- File Size: 943 KB
- Print Length: 417 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)
- Publication Date: March 15, 2011
- Sold by: Macmillan
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004K1ERZO
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,841 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Up Against It (Tor Science Fiction) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 417 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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“Rigorous extrapolation with an imaginative flair, characters you can care about, and clean, lean, muscular prose are some of the hallmarks of M. L. Locke, a bright light on the science fiction scene. Fans of hard SF will eat this up and shout for more.”--George R. R. Martin
“Both original--full of smart new ways of looking at science fiction ideas--and old fashioned --full of the kind of whiz-bang action-adventure that made so many of us fall in love with SF in the first place."--Cory Doctorow
“Starts with a bang and only gets more intense in the pages that follow. M.L. Locke fills the novel with the exciting, mindbending combination of action and wild ideas that makes for the best SF."--Jane Lindskold
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>Hollowed asteroids for human habitation. The shell of this asteroid doesn't spin, but an inner spindle of cities creates centripetal force.
Prospectors bringing in metals, water, and fuel frozen in the asteroids. Once on Phoecea, they are reduced to atoms for re-assembly.
Modifications to the human body. Improved eyes. Neon tattoos as women's makeup. Beings who artistically modify their own DNA.
>Extending networking technology to incorporate virtual reality, conferencing (or conversely, privacy bubbles), AIs as personal assistants all via neural implants. If that can be done, then hackers will also tap into your head.
I gave 5 stars for:
>Characterization. Jane is an older bureaucrat, accustomed to walking a tightrope. Her department disassembles waste and scrap to make new assemblies. It handles shipping, provides hydroponic food and power. Her home is in the asteroid belt where solar radiation is almost nil. The asteroid must buy ice/methane shipments to offset heat and oxygen losses. The balancing act requires her constant attention.
Geoff is a talented guy who fails to measure up to his older brother. When not in school, he chills with three other friends, trying to delay that time when they must become contributing members of the colony. Like others, he thinks nothing of riding out to his own asteroid.
Viridians, modified humans, dealing with rejection and discrimination but still available when the colony needs them.
>Imagery of asteroids- the dust and irregular surfaces, their veins of silica and metals, and measuring their gravity to calculate density. All from up close and personal, not from the safety of a ship.
>The thought of a colony signing a contract to allow tiny broadcast cameras to follow anyone for broadcast back to earth as entertainment. This is a major issue throughout the story.
>Dialog- a necessary part of storytelling and Locke does it well.
Now, for the second book of a trilogy?
Without ever crossing the line into full-on transhumanist explorations of the sort Stross, Banks, Vinge, et al, go in for, it nonetheless brings up issues of self-directed genetic modifications and strong AI in interesting and plausible ways, again without derailing the main storyline.
I read this on a lazy Saturday, winding down from the Holiday craziness, and while I didn't quite read it in one sitting, I did manage it in a day. It definitely sucks you into the story quickly.
Top international reviews
Once it gets going though it is fantastically good. There is a well defined world for it all to happen in which is internally consistent. Space is dangerous and travel is slow. The gravity well means something, and yet there is a thriving community in the tens to hundreds of thousands in the area around the main asteroid.
I particularly liked the thread around an emergent AI and how that was seen by the humans. There was a genuine mix of takes on it and those fitted the characters backgrounds and attitudes to other things. One of the key groups in this was the viridians, who were pro-body modifications. They created art from themselves, and also added whatever adaptations that they found useful to live their lives. A very ultra-modern take, yet they were in a small and oppressed minority, which sadly fits general human behaviour.
Overall I really enjoyed this and there wasn’t anything that made me break out of the suspension of disbelief, in fact there really wasn’t anything that didn’t seem potentially plausible some distance into the future where humans are capable of living off planet for long enough to make colonies possible.