The Star Fraction
Copyright 1995 by
I first read this on the 8th February 2002.
In an anarchic cyberpunk United Kingdom fifty years or so in the
future, WWIII has been and gone. The USA and United Nations jointly
supervises a fragmented nuclear-weapons-free world. The UN has the moral
authority. The USA
has the big guns: the orbital defense lasers, ready to beam
down on any offense against the strict control of technology. On the ground
the UN Police, the Stasis, prowl and interdict illegal technological
The UK has seen multiple rulers overthrown: the old "Hanoverian"
government has been and gone, it's successor, the New Republic, is in exile.
London has become a dense complex of
balkanized city-states upholding diverse moral and political ideals.
Janis Taine, a scientist researching into memory drugs has a most
unwelcome, and very scary, visit from the Stasis.
Moh Kohn is a security specialist with an unnervingly intelligent Gun.
He has got himself a new contract to protect Janis Taine. It's simply
unfortunate that he's accidentally dosed himself with the some of
Jordan Brown, a computer expert, has fled his home town of Beulah
City, a fundamentalist Christian enclave. He is beginning to experience the
uncertain delights of Freedom in North London Town, Norlonto.
Soon the three of them will be on the run together from the agents of
the United Nations. Their only hope of support and refuge is from the
terrorist Army of the New Republic, if it still exists.
This is Ken MacLeod's first novel, and it's fabulous. It's dizzying, with far too many characters for me to even
keep track of, let alone remember. MacLeod's brief dalliance with cyberpunk
has produced a classic. There are politics and humour
Benson & Hedges Moscow Gold
and some lovely writing
There were times when Kohn loathed the Left, when some monstrous stupidity
almost, but never quite, outweighed the viciousness and venality of
the system they opposed.
The ending blew me away. The last few lines of the penultimate chapter
They caught the airship to Guiné
were superb. This single paragraph makes the whole book worthwhile.
Ken MacLeod is such an excellent writer. If you haven't already read this
book read it now. If you've already read this, you'll know to read it again
Loaded on the 1st June 2003.