River of Gods (Paperback)
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- Paperback $16.47
Short Description for River of Gods A re-issue of the novel that secured McDonald's reputation as one of the most exciting voices in global SF.
- Published: 09 July 2009
- Format: Paperback 592 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780575082267 ISBN 10: 0575082267
- Sales rank: 103,635
Reviews for River of Gods
River of Gods -- Ian McDonald
Facing a crippling water shortage in the third year of failed monsoons, the Prime Minister of Bharat orders her armed forces to seize the great dam on the Ganges in neighbouring Awadh. The ensuing political and military crisis spins out of control when her principal political opponent exploits a sexual scandal involving the Prime Minister's closest advisor to rouse the masses against her and her government. Amid the escalating turmoil a government investigator ceaselessly hunts a generation three AEAI, a rogue sentient entity lurking in the interstices of Bharat's network infrastructure, while across the seas an American scientist is enlisted to unravel the mystery of an alien object embedded deep within an asteroid.
So begins "River of Gods", Ian McDonald's dense, sprawling novel set in the India of 2047. Structured in five parts, the story unfolds through the interlocking narratives of its eight main characters: Shiv, a small-time gangster, purveyor of body parts, and errand-runner within the grey economy of the Indian underworld; Mr Nandha, Krishna Cop, a high-level government agent who seeks out and terminates illegal AIs; Khan, a ranking civil servant and top-level adviser to the Prime Minister; Najia, an investigative journalist; Lisa, an American scientist in charge of a major evolutionary simulation experiment; Tull, a renowned expert in artificial intelligence who abandoned academia and vanished into the teeming Indian masses; Tal, a set designer for a wildly popular Indian soap opera; and Vishram, a stand-up comic and heir to a major energy conglomerate.
A fairly demanding book -- not least because of the need to keep track of eight separate story lines -- "River of Gods" fully rewards the reader's effort as McDonald skillfully synthesizes numerous themes from cyberpunk and recent speculative fiction to produce a rich and remarkably plausible vision of the future. The plotting is solid, the characters are well developed and believable, the setting is rich in cultural detail, and the writing is uniformly excellent throughout. Overall, "River of Gods" is a fine example of what is best in speculative fiction. It is an engaging and engrossing novel, rich in ideas, that manages in its best moments to evoke a sense of awe and wonder. Four stars. Highly recommended.
........................................ by Jonathan Skrimshire