11 March 2010

Paul J McAuley - The Quiet War

Wow.  Just plain wow.  Probably one of the best space opera books ever written. 

McAuleys 2008 novel is set in the early days of humankinds expansion into our solar system, as colonists find their place in the hostile environments around Saturn and Jupiter, and Earth struggles to recover from catastrophic climate change and a completely rearranged political landscape.

Essentially, the novel plays out as a history of the Quiet War, an epic struggle for control of the solar system from the perspectives of multiple characters, including Avernius (the Gene Wizard).  It tackles the issues of genetics/biotech, green politics, climate change and the question of who decides what it means to be human. 

Paul McAuleys universe is one of the better ones out there, with a great range of interesting themes and issues tackled in it.  I am at the moment reading 400 Billion Stars, which is set in the same universe but is tackling human kinds first contact with alien intelligence, while this book dealt with politics and ecology.  I particularly appreciate that the good guys don't always win, and playing nice rarely pays off.  There is a realism to the politics of his stories that is both frightening and authentic.

100 Billion Stars!! Read this book if you even remotely like Space Opera