BooksOfTheMoon

Newton’s Wake

By Ken MacLeod

Rating: 3 stars

Centuries ago, sentient war machines devastated the Earth. A group of settlers escaped and colonised the planet Eurydice. Now the war is long over and those who stayed in the solar system have started to expand again. They find Eurydice and a lot more than they bargained for.

Wormholes, FTL that somehow prevents causality violation, societies with differing paradigms and Scottish combat archaeologists from Glasgow. What’s not to like? Lucinda Carlyle is our main POV character, a member of the Carlyle family who found and control the wormhole network that’s the most convenient way to travel the stars. She’s stubborn, clever and not afraid of anything. She’s also arrogant, sometimes vulnerable and makes mistakes, but learns from them. In other words, a well-rounded character. Interestingly, in a society where brain reading and resurrection are commonplace, Macloed also gives us some insight into what dying is like, even if you know you’ve got a backup and will be coming back.

There’s a lot of politics and scheming in the book (not unexpected from a writer like Macleod whose politics are worn on his arm) and some fun world-building, with the different human factions. It’s a shame that the AIs were mostly off-stage, having long since upgraded themselves out of our ken, with only a hint of what they left behind in the final chapter.

An interesting and mostly fun book (note: some characters speak in Glaswegian dialect; I enjoyed it, but YMMV as always).

Book details

ISBN: 9781841492247
Publisher: Orbit
Year of publication: 2004

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