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The Restoration Game Paperback – 7 Apr 2011
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Sly humour, deftly drawn characters and intricate plotting . . . this is a writer at the peak of his powers (SFX)
This is one of the great ironies of contemporary literature: the books that ask the deepest and most profound questions tend to be situated in the most marginalised of genres... Ken MacLeod's [novels] are works of science fiction so worryingly close to rea (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)
The compelling new near-future thriller from the award-winning author of THE EXECUTION CHANNEL and THE NIGHT SESSIONS.See all Product description
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There is a lot of rather complicated soviet era politics in the book, and in that it reminded me of The Star Fraction the start of Ken Macleod's unmissable Fall Revolutions Series. There is a bit of video game development, a bit of romance, and quite a lot of conspiracy.
The book's central idea is one that I found extremely thought provoking. I had to read the start and the end of the book twice before it all made sense!
I'm hoping very much Ken Macleod will use it as an opener for a new series of books tilting off into the future, which will allow him to open the ideas tap even wider.
Mostly it's a good old fashioned spy story with some very modern twists. I really enjoyed it and so will you if you like your sci-fi populated with real people in real situations and not full of robots and Jedis.
Most of the book describes Lucy's (a young woman working for a games developer in Edinburgh) experiences as she is sucked into a bizarre conspiracy which combines the politics of the Caucasus (this is in 2008, the year that tension between Russia and Georgia spilled over), family history, smuggling and the CIA. This is a fast moving strand and there is a good contrast drawn between the stoically ordinary Lucy (who has, though, a dramatic past) and a strange gallery of figures (some relatives) who appear to overturn her life. I was reminded a bit of the setup of a John Buchan novel (though the politics are much further Left). Perhaps the only jarring note here is how readily Lucy agrees to drop everything and go off on a quixotic mission in Krassnia, the Caucasian republic at the centre of things. But that may be explained in the denouement (difficult to say more without giving things away). "Restoration", it turns out, is a theme throughout the book, with a number of different levels of meaning.
But this is more than an action thriller. Framing the book is a different perspective, which recurs here and there in the main narrative, not being resolved until the very end. You can then go back and read the opening section with a completely different level of understanding.
It's all very deftly done, and if this is typical of MacLeod's work, I need to do some catching up with his earlier books. I'd be grateful suggestions about where best to start!
"The Restoration Game" is definitely part of the second hybrid genre, and a good example of it. The central nine tenths could almost have been written by John Le Carre (which is in itself a recommendation), and it is only the top and tail that get the novel put on the SF shelves of the bookshops.
I liked the heroines, and a well-paced plot made the book a definite page-turner. It's the first Ken McLeod I have read, but I'll certainly check out some more of his stuff.
The story cracks on and she discovers her true parentage and gets zapped by an orbital kinetic weapon - splendid! Things finally get exciting, but just when you think its about to really kick off, its finished! She gets a quick visit from the higher whatsit, a brief explanation and thats it. Phut. Not the kind of damp squib I would expect from the brilliant Ken Macleod.
The sci fi premise of this story was done far better by Daniel F Galouye in Simulacron 3.
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I've dragged myself to page of 189 of 342 waiting for something even vaguely science fiction-y to happen and have now given up.Read more
As i read this book I kept on coming up with questions:
Why the prologue...Read more