07 April 2010

Paul McAuley - Gardens of the Sun

  • Author: Paul McAuley
  • Title: Gardens of the Sun
  • Publisher: Gollancz 2009
  • ISBN: 9780575079366

I just finished Garden of the Sun, and can happily recommend it to everyone who enjoys high quality, big vision fiction.  I hate to sound like a fanboy, but OMG AWESOME!!  Seriously brilliant work by McAuley in the latest novel in The Quiet War universe.  Now I am hoping that he will write something about the expansion of human settlement out of the Solar System, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Paul McAuley is the master of New Space Opera, which is my absolute favourite kind of scifi.  Widescreen settings, technology that I would kill to be able to access and a massive political spectrum told from the perspective of individual people makes for truely exciting storytelling, and McAuley, along with Alastair Reynolds, has pretty much written the book on just how effective the large view can be at telling human stories. 

Spoiler Warning - I give away major plot developments and outcomes after the jump.
I can't believe still that McAuley managed to make me like that slimey little bastard after everything else he had done, and then all of a sudden!! (I don't want to spoil it, so you'll have to read the book, but once you have you will know what I am talking about) Sad, funny and unfortunately satisfying all at once.
I did have a few "OMG, he broke the backstory!! OMG, he did it again" moments because I didn't notice the 'sections of this novel have been previously published as short stories' list until the endnote. Yes, that's right.  Previously published short stories have been incorporated into this novel, but the outcomes/locations/characters ages have been variously changed to suit the timeframe or needs of this novel.  I loved all of the Quiet War stories when I first read them, and they were a major factor in how much I rave about McAuleys writing, especially the "Daves Last Testiment" story (I forget the name) and "The Passenger". edit: The Daves Last Testiment story is called "Dead Man Walking" For example, Dave survives the assassin on Luna, rather than dies on Titania? (some moon of Uranus anyway) in the short story.  Didn't piss me off, but did kinda sadden me a bit.

I did feel disappointed to have those stories sort of ruined for me, because they don't fit anymore. That said, in the context of the novel it worked, so people who have not read the short stories won't be bothered, and the rest of us will just have to get over it.  Or pretend that the short stories aren't related to the Quiet War.  Or are from a parallel universe.  Or something.
And if Paul McAuley ever reads this?  Dear Paul, you rock, will you write something with Al Reynolds please?  Love your biggest (maybe) Australian Fan, Nate.

PS It's my birthday, happy birthday to me.  Some bastard kid tried to steal my cigarettes, but I got them back.  J&J bought me an Ian McDonald book, new shoes and a Family Guy dvd.  Thanks everyone for a great day.