'There is more than a hint of a heroic ethic here, though the hero in question may be more like Milton's Satan than Captain Future. As much fun as [MacLeod's] books provide, it's that fierceness, that seriousness of purpose, that powers their engines and makes me want to read on.' - Locus
'McLeod is writing revolutionary SF . . . A nova has appeared in our sky.' - Kim Stanley Robinson
Life on New Mars is tough for humans, but death's only a minor inconvenience. The machines know their place, and only the Abolitionists object.
Until a young man walks into Ship City, a clone who remembers Jon Wilde's life as an anarchist with nuclear capability, who was accused of losing World War 3. He also remembers Dave Reid, the city's boss, who haunts Wilde's memory to the end ... a cold death in Kazakhstan. In Reid's cyborg concubine, Dee Model, both men see the image of their obsessions, and information that wants to be free. But she has ideas of her own ...
THE STONE CANAL moves from the recent past into a distant future, where long lives and strange deaths await those who survive the wars and revolutions to come.
The acclaimed second novel in the Fall Revolution sequence.
Books by Ken MacLeod:
The Star Fraction
The Stone Canal
The Cassini Division
The Sky Road
Engines of Light
Corporation Wars Trilogy
The Human Front
Learning the World
The Execution Channel
The Restoration Game
British author MacLeod's second novel to be published in the U.S. (after The Cassini Division) opens on New Mars, a distant planet discovered on the other side of a wormhole, where humans resettled after Earth was decimated by World War III. While New Mars is populated by Earthlings, the planet's real labor is done by the "fast folk," nanotech-based artificial intelligence machines that evolve much more quickly than humans. This stratified world was built unwittingly by Jon Wilde and Dave Reid, who met as socialist-minded university students in Glasgow and became two corners of a romantic triangle that later influenced history in myriad ways. MacLeod weaves the story of the two men's complex relationship along two tracks, past and present. In the past, Wilde and Reid both fell for the same woman; Wilde eventually married her and raised a family. In the meantime, Reid built a powerful high-tech company that could grow no further without some changes in the political climate--changes that Wilde is hired to help create. The fallout from this alliance and from Reid's own hidden agenda ultimately lead to the world war and to a reliance on machine intelligence, as well as to the creation of a world where death is impossible as long as you have a waiting clone and a recent brain backup. Thanks to that resurrection technology, Wilde and Reid face each other as enemies again on New Mars. MacLeod's writing is smooth and sure, full of striking images and breathtaking extrapolations of current technology. It's a pleasure and a challenge to read a book where human potential and human foibles are dealt with as thoroughly as is scientific advancement. Fans of William Gibson and of Iain Banks, in particular, will enjoy this visionary novel.