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Stone Canal [Turtleback]

Ken MacLeod
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 2002 0606209271 978-0606209274
Jonathan Wilde a 21st century anarchist agitator is dead, but his clone remembers all his secrets, and is looking for the man who killed him. David Reid lived through wars and revolutions and through the Al's catastrophic transcendence to build New Mars, and is not going to let the Al's come back and take it away. A debut novel.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Publishers Weekly

British author MacLeod's second novel to be published in the U.S. (after The Cassini Division) opens on New Mars, a distant planet discovered on the other side of a wormhole, where humans resettled after Earth was decimated by World War III. While New Mars is populated by Earthlings, the planet's real labor is done by the "fast folk," nanotech-based artificial intelligence machines that evolve much more quickly than humans. This stratified world was built unwittingly by Jon Wilde and Dave Reid, who met as socialist-minded university students in Glasgow and became two corners of a romantic triangle that later influenced history in myriad ways. MacLeod weaves the story of the two men's complex relationship along two tracks, past and present. In the past, Wilde and Reid both fell for the same woman; Wilde eventually married her and raised a family. In the meantime, Reid built a powerful high-tech company that could grow no further without some changes in the political climate--changes that Wilde is hired to help create. The fallout from this alliance and from Reid's own hidden agenda ultimately lead to the world war and to a reliance on machine intelligence, as well as to the creation of a world where death is impossible as long as you have a waiting clone and a recent brain backup. Thanks to that resurrection technology, Wilde and Reid face each other as enemies again on New Mars. MacLeod's writing is smooth and sure, full of striking images and breathtaking extrapolations of current technology. It's a pleasure and a challenge to read a book where human potential and human foibles are dealt with as thoroughly as is scientific advancement. Fans of William Gibson and of Iain Banks, in particular, will enjoy this visionary novel. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Filled with memories of his past, the clone Jonathan Wilde arrives on New Mars, where he rediscovers old loves and older enemies. Set in a distant future filled with intelligent machines, cloned humans, and little regard for life or death, this high-impact sf adventure by the author of The Cassini Division delivers a strong dose of violence and graphic sex. First published in Britain, MacLeod's tale of one man's grim journey toward knowledge should appeal to fans of high-tech action and hard-core science. For large sf collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was really a very interesting book to read! Lots of interesting ideas, mixing hard sci-fi with political aspects in a way that is very rare to find around. It may get sometimes I little boring with all the discussions about politics and the life of an anarchist, but there are some parts that you really can't leave the book aside without feeling guilty for not knowing what is coming next.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that sometimes the abilities of the characters seem a little too "supernatural". Sometimes when you get a book where characters are portrayed as human being and then suddenly they are just too good to be a human being, it does feel strange. Some people like it, I just didn't feel confortable with it. Personal opinion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love never dies Sept. 2 2002
By Janis
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Picking up this book mainly as a fluke, I was not expecting the story that awaited me. The most fascinating thing is the reality of thought and dialogue, mixed together in a intricate web of fiction, both of the historical brand (a large chunk is set in 1970's Scotland) and the all too alarmingly realistic future brand. The story revolves around two men, David Reid and Jon Wilde whose political views and ideals have set the course of the world, and have built a centuries long rivaly between them.
The text reads remarkably well, and even when lost in the mire of politcal thought (it is recommended that the reader have at least a basic knowledge of communism, socialism and capitalism) the text is rich enough and REAL enough to carry through. Switching from one point of view to the next is not just jumping from character to character, but shooting from first person to third to the camera man if this were a movie.
The only drawback about this book is the breakneck speed at which it ends. But the ending is not diminished by it.
I recommend this story to anyone looking for Science Fiction that is believable, no matter how unbelievable it really is.
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4.0 out of 5 stars intelligent, deep, imaginative, well written July 5 2002
By Paul J
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Out of the first five books Ken Macleoud has had published only the last one 'Cosmonauts Keep' I will never reread. All of the first four are well worth rereading, the mark of a good book.
'The Stone Canal' has the great structure Macleoud does so well, of alternating chapters telling the story from centuries past of the character's. While the next chapter carrys on in the present and so on.
It was KM who advised Bank's of this for his great 'Use of Weapons' novel. Back to the Stone Canal. It's packed with ideas, intensity and thriller like page turning. It could easily fall back into a revenge and killing book. Let's face it the main character has many good reasons to kill Reid. It's about myths, love and reality. It's fun and smart. Macleoud doesn't have the same strength and depth in description as say Banks or Dan Simmon's at their best but he writes very good books, compressed, full of twists, ideas and smart characters.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Hard Science Fiction May 15 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those uncommon books that immediately caught my interest from page one and kept it, the characters and their relationships and development done on the 'fly' as the pages flowed, superior writing indeed. The plot switches back and forth from the year 1975 and the following years, up to the late 21st century, and later on another planet. Two friends, one a socialist and the other an anarchist (quite opposite world views actually which is thought provoking) later become rivals and later both find themselves on a planet called New Mars many decades later, and the outcome of their rivalry is decided there, the story of how they got to New Mars is quite interesting, involving some speculative science which will someday likely take place, including topics such as biostasis, mind uploading and downloading with computers, cloning, nanotechnology,etc....
I gave this novel four instead of five stars due to the fact that Ken Macleod included here way too much of a dose of English politics for my taste (he lives in Scotland) and as most people know, English politics are nearly incomprehensible to outsiders!!! But overall, this is cutting-edge science fiction well worth reading. Macleod's later novel THE CASSINI DIVISION extends from this novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly confusing, but a great read Feb. 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My only problem with this book is that it was a little confusing. It's the kind of book that demands that you pay close attention to detail.
If you don't mind the extra effort that you need to invest in the reading, than the book is well worth it. It's a lot of fun and well written. Kind of like a Vinge book, but instead of 900 pages, it is a convenient 300 page novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy read for hard sci-fi fans Feb. 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a big fan of Ian Banks, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, and hard Sci-Fi in general, but I have to admit that I stumbled onto "The Cassini Division" in a supermarket book rack because the cover art looked cool. I'm very glad that I did, that was an excellent book, and so was "The Stone Canal". At the very end it seems a little rushed, and even though "The Stone Canal" happens first, I think they read better in the order they were written.
If you like hard SciFi, this author is a "must add" to your list, I plan on getting the rest of his books too.
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