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The Quiet War (Gollancz) Paperback – September 10, 2009
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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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"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.
Top customer reviews
The Quiet War wasn't the best hard sf novel I've ever read, but it's much better than a lot of the sf/f books currently being published. The Quiet War is set several decades in our future, after major environmental, ecological, and political turmoil on Earth has pushed much of mankind into space and forced those remaining on Earth to live lives that are very, very different from ours.
The Quiet War takes us on a tour of various cities in South America, Brazil being one of the world's super powers, and of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, where most of space-bound humanity lives. We follow a handful of characters as tensions between the humans on Earth and the humans in space escalate to war. We explore the issues associated with genetic manipulation and human cloning. We compare and contrast totalitarian and democratic governments, walking the fine line between pure democracy and absolute anarchy. We witness characters giving up long-held beliefs and desires to pursue even bigger dreams. We live in the slums of future Earth, in Antarctic compounds, and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
The book wasn't perfect. Too many of the book's characters had a penchant for "speaking their mind" when they shouldn't have (which was probably a narrative cheat). And the story seemed to end just as it was getting really good (to be fair, there apparently is a sequel). But as a whole, the book was enjoyable. I would highly recomend it to any fan of hard sci fi.
This book lays out the camps who will decide the future of human evolution. All the various groups represented here felt real, even the" Dave clones ": The ambition and drive of so many diverse factions makes for excellent tension across the board. I could personally relate to those who had talent and worked hard, only to be subjected by useless pigs who had been given authority. The sense of helplessness was nicely combated by Sri-Hong Owen's drive. The numerous cut throat moves from many of the characters was refreshing, and none of these acts, some quite despicable, made the characters shallow..
Finally the descriptions- the landscapes, sunsets, the life forms, were immersive. This is so strong that at times it competes with a particular plot turn that you can't wait to understand. Nonetheless, the author has done all of his readers a service when he slows the pace at a critical moment and makes sure you get a full for the backdrop, or how a previously described character looks at that moment. He does this so well, and it forces you to reimage the character at that very critical moment.
enjoying the sequel now, but i really had no idea that there was going to be a sequel until the last 30 pages.