- Hardcover: 597 pages
- Publisher: Pyr (March 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591024366
- ISBN-13: 978-1591024361
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.9 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 94 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
River of Gods Hardcover – March 1, 2006
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
This ambitious portrait of a future India from British author McDonald (Desolation Road) offers multitudes: gods, castes, protagonists, cultures. Nine disparate characters, including a cop, a scientist and a stand-up comic, act out their related dramas—be they personal, political or of the mystery-thriller variety—in successive chapters within each of the book's five sections. In the India of 2047, genetically engineered children comprise a new caste, adults can be surgically transformed into a neutral gender, a water war has broken out as the Ganges threatens to run dry, AIs are violently destroyed if they approach levels akin to human intelligence, and something strange has just appeared in the solar system. The deliberate pace and lack of explanation require patience at the outset, but readers will become increasingly hooked as the pieces of McDonald's richly detailed world fall into place. Already nominated for both Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke awards, this is sure to one of the more talked-about SF novels of the year. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"A staggering achievement, brilliantly imagined and endlessly surprising...a brave, brilliant and wonderful novel." -- Christopher Priest, Guardian
"Hugely adventurous and entertaining, sumptuously inventive and full of heart...likely to rank as Ian McDonalds best creative achievement." -- Nick Gevers, Locus
"I will read anything that man writeshe is the most underappreciated genius working in the field today." -- Cory Doctorow, author of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town; coeditor, boingboing.net
"One of the best SF books Ive read this year." -- Iain M. Banks, The Algebraist
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-3 of 94 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
However, similar to my complaint about 'The Quantum Thief' (though to a lesser degree) I felt the author made the reader work too hard.
First and foremost was the sheer number of Hindu words used. I read the Kindle version of the book. It was only when I reached the end that I became aware that a glossary was included. That being said, when reading an ebook, it's not easy to access a glossary at the end of of a book. Had I been reading a conventional paper book, I think I would have tired of constantly flipping back to the glossary. The embedded OED in the Kindle did help out with some of the words but not all of them.
I liked the setting, a futuristic India. However it is a fragmented India. Instead of one large country there seems to be several smaller states such as Bharat (with its capital in Varanasi) and Awadh (with its capital in Delhi). Nowhere did the author explicitly detail how present-day India was divided so the reader is left to try and piece these not insignificant details together.
I felt like the author skimped on action and required the readers to infer too much. Moving from one chapter to the next, a reference would be made to an action sequence and again the reader would be left to infer what had taken place.
It's as if John Le Carre had decided to write a sci-fi/cyberpunk novel. Still enjoyed it a lot but came away feeling like this should have been a five star read.
The characters were much more approachable than those in DERVISH HOUSE but just as alive and "real". The India of 2047 (the 100th anniversary) is not one that Gandhi would have admired. Not only did most Muslims break away from the mother country but the nation itself is in regional shatters, semi-independent nations much like those that existed after the fall of the Soviet empire.
A visionary map would have been helpful as would the placement of unfamiliar Indian terms in the FRONT instead of the back of the book. Once again, the reader is deluged with colors, concepts, new and odd ideas. This future India is realized almost perfectly. In fact, except for the ending, it is almost a perfect book, heady with the exotic, aromatic, visually exploding land we all know but don't really know.
The language was at times pitfalls. Why use "soapi" instead of "soaps" or "noo" instead of "new"? This realized vision, though, is mesmerizing and hypnotic. It is the dawn of the Singularity, that moment when machine intelligence surpasses us and all history stops. Several major themes run throughout the book - control of AI, technological advances that seem almost magical, advanced science but these great wonders lie on a base of old conflicts - caste systems, Hindu-Muslim rivalries, resource wars, gender wars, politics.
The story spreads its wings and then crumples at the end. I reread the ending several times but never really understood Universe 22517 seeing us as gods and rescuing AI's through a wormhole. It was all too elusive - more evocative than explanatory. But those characters! Simply stunning presentations - perhaps some of the best I've ever come across. My Grade - A-
The book builds a beautifully speculated and thought-out near-future, where artificial intelligence has been achieved (and regulated), and technology has allowed people to explore human sexuality in rather radical fashion. The beauty of the book lies at least in part with the seamless incorporation of these future ideas into the society of India, and the exploration and presentation of these ideas through the characters, rather than as dry exposition.
MILD SPOILER ALERT BELOW
The very "human" focus on the book caused my ultimate disappointment with its conclusion. Without turning this into a major spoiler of a review, it seemed to me that there was an abrupt abandonment of the book's humanity in its final act, that there was a sudden shift to the concluding "twist," a conclusion that was to some degree telegraphed a good 100+ pages earlier, and while some of the characters' stories were resolved to satisfaction, others seemed abandoned or cast aside.
The book is well worth reading, and, judging by the very strong reviews, many may judge the conclusion more positively than I did. As a work presenting a speculative future, it certainly stands among the best. The disappointment for me rested by a dichotomy between the bulk of the book and the ending.