21 March 2010

Paul McAuley - 400 Billion Stars

Paul McAuleys first novel, about a telepath who has been shanghai'd by the Federal Navy (space navy, obviously, or I wouldn't have been reading it haha.) to investigate a planiformed planet that seems to be devoid of intelligent life.  At the same time, humans have become embroiled in a war with an unknown species and the Navy suspect that the planet in question may have been planiformed by the aliens they are fighting in another star system.  Will Dorthy be able to solve the mystery using the telepathic powers she doesn't really want to use on a planet she doesn't want to be on, surrounded by Navy personell that don't really care what she discovers as long as they can blow something up?

This story is set in the same universe as the quiet war, and we get to see another patriacal bastard treating women like property at best, as beneth contempt at worst thanks to a Major Alvarez of Greater Brazil.  Also features unexpected (and probably unnecessary) sex in the bush, prehistoric terran megafauna and the promise of much more to come in following works.

McAuley clearly had a far greater universe in mind when he wrote this novel, and I for one am pleased about it.  A first rate space opera which reads as suprisingly modern considering it's original publication in 1988.  I give it 400 Billion stars.  haha.