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The Quiet War Paperback – September 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591027810
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591027812
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Shortlisted for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, this sweeping interplanetary adventure is also a thoughtful examination of human nature. The few people remaining on feudal 23rd-century Earth are obsessed with repairing the damaged ecosystem, while the near-anarchic Outers, who fled to the solar system's outer worlds, would rather probe the atmosphere of Saturn and grow gardens in vacuum. Earth tries to rein in the Outers with a campaign of intrigue, assassination and sabotage that culminates in bloody carnage. McAuley (Cowboy Angels) moves deftly among five well-drawn characters in the thick of the action: a cloned spy, a hotshot pilot, a ruthless scientist, a bluntly independent biological engineer and an unscrupulous diplomat. They all, in different ways, must choose between the familiar and the new, struggling to reconcile conflicting desires. This compelling tale opens vast panoramas while confronting believable people with significant choices. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"the fascinating inventiveness of the bio-engineered life-forms, the intricate detail of both the societies and habitats, the complex characters all amounted to a fabulous story. This is a book that has been carefully thought out and the author displays a wealth of knowledge on subjects such as bio-remediation and terraforming. It's a tale well worth taking the time to get into and enjoying McCauley's vision of the future." SF CROWSNEST "An impressively realised tale of competing ideologies that tackles pertinent questions. This is big, clever science fiction." BBC FOCUS "The author creates a magnificent sense of gravitas and wonder as he describes conflict. The ideas expounded are genuinely fascinating and well thought out. The stage is set for war and it is beautifully handled." SCI FI NOW "Few writers conjure futures as convincingly as McAuley: his latest novel deftly combines bold characterisation, a thorough understanding of political complexity, and excellent science." -- Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN "The Quiet War is a cleverly plotted book, laced with compelling science, and McAuley's scientific background shines through." BOOKGEEK.CO.UK "It's a complex, multilayered novel, almost an SF version of 'Bleak House' or 'Bonfire of the Vanities'. It's packed with great characters, breathtaking set pieces and intriguing SF ideas." -- Dave Golder SFX "Paul McAuley's new space epic finds him deep in Ken MacLeod territory. McAuley depicts his future plausibly." PRESS ASSOCIATON "With restrained brilliance, McAuley takes that hardy SF perennial, the interplanetary war, and shows us how one might actually develop. This novel shows off many of McAuley's strengths - his solid plotting, his command of scientific theory, his sense of the complex moral and political implications of each advance." -- Matt Bielby DEATHRAY "Combines the damn-the-torpedoes, full speed ahead narrative impetus of a Peter F Hamilton, with the detailed, even meticulous attention to world-building and character development that distinguished Kim Stanley Robinson's classic Mars sequence. McAuley has always been a stylish writer, but he outdoes himself here. The Quiet War marks Paul McAuley's triumphant return to full-bore space opera." -- Paul Witcover LOCUS --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

This book has way too much description.
Learner
It's refreshing to have the stunning ideas combined with tight plotting and thriller-esque page turning.
Mark Crane
The writer's vision of the future is fascinating, but I don't think it is well thought out.
Kevin Mccarthy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 73 people found the following review helpful By John W. Kelly on March 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've enjoyed several of Paul McAuley's novels, and bought this book the instant I saw it. The back cover promised an exciting, intelligent story. After 70 pages I did something I rarely do--I put it back on the shelf. This book needed a strong editor.

If the following excerpt from page 68 excites you, or if you love Kim Stanley Robinson's novels, or if you have a lot of time and patience, you would probably like this novel.

