Moh Kohn is a security mercenary, his smart gun and killer reflexes for hire. Janis Taine is a scientist working on memory-enhancing drugs, fleeing the US/UN's technology cops. Jordan Brown is a teenager in the Christian enclave of Beulah City, dealing in theologically-correct software for the world's fundamentalists - and wants out. In a balkanized twenty-first century, where the "peace process" is deadlier than war, the US/UN's spy satellites have everyone in their sights. But the Watchmaker has other plans, and the lives of Moh, Janis, and Jordan are part of the program. A specter is haunting the fight for space and freedom, the specter of the betrayed revolution that happened before. . . .
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The reader makes it work
Thinking Man's Sci Fi
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.
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.
The reader was excellent, with numerous distinct voices and good acting ability. This almost seemed to be a radio play at times.
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.
- David Hurwitz