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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Risen Empire

Copyright 2003 by Scott Westerfield

In Association with Amazon.com In Association with Amazon.co.uk
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 8th June 2005.

A couple of thousand years in the future, humanity is united under the Risen Empire across its eighty worlds. Power is balanced between the Risen Emperor and the Senate. Another more subtle balance is that of the living and the dead. For in the Risen Empire, the dead, if deemed worthy, are reanimated to live rarified, eternal life.

The empire has an enemy however. The Rix are human cyborg warriors, dedicated to the creation of conscious artificial intelligences from the combined computer mentality of entire planets. The Emperor, and his Empire, are implacably opposed to the promotion of artificial awareness.

Now the Rix are once again attacking the Empire. Caught in the midst is Laurent Zai, the brilliant and indomitable Captain of the warship Lynx.

Back home, or rather back on the planet Home, Senator Nara Oxham, opponent of the Emperor and the power of the risen dead, will find herself fighting not only for her own life, but for that of the Empire, She's going to face decisions with appalling consequences, and she will stand along against the wrath of the mighty Empire.

Fab stuff. I bought the book because I enjoyed "Fine Prey" and "Polymorph" by this author. I'd forgotten that he'd also written "Evolution's Darling" which I didn't particularly enjoy. He has done very well with this novel. It's got great ideas, brave heroes and frightful enemies, set in a backdrop of this magnificent but stagnant empire. And of course, the risen dead, reincarnated to live forever with the aid of advanced technology, and I think I know how that must feel, bearing mind how wrecked I felt this morning, and how the coffee and tobacco lifted me back up to sweet consciousness.

Buy this book.

I chuckled at the idea that Amazon was the source of the first self-awakening artificial awareness. Thus it's apt of course that the supporters of these artificial consciousnesses are warrior women. It certainly encourages me to buy my future purchases through Amazon, perhaps it may even help me to choose books on criteria other than the cover illustration.

Note that the Amazon.com edition is the first of the two books contained within the book I reviewed (and which is available as a massive, but rather heavy, blockbuster from Amazon.co.uk.

Loaded on the 14th August 2005.
Cover of The Risen Empire
Cover art by Stephen Martiniere

Reviews of other works by Scott Westerfield:
Fine Prey
Evolution's Darling

Reviews of other works with covers by Stephen Martiniere:
Dark Light
Building Harlequin's Moon