Copyright 2001 by
I first read this on the 19th September 2002.
A few hundred years in a our future, with the development of pervasive nanotechnology
and utilisation of quantum effects, the solar system is transformed. The air one
breathes, the dust beneath one's feet, are filled with grist, nanotechnological
dust, ready at a moment's notice to support the local embodiment of an artificial
intelligence, or just to make into a glass of water.
Vast cables are looped between the planets, a la Brian Aldiss' Hothouse, although
in this case the cables are super-strong nanotechnology, vibrant with the passage of
real people and of "free convert" awarenesses that can only exist in the virtual
world provided by the nanotechnological grist. People can remain in their physical
bodies, can transfer to the virtual world, or can clone themselves.
And in this wondrous world, a dictator arises: Ames wants it all, wants everything
subsumed to his will, and he wants war.
Against him are an untidy and disorganised array of the inhabitants of the outer
planets; the "cloudships" of the outer system and a hotpotch of ordinary people
whose lives have been uprooted by Ames' ambitions.
I started reading this twice before I was able to persevere long enough
to begin to enjoy it, twice putting it aside to read something more
simple and traditional. I simply couldn't face reading another book about
humanity living virtual lives in computer worlds. As it happened, of
course, when I finally got into the book, it's not much like that at all.
In fact it's pretty standard SF: space travel and colonisation of the planets,
artificial intelligence and space war, evil dictators and ordinary people
forced into revolution. But Daniel has created an unusual world for his SF
Loaded on the 31st October 2002.