- 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 (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Cassini Division: Book Three: The Fall Revolution Series: A Fall Revolution Novel Paperback – 3 Jun 1999
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very inventive but too much obsessed with politics which get in the way of the story.Published 19 months ago by Malcolm W.
The Cassini Divison is beyond doubt a sci-fi lover's dream. Spaceships. Alien races who need nuking. Read morePublished on 7 Jun. 2009 by Nayu
Enjoyable, and indeed fast moving. A review of your basic Sci-Fi thing at the moment: AI, GE, VR. The story is told in the first person, which is unusual, I think, for a sci-fi of... Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 2001 by firstname.lastname@example.org
A great plot done justice by the superb development of characters and gradual uncovering of secret agendas. Read morePublished on 16 July 1999
MacLeod writes hard SF that is strong on technolgy, has well developed characters and story line, is witty and beautifully written. Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 1999