Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Cosmonaut Keep (Engines of Light) Mass Market Paperback – January 7, 2002
|New from||Used from|
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Like a British--specifically, Scottish--counterpart of Bruce Sterling, Ken MacLeod is an SF author who has thought hard about politics and delights in making unlikely alternatives plausible, grippingly readable, and often downright funny.
Cosmonaut Keep swaps between two timelines whose characters share the ultimate goal of interstellar travel. In an uncertain future on the far world of Mingulay, human colonists live in the title's ancient, alien-built Keep--coexisting with reptilian "saurs," trading with visiting ships piloted by krakens, and hiding their laborious "Great Work" of developing human-guided navigation between the stars.
Meanwhile, alternate chapters present a mid-21st-century Earth whose EU is (to America's horror) Russian-dominated with a big red star in the middle of its flag. Rumors of alien contact abound, and computer whiz kid Matt Cairns finds himself carrying a data disk of unknown origin that offers antigravity and a space drive.
Clearly, the later storyline's Gregor Cairns is Matt's descendant. There are ingenious connections and surprises, with witty resonances between their wild careers, their travels, and their bumpy love lives. The foreground action adventure points to a bigger picture and a master plan known only to the godlike hive-minds who built the "Second Sphere" of interstellar culture, and who regard traditional SF dreams of unlimited human expansion through space as precisely equivalent to floods of e-mail spam polluting the tranquil galactic net.
Cosmonaut Keep opens MacLeod's new SF sequence, Engines of Light. It's highly entertaining and intelligent, promising more good things to come. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Scottish author MacLeod (Cassini Division) crafts an intricate tale, with two thematically linked plots that focus, in different ways, on human travel between the stars and the aliens who help them. Circa 2040 computer guru Matt Cairns flees from Scotland to the United States, then to a space station; he possesses crucial information supplied by aliens that may provide the means for humans to travel the stars. His adventures happen at a critical moment in history: soon after aliens contact a space station, the political situation on Earth rapidly destabilizes. Two hundred years later, biologist Gregor Cairns, a descendant of the cosmonauts who colonized the planet Mingulay, realizes that navigating the stars may be within the grasp of humans, and he sets out to find some of the long-lived crew of the Bright Star, the original starship to reach the planet. Gregor's investigation of the aliens who pilot interplanetary craft the friendly but uncommunicative saurs and the huge kraken eventually leads to a surprising link between past and present. MacLeod handles the strands of the plot deftly, weaving one beautifully realized world with the other and highlighting the parallels between the two. Rarely does a book demand so much of the reader and then deliver. Densely written with a remarkable depth of cultural texture, though occasionally confusing in its politics (which includes socialists, "Webblies" and libertarian capitalists), MacLeod's story is spoiled only by the false notes of two parallel love interests. (May 30)Nebula and the Arthur C. Clarke awards.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
First, the near future part of the book is utterly unbelievable. How could ALL of the NATO nations be overwhelmed by one power? Come on!
Second, the far future part of this book has humans co-existing with aliens in castles without central heating, poverty and disease, while starships visit them plying trade.
Honestly, it reads like the author was plucking ideas from a silly tree.
Much like his previous books, Macleod has filled this one with quirky, conlicting (and conflicted) politcal theories. It is in this regard that he shines as one of the smartest authors around today. He writes with the authority of a polical scientist, but never comes across as dogmatic. I suspect that in real life he is left of center, but the politcal philosophies his characters espouse are really just vehicles to drive the plot.
Finally, one positive, one negative. On the positive side, the characters in "Cosmonaut Keep" are Macleod's best yet. They show a level of depth that is just amazing; a level I didn't find in his previous works. On the negative side, "Cosmonaut Keep", like Macleod's other novels is told in alternating time periods. This proves to be a very creative way to intertwine seemingly disparite storylines, but it is handled poorly in the first half of this novel. Macleod should have been more careful in the details he reveals, as I found myself hopelessly confused 50 pages in. In the end all becomes clear, but this is a tough novel to get into as a result.
Ultimately, though, "Cosmonaut Keep" is a smart, entertaining beginning to what promises to be a great series. Enjoy!
In the vein of William Gibson's Neuromancer, we are shown a cyberpunk distopia on the verge of a transformative shift or it's own destruction, but peopled by characters both interesting and familier enough to be our guides (rather like Larry Niven's Ring World series); as well as a front row seat to Humanity's awareness of the true nature of the Universe and our relationship to it... and it's not a comfortable revelation either.
As the pieces begin to fall into place, the book becomes a real treat to read and the shifts in place and time fuel the sense of urgency and tension as events lead you to an all too sudden but satisfying ending... thankfully, this is only the first book in what promisies to be a fantastic and challenging trilogy, a must have for my library, to be sure.
Don't worry, the book is full of cool stuff. Smart squids, starships, REAL dinosaurs, Area 51 (Dreamland), tiny Gods, flying saucers, spies, cyberpunk and more. YES, he likes to deal with politics, but it is part of the setting, not thrust into our faces. If you enjoy mystery, alien races (that turn out to be less than alien) and high-tech in your Sci-Fi, this is the book for you!
Unfortunately the other story, told in, of course, the even-numbered chapters and narrated for the most part by Gregor's ancestor Matt, is a rehashing of Heinlein--and not done especially well (think "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" with cyberpunks and Deadheads instead of Libertarians and you sort of get the point). The author's notion that a resurgent Russia will gain control over the EU (something called an "oil war" is hinted at) is, to be charitable, bizarre; his economic theories aren't worth discussing; the by the numbers "up against the wall bureaucrats!" plotting is something we've all seen before, and done far more coherently.
First of a trilogy.