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Night Sessions Paperback – April 2, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Orbit (April 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841496480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841496481
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,292,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved the Asimov robot novels, which in so many ways were germane to our thinking on robots. Then for a while some robot stories became a little familiar, even predictable. Not any more, this novel asks challenging questions about consciousness, even `specism'.

The crime whodunit plot unfolds in a style a little like Peter Hamilton's Greg Mandel series and reminds me of how differently some Brits (and Scots) write crime. The novel has strong characterisation, plot and exploits its Edinburgh setting well. I'll be reading more of MacLeod.
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Format: Hardcover
What if robots found GOD? This very question lies at the heart of Ken MacLeod's near future science fiction novel, "The Night Sessions", one of the most compelling fictional condemnations of fundamentalist religion I have read, which is, not surprisingly, one of MacLeod's best novels. "The Night Sessions" illustrates the importance of science fiction as a literary genre rooted in ideas, as a fictional condemnation of the worst aspects of religious fundamentalism, and one quite critical too of anti-religious fundamentalism expressed by some atheists. In a near future slowly recovering from the worst aspects of man-made global warming, religion has been rendered almost invisible, barely tolerated by government as a result of the "Second Enlightenment" separating faith from politics, in the aftermath of so-called "Faith Wars" which have rendered part of the Middle East radioactively uninhabitable. Only a relative few, mainly religious fundamentalists, dare practice openly their faith, even as they are greatly distrusted and despised by most of the public. A young New Zealand robotics engineer - and skeptical creationist - finds himself the object of religious devotion during a brief visit to a Scottish Fundamentalist Protestant Christian Church, stunned to hear that his lay preaching has attracted not only the attention of, but also, ample devotion from robots who view him as a latter day prophet. One year later, Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson investigates an Edinburgh church bombing and the murders of two priests, finding evidence which points initially to zealous anti-religious atheists as the likely culprits.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of MacLeod. "The Night Sessions" is a good story, with some interesting points. However, the world building is spotty, and the plot lines that hang on it, do so by their fingertips.

The story is a detective story/science fiction cross over. I enjoyed the Scottish police procedural. It very much reminded me of Charles Stross's "Halting State" or "Rule 34". I particularly like the Watson-like (Sherlock's partner) sentient robot, "Skulk". Of the many characters, many were interesting. However I never understood the antagonist.

Unfortunately the world- building broke-down for me. I would think a large population of sentient robots would have a larger effect on the world than they did. And frankly, I could not suspend belief enough for them to 'find religion', much less religious fanaticism.

So, as a futuristic police procedural, I think the story was a success. As a commentary on religion, it was less successful.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a quite enjoyable detective novel. With robots. Here is the setting: the Faith Wars that had started with 9/11 have ended in a partial nuclear Holocaust, and the world has now turned its back on religion. For a still traumatized humanity, it's a time of environmental and societal mending as well as renewed progress and space exploration, where robots - who had accidentally awakened to consciousness on the battlefield - uneasily mingle with people. When a bomb attack kills a priest in Scotland and apocalyptic fundamentalist leaflets are found in a church, the specter of terrorism is back...

Although The Night Sessions is ostensibly a whodunnit (and a gripping one at that), the background social commentary and political speculation are quite interesting and make up most of the fun. But the best part is probably the brilliantly depicted interaction between the human and robotic characters, which sometimes I found quite touching. They are all just people, you know.

Highly recommended.
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