeled out on R4 from time to time to revisit the tired and delusional belief that Wells and Wyndham are somehow representative of sci-fi. I have to tell you they are not. Arrogant? I certainly hope so. Don't want to be seen to be losing my grip.
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