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A wild imagining of a future and its political movements, close-up war, adventure, and aware AIs. Full of great throw-away details like the Femininists [sic], with their backpackable hoop skirts. Lots of in-jokes like the men in black.
Not the most tightly plotted (or comprehensible!) book, but the reader makes it worthwhile and memorable.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about The Star Fraction?
This story is not formulaic. Ken Macleod has constructed a complex, rich and scary future based on today's technology and our political milieu. With its many characters, numerous political factions and a Balkanized future Britain with numerous small states, it's hard to get a handle on the plot at first. A persevering listener will soon catch on and be taken for a wild ride through the near future. Though the book was written in 1995, the author has uncannily anticipated social networking, computerized market manipulation and blogging. His future world is rich in detail, its denizens not always whom they seem to be and not averse to changing sides when it suits their purpose. Character development is good for a sci fi novel, though the plot moves by mysterious means for the most part and is not generally character-driven.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Moe Cohn (sp? as this is an audiobook), the central character around whom the story revolves. He is a mercenary but in spite of his profession, he has his ideals, intellectual honesty and yes, he makes mistakes, like other human beings.
What does Stephen Crossley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
The reader was excellent, with numerous distinct voices and good acting ability. This almost seemed to be a radio play at times.
Any additional comments?
The story is complex enough that it's worth considering reading it rather than llistening to it. Given the future noir degradation of Ken Macleod's world, I don't entirely buy the level of technological achievement that it manifests: space stations, space ships and highly sophisticated computer networks seem out of place alongside ruined buildings and groups of people living tribal lives in the wild.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I read this as a paperback years ago, and loved the whole series it's a part of. The mix of William Gibson-like technology ideas and a wry take on politics, especially this of the thinly-disguised Socialist Workers' Party, make for an entertaining plot and likeable characters. However, something about it just doesn't seem to work as an audiobook so well. I think a major factor of this is probably the narrator, who gives many of the characters very similar accents and who I feel misinterpreted the main protagonist. There are also several slips in pronunciation and emphasis, which meant I couldn't quite relax and enjoy the story. Overall, I was ok, just not as good as I'd hoped.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful