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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Cosmonaut Keep

Copyright 2000 by Ken MacLeod

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this on the 1st November 2001.

Fifty years from now all of Europe has become communist, struggling along amid the normal corruption, conspiracies and schisms of the socialist world. The United Kingdom is just a state within this Soviet European Community. America exists in fervent opposition to Europe, the two sides mutually incomprehensible.

Our hero Matthew Cairns is an project manager working in IT and he's surprisingly good at his job. However, there's another side to Matt, he's also something of a revolutionary, a subversive.

As the European government announces, astonishingly, that their cosmonauts have made contact with aliens of god-like power and knowledge, Matt receives - to his utter amazement - secret plans for for a stardrive and a starship.

Meanwhile far from Earth, there is a region of space known to its inhabitants as the Second Sphere. The inhabitants of this Second Sphere are all from Earth, other intelligent species, abducted by these god-like aliens, snatched at intervals throughout Earth's history, starting before the dinosaurs and continuing through to the present.

But with the stardrive that Matt has acquired Earth's cosmonauts will be going to this Second Sphere, not as abductees, but flying themselves.

This is great, predictably. The Second Sphere plot is a good foundation for an SF novel, or indeed a series. There is mystery and there is room for adventure and excitement. But it's the other narrative, Matthew's experiences in 2049, that makes this novel so successful. It adds a realism, an immediacy that makes you feel it could be happening to you.

Loaded on the 31st January 2003.
Cover of Cosmonaut Keep
Cover art by Lee Gibbons

Reviews of other works with covers by Lee Gibbons:
Singularity Sky
Iron Sunrise
Stealing Light
Engine City (The Engines of Light, Book 3)
Learning The World
Ringworld's Children
Sister Alice
The Well Of Stars

Reviews of other works with covers by Lee Gibbons and The Pinpoint Design Company:
The Archivist