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Beyond the Hallowed Sky von Ken MacLeod
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Beyond the Hallowed Sky

von Ken MacLeod (Autor)

Reihen: Lightspeed Trilogy (1)

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Titel:Beyond the Hallowed Sky
Autoren:Ken MacLeod (Autor)
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Beyond the Hallowed Sky: Book One of the Lightspeed Trilogy von Ken MacLeod

Kürzlich hinzugefügt vonTom-e, ScoLgo, torgnye, RobertDay, xgavin, liamn, chilperic, HanJie, cmc, syncytium
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MacLeod, Ken. Beyond the Hallowed Sky. Lightspeed Trilogy No. 1. Kindle, 2021.
Now that Mike Resnick is gone, Ken MacLeod is the go-to guy for left-leaning space opera. Beyond the Hallowed Sky, the first novel of his new trilogy, begins when an Indian graduate student in England receives an airmail letter in her own handwriting that that she does not remember writing and that contains a mathematical argument that concludes with the formula V=xc, where x can be quite a bit larger than one. It is postmarked from Kabul, a city she has never visited. It is, in short, math supporting faster-than-light travel with implications for time travel. The alternate near future in which she lives has experienced a “Cold Revolution” that has realigned world power. Scotland and Europe are now at odds with an Anglo alliance that includes England. America, still full of religious extremists, has recently rediscovered democracy. Russia is a third power center. The Union and the Alliance both employ powerful AIs. The Union AI, Iskander, is a major character in the story. The Indian graduate student living in England defects to Scotland where she becomes part of an effort to build the Union’s first faster-than-light spacecraft. Then things get complicated. 4 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Jan 21, 2022 |
This book, first in a trilogy, was on my Christmas list, but it didn't arrive in time and landed on my doormat on New Year's Eve. I devoured it eagerly and I wasn't disappointed. (Well, I was disappointed by the fact that Macleod's publisher hasn't issued a first edition hardback, but that's just the collector in me.)

I had wondered how much further Macleod could go in exploring radical politics in his novels; well, once more he brings us a new variation on an old theme. The book is set some fifty years into the future; the world here is split into three power blocs. There is the Alliance (basically, the Anglosphere plus India), the Union (the EU, including a unified Ireland and Scotland), and the Co-ordinated States (Russia and China). Each has its own universal and all pervasive AI that assists citizens and the government; and relations between the three states are cordial - rather enforced by the AIs - but highly competitive.

There are multiple POV characters; whilst we start with a theoretical physicist, Lakshmi Nayak, located in London with family in India, we quickly add a number of other characters, in Scotland and - elsewhere. Lakshmi receives a letter, seemingly from her future self, that gives the theoretical basis of a faster-than-light drive, which everyone says is impossible and which she herself actually doubts. But her attempts to even find the flaws that she is convinced must be in the paper lead her to defect from the Alliance to the Union, setting off a train of events that have remarkable implications.

Along the way, we travel to a Union floating base in the atmosphere of Venus and see it through the eyes of an Alliance attaché who is not all he seems. We also spend some time with a Scottish family who work in shipbuilding and who were active in the "Cold Revolution" that made the Union, in particular, what it is today. The grass-root politics of the Union is shown in some detail, but Macleod refrains from telling us what is what and how we got there; the reader has to reconstruct events between now and the novel's future, and this is part of the attraction of the book.

A lot of the setting is probably broad wish-fulfilment on Macleod's part, at least when it comes to Scotland, though there are aspects of his Clydeside under the Union that I suspect he wouldn't personally welcome but expects would turn out that way (basically, the Faslane naval base being an English/Alliance enclave in Scotland). The way this affects the lives and decisions of people in the novel is quite telling.

Throughout, there are regular bursts of dry wit and some Easter eggs for those in the know. Now just a matter of waiting for the next book! ( )
1 abstimmen RobertDay | Jan 10, 2022 |
I finished [Beyond The Hallowed Sky] last night. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.

Ken's stories often, if not always, raise issues of a social or political nature, and [Beyond The Hallowed Sky] is no exception, but it is not as blatant as in some of his books. This volume starts in the year 2067 and ends 2070. The world order involves three major political blocks: The Union, which is the current EU countries plus a few others, and, significantly, includes Scotland; The Alliance, which includes England and the USA amongst others; The Co-ordinated Countries, which includes Russia, China and some other countries.

The story involves AIs, the impossibility of Faster Than Light (FTL) travel, and alien technology. I like the characters and we can see their motivations and understand their actions in the context of their lives and environment.

Espionage is also involved in the story. Espionage in an age of AI proliferation.

Other topics making an appearance include climate change and political blocks using the management of stories in the media to influence the thoughts and actions of people in other political blocks.

Would I read more books by this author?
Yes, definitely.

Would I recommend this book?
Yes.

Who would I recommend it to?
Anyone who likes intrigue and exploring the implications of real world trends in a near-future environment.

Has this book inspired me to do anything?
Yes. Hanker for the next volume in the trilogy. ( )
1 abstimmen pgmcc | Dec 8, 2021 |
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