"Soil was not a random mixture of inorganic, organic and living material; it was highly structured at every level, fractally so. Stratified and textured and dynamic, it supported a myriad complex chemical reactions that were still not completely understood, mediated by soil water and air moving through pore spaces that occupied up to fifty percent of soil by volume. Soil water also transported material through processes such as leaching, eluviation, illuviation and capillary action, and supported a rich and highly diverse biota--hundreds of varieties of soil bacteria of course, and cyanobacteria, microalgae, fungi, and protists, as well as nematodes and worms, and insects, and other small arthropods--that recycled macro- and micro-nutrients, decomposed organic material, and mixed and transported and aerated mineral and organic components. In natural conditions on Earth, it took about four hundred years to produce a centimetre of topsoil; a thousand years to produce enough to support agriculture...."

I see that there is a sequel to this novel. If passages like those above had been excised, and the exposition tightened up, perhaps the story could have been told in one better volume.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on September 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Quiet War is Space Opera that hits close to home and is surprisingly digestible with its pacing. I find many Space Opera's a bit overdone, but that is not the case here. In fact this is the first must-read Sci-fi book of the year. The Quiet War having already been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award is quite deserving.

Earth and the outer separatist colonies have been at odds for the past 200 odd years. Earth is recovering from a planetary wide environmental collapse, which seems all too feasible presently. A Green fervor has taken hold of the people and the politics as they have repairing the planet, which leaves all of the power to the most wealthy families. The colonies exists as an egalitarian societies loosely connected, where debates run rampant and action is slow.

However, the people of Earth and the colonies are diverting on more than just politics. The colonies are situated on moons around planets in our solar system where they have been changing themselves genetically for generations to adapt to these new environments and also lengthening their life spans to hundreds of years. Many now consider them a separate species and as the gap widens so does the trust each group has for the other. Earth's own attempts at toying with humanity's capabilities are quite startling, especially the creation of the people on the moon, which I wish were used a tad more.

The Quiet War shows that no matter what side you are on, throwing yourself too much in any direction can take you further away from your goal as so much scheming is going on you never know when a favor will be called in. Nearly every character is a pawn in a greater game of chess. Just when you think you've reached the Queen a new piece swoops in to take position.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Theresa May on October 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good plot idea, starts out with good characters, but where's the development? By 40 0r 50 pages into the book, I wanted the author to stop lurching from idea to idea, and concentrate on something.I was left feeling the characters were just brushed in, and you couldn't really get into any of them. at least I couldn't. And to call this a Space opera, well, the books title, the quiet war, had it right, it was so quiet I missed the war. The ending, where the gene wizard gives a speech about humanity, left me feeling huh? about the whole book. Disappointing, to say the least
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jvstin VINE VOICE on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Back in the 1990's, I went through a spurt of reading the novels of Paul McAuley. His SF aligned perfectly with my tastes, from Fairyland to Pasquale's Angel to the Confluence Trilogy, one of my favorite SF series of all time.

I didn't read his SF techno-thrillers, but I am very happy that he has now returned to straight main-line science fiction with The Quiet War.

The Quiet War is set in a solar system after "The Overturn", when the 20th and 21st century geopolitics and fossil fuel economy world have withered under devastating climate change and political upheaval The powers of the 23rd century on Earth are Greater Brazil, the European Union and the Pacific Community. Family-based Autocracy is the new politics, Gaia is the official religion and the powers on Earth work to try and repair the damage done by the near extinction-event.

Out in the Jovian and Saturnian moon systems, however, the Outers carry on with Democracy, experimentation, and innovation. The Outers explore the boundaries of what it means to be human, as they carve out lives in the bleak and dangerous landscape of moons such as Callisto, Rhea, and Titan.

These two visions cannot long remain out of conflict, even if separated by millions of kilometers of space. The Quiet War tells the start of the story of that conflict, of the forces pushing for and against war, and, finally, the details of the "short, quiet war".

McAuley's return to Space Opera is a return to themes he has explored before, on a canvas that runs from Earth to Saturn. Gene-manipulated individuals, as in Fairyland here ,are in full flower, from the experimentation of the Outers to the "Daves", a set of clones created by Greater Brazil to be tools of war and espionage in the upcoming conflict.
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