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Gardens of the Sun (Gollancz) Hardcover – October 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Gollancz
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575079363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575079366
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,680,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After The Quiet War (2009), the Outers flee to the farthest reaches of the solar system, to find someone else already there. The Ghosts have been planning for the future they believe is preordained and will make no compromise that might harm it. The governing families back on earth, while scrambling to deal with fallout from the war, bicker among themselves until a long-brewing revolution finally erupts. Sri Hong-Owen is still looking for Avernus, following in her footsteps, trying to unravel the riddles of Avernus’ gardens. Loc Ifrahim, still trying to gain some recognition, struggles not to get caught by the backlash against his patrons. Macy Minnot, exiled with the Outers, fights for her new community’s survival. A successful and convincing wrap-up of the repercussions of a war fought over the direction of human evolution, Gardens of the Sun is as gripping as its predecessor, with a long, complex buildup culminating in a spectacular vision of the future. --Regina Schroeder --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Weaving a plot that constantly keeps you guessing about what might happen next, McAuley's vision of the future is compelling and vivid. A hugely impressive near-future space opera." -- James Blackwell SFX "He subtly explores what makes us human." -- Jonathan Wright BBC FOCUS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Paul McAuley's first novel won the Philip K. Dick Award, and he has gone on to win almost all of the major awards in the field. For many years a research biologist, he now writes full-time. McAuley's novel The Quiet War made several "best of the year" lists, including SF Site's Reader's Choice Top 10 SF and Fantasy Books of 2009. He lives in London. Visit him online at unlikelyworlds.blogspot.com .

Customer Reviews

I skimmed most of the rest of the book just to see how it ended.
Learner
He has used the limitations imposed upon us by the laws of physics to limit his story to this solar system, while showing in detail just how BIG this space really is.
Gary 7
Paul McCauley provides a thought provoking yet exciting fast-paced futuristic thriller.
Harriet Klausner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I went into Gardens of the Sun with eagerness, but also somewhat trepidatiously as The Quiet War was one of my favorite Science Fiction reads last year. Would McAuley loose the sense of the characters? Would the continuation of their story seem unneeded? Is there more to learn about this incredible vision of the future?

Most of my fears were quite unfounded as McAuley was able to put a nice cap on this Universe and a fitting end to most of the characters. Gardens of the Sun picks up not long after the close of The Quiet War, but it leaps months and sometimes years in the narrative as it moves along. During The Quiet War it felt as though the characters were pushed by larger powers while now they are fighting to make their own destinies

An odd juxtaposition occurred while reading Gardens of the Sun in terms of me liking and connecting with certain characters. In The Quiet War I was drawn to Sri Hong-Owen and Ken Shinto (the spy). While in Gardens of the Sun it is Loc Ifrahim and Macy who standout the most. Macy has always struggled to fit in wherever she went and now in exile with the other free outers, including her now husband, she still is pushed aside despite all she has left behind to be among them. Loc was probably the least ambiguous character in the first book with his underhanded and backstabbing ways. This time around McAuley does try to reform him to a certain degree and by the end I was shocked to find I actually liked him.

A sense of tension and inevitably that was present in War is missing though. You knew a war was coming in the first, but with Gardens you are left with more of a sense of the unexpected, which McAuley delivers in spades. Especially in regards to Avernus and Sri.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim Molnar on May 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel and its predecessor The Quiet War are a welcome change of pace from all the non-stop action Hollywood-style blockbuster SF that's been going around. By taking a little time to describe the beauty of the solar system, the biology of engineered ecosystems and the creative inspiration involved in their design, the passage of time during slower-than-light travel, the author allows us to actually feel the world he has built and experience it as participants rather than ADD-addled thrillseekers looking to get to the next plot point. I for one hope this foreshadows the next phase of SF, less hyper, with thorough exposition and background structure. Here the smoke and mirrors have gelled into something a little more substantial, and you feel like the story is something that could really happen. The offbeat choice of characters and their less-than-predictable destinies also add to the realism and gives us a sense of respect for the story and the broad themes which could fuel a whole graduate course. Finally, I commend Mr. McAuley for the quiet confidence of and poetic undertow in his writing, which make it more than easy-to-digest disposable junk and compel the reader toward contemplation and appreciation of life, its preciousness, and its fragility.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Three Powers Alliance of Greater Brazil, the European Union, and the Pacific Community won the Quiet War. To the victors go the spoils, but first the winners must deal with the conquered Outers and their cities on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn before plundering the scientific and technological advancements of the defeated leading to prison camps and forced cooperation. A century of enlightened pragmatic rationalism in the Milky Way has returned to the Dark Ages of repression.

Some Outers escape the deadly incarceration of the "Final Solution" fleeing to the Uranus moon of Miranda, but chased further away from the sun by the Greater Brazil armada to Neptune's moon Triton. An enigmatic leader directed allegedly by a future version of himself and followed by Outer "Ghost" cultists takes Outers further out in the solar system to Nephele. There the surviving Free Outers change colonization techniques from permanent to portable as they construct detachable "Gardens of the Sun" habitats. Meanwhile other Outers push diverse surviving techniques starting with the natural habitat genetic genius Avernus with her "gardens" and the human pragmatic cutting by Sri Hong-Owen. Thus beyond the inner planets where the sun is weak, humans still seek the light of knowledge while on earth people demand freedom having learned of the heroism of the Outers even in defeat. .

This is a fascinating science fiction sequel to the Quiet War, which makes two strong assertions. First even in the deadliest of dictatorships, there are tiny lights of enlightenment trying to find a means to get free, and second that war makes the victors pay exorbitant costs and consequences.
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Format: Paperback
Paul McAuley's "Gardens of the Sun" (Pyr, $16, 412 pages) is a followup to the very good "The Quiet War," which should be read first, but "Gardens of the Sun" is even better.

The two books are set in the not-too-distant future, when humanity has figured out how to survive on the various moons and asteroids of the solar system, thanks in great part to the work of gene wizards such as Avernus and Sri Hong-Owen. They devise organisms that extract basic, edible chemical compounds from rock that contains carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, using only sunlight, and dim sunlight at that, as energy.

McAuley, though he gives full attention to the hard science of his complex story, never lets the pace flag. Earth, weakened in the aftermath of an ecological collapse, is still the dominant power, but the Outers, as the residents of space are called, want to move humanity in new directions. The political and military complexities are neatly drawn, and the main characters are not the usual heroic types.

Unlike many books, "Gardens of the Sun" moves quickly, surprises with plot twists, and yet takes the time to develop character and motivation. So read "The Quiet War," if you haven't yet, follow up immediately with "Gardens of the Sun" - and, as obsequious waiters love to say, enjoy.
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