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A bit of holy fire is lacking in Sterling,
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This review is from: Holy Fire (Paperback)
The book is a highly intriguing piece of writing and the world Sterling creates - a 2095 Earth, where life extension treatments have created a society run and designed by gerontocrats poses some very real and interesting questions about our future.
Mia Ziemann (aka Maya) - the book's protagonist - is a typical responsible gerontocrat working for the medical-industrial complex. Eventually she decides to participate in a relatively new medical treatment, which promises better life extension possibilities (at a greater risk) and she emerges with the body, urges and desires of a 20 year old woman, with most of her 95 year old mind and experience remaining intact. In the sense of the conflict created that way, Sterling does a wonderful job in the book. He also directionally points out most of the issues that would arise from a gerontocratic society - issues that are slowly creeping up even now.
Where I find him less convincing is that I cannot shake the impression that a lot of this 2095 world is hedged bets, in an attempt to make it more similar to the world of today and hence more easy for current readers to identify with. In that ense some more holy fire on his part, where he jumps into the world a bit more wholeheartedly, would be welcome in my opinion.
The other reason I feel the book is not quite a 5 star in my opinion is the somewhat rushed ending - as if there was a maximum page number to work with and the book had to come to a close.
Overall this still makes for a very fascinating read and should be on every futurologists to read list.