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The Stone Canal (The Fall Revolution Series) Paperback – August 7, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: The Fall Revolution Series (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (August 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841490601
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841490601
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,806,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"So it's true what they say: information wants to be free!" But the information in question, in this case, is Dee Model, a sexy, butt-kicking, love-slave android who's just mysteriously become self-aware, eluded her owner, and filed for her own autonomy. And the person making the remark (ironic given that it's a centuries-old reference) is Ax Terminal, a "freelance professional eunuch and part-time catamite," a resident of New Mars, the wormhole-away-from-Jupiter free-market anarchy set up thanks to the fast-folk, an uploaded race of überhumans experiencing reality and evolving at ultrahigh speeds. Android Dee, as it turns out, may have been nudged toward freedom by Jon Wilde, her cloned body's former husband (they met at Glasgow University back in the '70s), who just recently came back from the dead (revived by himself, in robot form) to join in the struggle between robot abolitionists and the malicious boss man of New Mars, David Reid (Wilde's former rival and owner of the sex slave that happens to be a cloned copy of Wilde's former wife). Now this is what great science fiction is all about.

Action-packed, inventive, and satisfyingly weird, Ken MacLeod's Stone Canal (the retroactively U.S.-released prequel to The Cassini Division) lets loose with a steady stream of challenging ideas and novel technology, taking on questions of free will, identity, and the nature of consciousness, all the while telling a bang-up story. Reminiscent of K.W. Jeter's best work, The Stone Canal certainly deserves a look. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

British author MacLeod's second novel to be published in the U.S. (after The Cassini Division) opens on New Mars, a distant planet discovered on the other side of a wormhole, where humans resettled after Earth was decimated by World War III. While New Mars is populated by Earthlings, the planet's real labor is done by the "fast folk," nanotech-based artificial intelligence machines that evolve much more quickly than humans. This stratified world was built unwittingly by Jon Wilde and Dave Reid, who met as socialist-minded university students in Glasgow and became two corners of a romantic triangle that later influenced history in myriad ways. MacLeod weaves the story of the two men's complex relationship along two tracks, past and present. In the past, Wilde and Reid both fell for the same woman; Wilde eventually married her and raised a family. In the meantime, Reid built a powerful high-tech company that could grow no further without some changes in the political climate--changes that Wilde is hired to help create. The fallout from this alliance and from Reid's own hidden agenda ultimately lead to the world war and to a reliance on machine intelligence, as well as to the creation of a world where death is impossible as long as you have a waiting clone and a recent brain backup. Thanks to that resurrection technology, Wilde and Reid face each other as enemies again on New Mars. MacLeod's writing is smooth and sure, full of striking images and breathtaking extrapolations of current technology. It's a pleasure and a challenge to read a book where human potential and human foibles are dealt with as thoroughly as is scientific advancement. Fans of William Gibson and of Iain Banks, in particular, will enjoy this visionary novel. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ken MacLeod's SF novels have won the Prometheus Award and the BSFA award, and been shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He lives near Edinburgh, Scotland.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on July 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Stone Canal is Ken MacLeod's second novel. It is in the same future history as his first novel (The Star Fraction) and his third novel (The Cassini Division) but it can be read without difficulty on its own, and I found it to stand alone just fine. At a first brush, MacLeod reads like "Iain Banks meets Bruce Sterling". The novel's opening, with a somewhat smart-alecky "human- equivalent" robot briefing a confused newly-awakened man, and its structure, alternating chapters on different timelines, definitely echo some of Banks' work. (Note that Banks acknowledges MacLeod's help with Use of Weapons, in terms which suggest to me that he may have helped with that book's unusual structure.) The deeply political concerns, and central character's habit of talking at length about politics, as well as some of the technology and the attitude towards technology, reminded me of Sterling (and also, in a different way, Kim Stanley Robinson. Which is to say, at times this book is a bit talky.) But in the final analysis, The Stone Canal is a very original, very impressive novel. It's true SF, chock full of sense of wonder concepts, interested in new technology, in future politics, and in how technology affects politics (and human life in general).
The novel opens with a man awakening in the desert of a Mars-like planet, accompanied by a "human-equivalent" robot. Soon we meet another robot, Dee Model, this one a "gynoid" (female android), who has escaped her owner (for whom she was a sex toy), and is proclaiming her autonomy. The man is soon revealed to be Jonathan Wilde, a legendary figure of political resistance among the inhabitants of New Mars, and the gynoid is based on a clone of Wilde's long-dead wife.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bluejack on April 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Imagine you wake up perfectly healthy, but naked in a strange place with your most recent memory being shot and killed in a snowstorm.
This is the predicament of Jonathan Wilde, who discovers not only that he is a resuscitation of himself on a strange planet in a distant future, but a few other things as well:
* A robotic copy of his wife has been existing as a sex slave for a man he once thought a friend;
* This man is also the one who killed him;
* Someone with his name has been building quite a legend around the world he has woken up in;
* The machine that apparently brought him to life might just be yet another copy of himself;
MacLeod is a very talented storyteller: not only is this mystery compelling, but he approaches the central puzzle not only from this distant future but also from the past. Two timelines interweave as we see the fascinating and complicated relationship between Wilde and a college buddy at once more involved in actual radical politics and also more worldly. The uncomfortable friendship between these two very believable characters takes on different dimensions over time as they compete for the love of one woman, and as their respective politics move in different directions.
The comparison with Kim Stanley Robinson is unavoidable, for both good and ill. Prior to discovering Ken MacLeod, the only science fiction writer since Ursula LeGuin who really tackled social, political, and economic issues that I have stumbled across has been Robinson. But where Robinson strongly imagines a realistic future evolution of political ideas and the clash between corporation, state, and individual, MacLeod is using science fiction to explore philosophical ideas of socialism, marxism, corporate responsibility, and anarchy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on January 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Unfortunately, "The Stone Canal" was released after the "Cassini Division" in the States. I say unfortunately because this sets a stage that will make the beginning of "The Cassini Division" much easier to understand. So make sure to read "The Stone Canal" first.
That said, by no means skip this book if you haven't read it already. It is in many ways more entertaining than "The Cassini Division", although I found it packed less of a punch intellectualy. Even so, this is a smart book, written by a very smart author. It looks at society in a way that no other SF I am aware of does. As I said about its companion "The Stone Canal" is more of a political/moral tale hidden in SF clothing. It is a truly original, outstanding work that stands both on its own merits, and as a prequel to "The Cassini Division".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Svein Olav Nyberg on February 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a recommendation for all of the author's books. He has a very different twist to Sci-Fi than most other authors I've read. Much more personal, and grounded in a contemporary Scottish reality that makes his books seem a believable extension of our own times. All the while having elements like Artificial Intelligence, very exotic politics, nano-technology and competing providers (sellers) of nuclear deterrence to the micro-nations that make up the future Earth.
I would, however, strongly recommend reading his books in sequence. While The Stone Canal is less dependent on The Star Fraction than the later books are dependent on these two, so that it can be read independently, I would still recommend reading the Star Fraction first.
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