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The Cassini Division (Fall Revolution)
by Ken MacLeod
ISBN 0312870442 / 9780312870447 / 0-312-87044-2
Publisher Tor Books
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With his third novel, Ken MacLeod elaborates on the future timeline from his first two works, The Star Fraction (1995) and The Stone Canal (1996). Most relevant is book two, which established a colony on the remote world of New Mars via a spatial wormhole created by superhumans--transcendent machine-hosted intelligences called the "fast-folk." The original fast-folk crashed from too much contemplation of their metaphorical navels, but their descendants on Jupiter still harass Earth with virus transmissions that have killed off computers and the Internet. Enter heroine Ellen May Ngwethu of the Cassini Division, an elite space-going force created to defend against the fast-folk. Her wild doings in the 24th century's anarcho-socialist utopia make for fun reading--everyone will covet her smart-matter clothing that can become a spacesuit, combat outfit, evening gown, or satellite dish at will. But the Division's political philosophy is brutally tough, with alarming plans to use a planet-wrecking doomsday weapon against "enemies," who may not be hostile at all. In a climax of slam-bang space battle, MacLeod crashes the ongoing ethical debate into a brick wall and leaves you gasping. Witty, skillful, provocative, but just a trifle too glibly resolved. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk [via]