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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Hot Head

Copyright 1992 by Simon Ings

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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 in 1994.

This is the story of Malise Arnim, a Muslim brought up in Europe, a woman almost always on the outside of whatever group there is. In the first war against AIs Malise was a warrior. When Earth was attacked by Moonwolf, the lunar AI, Malise became a heroine to the whole world.

However, after the war she is cast away, cast down to Earth. With her military cybernetic enhancements removed, she is virtually blinded.

Now an asteroid has been ejected from Jupiter. It is artificial, a gigantic conglomeration of replicating AIs whose sole purpose is to scavenge, to consume. It is aimed at Earth and it is growing exponentially as it consumes whatever is in its path. Earth has only eight days before disaster strikes.

Once more they need Malise to save the world.

It came at the height of cyberpunk and was an excellent first novel and excellent cyberpunk. In fact, though, it is more than that. It is also a stunning portrait of an unhappy woman and a lovely tale of redemption.

I have read the sequel "Hot Wire" but haven't worked through the rest of his half-dozen or so books. If they are as good as this, then I'll have been a dolt and must read them immediately before SF Reviews's dismal reputation gouges a deeper furrow across the bedrock.

By the way I always liked the cute cover illustration by Stephen Player. Not that that is the how I pictured Malise.

Loaded on the 29th March 2007.
Cover of Hot Head
Cover art by Stephen Player

Reviews of other works by Simon Ings: