Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Gardens of the Sun by Paul McAuley
This book is a sequel to the science fiction novel, The Quiet War. The three powers led by Greater Brazil have successfully conquered the Outers colonies on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Supposedly they have stopped the democratic and transhuman changes occurring to the colonists.
However, the aftermath of the conquest leads to some unexpected changes. Some of the outers have fled to the moons of Titan. My favorite character is Macy Minnot one of the outers who is on Titan. There is also a transhuman colony on Titan. This makes for an interesting story.
Also the ideas of democracy and technology from the Outer colonies are starting to seep into the cultures of the Pacific Community and Greater Brazil. This causes revolutionary change. It is a case of a less advanced society taking over a more advanced society.
There is a lot of interesting technology in the story. The author is a botanist and is very interested in technological change. He writes a lot about building ecologies for survival in space as well as using genetically engineered plants to harvest sunlight, minerals, and produce air. He also has some very interesting descriptions of people being genetically engineered as spies, to live in space, or to live extremely long lives.
I enjoyed the politics and technology in the story. There were some problems with the continuity of the story. The author broke the book into six sections which are slightly broken up in time. The last section called Everything Rises Must Converge felt more like an epilogue than a section.
This book would have been better as a trilogy. There were parts of the story which did not seem fleshed out well enough. The change which Sri Hong Owen the gene wizard uses to make her become transhuman as well as create the habitats orbiting the sun are not very clearly described.
I liked reading the book. I thought the continuity could have been done better, and that duology would have been better as a trilogy. It is worth reading for the ideas.