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River of Gods Paperback – 4 Apr 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (4 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743404009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743404006
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,941,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A staggering achievement, brilliantly imagined and endlessly surprising ... A brave, brilliant and wonderful novel' -- GUARDIAN

Book Description

A re-issue of the novel that secured McDonald's reputation as one of the most exciting voices in global SF. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Three years after the so-so Ares Express, but it's been worth the wait. This is a big steam-roller of a book --you don't so much read it as experience it; it's a shock to the system in almost every way. There's so much going on it it's almost impossible to adequately describe --Mysterious Artefacts in space, artificial intelligences, a completely computer generated soap opera (it's only a question of time really)weater wars, political intrigue, third-sex 'nutes', genetically engineered 'Brahmins': this is wide-screen SF. More than that, it has the feel of John Brunner's classics: Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, --it's a lived in future, not just a wam-bam story. And it's India! This is a world as alien as any you'll read in a wide-angle space-opera...
Great characters, who generate the story, rather than get pushed around by it, and a cosmic-scale denoument that is perfectly set up, but I for one didn't see coming.
Not the easiest book I ever read, but you come out of it with your head reeling and our world seems dull and pale by comparison.
Oh, and there's cricket too!
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Format: Paperback
River of Gods marks a return to form for Ian McDonald, after the dissapointing Ares Express. It's set in a near-future India, splintered into smaller states. The book takes awhile to get going as there are several protagonists and we are introduced to each in turn, as the plot starts up. This takes time, but is rewarding as we see a multi-faceted view of the society that Indida has become in the near future, and the changes to the human condition that have come with biotechnology and climate change.
The plot is layered and keeps us guessing to the very end. I can't discuss it much here whithout giving too much away, but it's as satisfying and twisty-turny with the same mythic ties as the original Desolation Road, only the mythos here is Indian, not African, and a great deal more interesting. There are occasional passages where he holds up a latter-day mirror to the current-day West, but it's done stubly and doesn't interfere with a read as tightly plotted as a thriller.
In short, a very rewarding read.
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Format: Paperback
River of Gods takes you into an alien (at least alien to my western mind) world of India 50 years hence, with a mix of hi-tech gadgets and third-world slums, Hindu mythology and Bollywood artificial intelligences.
The book consists of the lives of several seemingly unconnected individuals all gradually colliding into a crescendo finish.
It takes a little effort to get into the story, especially as the book is littered with Indian terms mixed with future technology. The Glossary at the back was helpful, though even without it the general context of the phrases can be understood. But pretty soon I was hooked.
An excellent read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite possibly the best science fiction I've ever read...and I've been reading SF since the early 70s. The author's understanding of India and his ability to capture its flavours, its essence, is very impressive. The central concepts (which i won't mention so as not to spoil it) are amazing but very believable. Totally recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is quite a tough book to review. There's much to admire here and it deserves to be a wholly successful piece. But it isn't. McDonald has an impressive imagination and he weaves a complex and convoluted narrative. However, the complexity is purely character-based. There are many main characters and many plot threads, some of which, although quite interesting in their own right, are too obviously engineered to flesh out the story. The effect of this approach is that the minimal plot is made even thinner despite the scale of the work. This is more of a character study than anything else. Now there's nothing wrong with that: most fine literature is character-driven. And, in a genre that's constantly criticised for a lack of such depth, this is good to see. But RIVER OF GODS is something of a pretender. It teases the reader with the promise of a typically big SF story, and in the early stages of the book it appears it might deliver. But then comes the resolution, and it's a bit of a damp squib. My other reservation is that MacDonald's prose is often rather too florid. He tries too hard to impress and his language tends towards the profligate. On the whole though this is an impressive book and worth reading despite its flaws.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good story. Heavy on character. I couldn't get the flow going with this because I kept tripping up over the long and unfamiliar Indian words. Constantly calling up the dictionary too. Still, that's my problem, just saying.

The Nutes were an interesting idea. A bio-engineered third sex. Speaking of which, the sex in here is appalling, as was the attempt to set up a "cool" Music/Club Scene.

The most interesting parts were the 3rd gen A.I's and the Artifact. Underdeveloped threads and wasted opportunities. The thrust of the book lay elsewhere, however.
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Format: Paperback
A roller coaster ride with superlative character development and prose that really paints a picture of the difference in culture between east/west and the rigid societal and religious issues in India. Also greatresearch went into this book as it is authentic in its intepretation of Indian culture. Great SF elements to the story, although feel some of the ideas have been copied from other books (but thats inevitable....I liked this book alot and after spending most of the year reading mediocre old hash, this was refreshing. Good material for a film, maybe Bollywood can come up with something....BUT and its a rather large BUT.....after all the great writing, ideas and the pictures in your head he paints, the ending is something of a damp squib....should have been a bit more grandiose i feel to match the earlier parts of the book. Altogether though worth every penny and ill read it again....
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