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The Star Fraction Paperback – Jul 5 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 5 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765301563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765301567
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.1 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,319,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

A Ken MacLeod book is like a crowded college coffeehouse: noisy, bustling, a little rowdy, and packed with enough wild ideas and competing ideologies to leave you reeling. Star Fraction, MacLeod's 1995 debut, is no exception. As the first installment in the Fall Revolution sequence (followed by The Stone Canal and The Cassini Division), Star Fraction established this Scottish author's formidable talent for mixing complex politics and cyberpunk action into smart, funny stories.

MacLeod avoids heady political theorizing by always personifying his ideas in believable, often articulately passionate characters. (Or as one character puts it, "In my experience politics is guys with guns ripping me off at roadblocks.") Star Fraction's putative protagonists--a Trotskyite mercenary, a fugitive university researcher, and a fundamentalist-turned-atheist programmer--are on the run after a chance combination of marijuana, experimental memory drugs, and a self-aware firearm threatens to awaken a powerful AI on the nets, much to the dismay of the Men In Black and the orbital-laser-wielding U.S./UN. (As with all MacLeod plots, don't bother asking--it's a long story.)

With its ultrabalkanized UK and convoluted cast of neo-Stalinists, AI-Abolitionists, Christianarchists, femininists, et al., Star Fraction is MacLeod at his best--even at his first. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

First published in Britain in 1995 and the start of a new series, this fine SF political thriller explores the fascinating possibilities of a future world (2040s London) in which traditional Labour Party leftist policies have contributed to the country's ruin. Never mind that this vision may be a bit dated in the wake of Tony Blair's New Labour victory of 1997. Marxist security mercenary Moh Kohn and computer expert Janis Taine, later joined by "femininist" terrorist Catherin Duvalier and Jordan Brown, a teenage refugee from an evangelical commune, seek to defeat a sinister artificial intelligence that threatens to act as a doomsday machine. With a host of peculiar friends and enemies and just as many action scenes in odd places (try a gay ghetto whose militia is known as the Rough Traders), this quartet will keep readers interested if occasionally confused right through the last battle against the Hanoverians (the absentee royal family) and the Men in Black (the U.S./U.N. technology police, or Stasis). The political scenario needs (and receives) a good deal of background explanation, allowing American readers in particular to better appreciate such curious political entities as the Space and Freedom Party and the Felix Dzerzhinsky Workers' Defense Collective. In general, MacLeod (The Cassini Division) is more adept at world building than at narrative, but he also possesses the rare talent of attracting readers who won't necessarily agree with the political agenda implicit in his fiction. This novel promises well for the rest of the series.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
First of all, I do recommend this book to everybody that enjoys some near-future what-if books that mixes politics, artificial intelligence possibilities, and loads of technology.
The good things about it would first be the ability to really shape a very interesting reality, very well built characters, many thought-provoking discussions, in the political, social and technological fields. In a way the story is very believable (maybe not in 40 years), and very fast paced.
Now the reason why I didn't rate it a 5 stars is that sometimes it becomes too "thick". Too many things happen without much explanation, and the author seems to be looking for that. I remember finishing the first chapter of the book and just thinking to myself "What? What is going on here?". Little by little you start to get used to the acronyms, the political system, and the pace of the book and then it becomes really interesting. Just be ready for this "shock" if you plan on reading it.
For now I'll move into a new book and then go back and read another of his Fall Revolution series books. Now that I know what he is talking about maybe it will be easier to finish the next one.
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Format: Hardcover
I believe that I originally found Ken MaCleod's "Cosmonaut Keep" on the bookshelf at a store and found the description for it to be extraordinarily interesting. That being said, I decided to research and find out what the authors first book was. Upon discovering the Fall Revolution Sequence did not have to be read in any particular order, I decided to order and read the Star Fraction before the others, just to put my own sense of order to it.
Upon beginning this book, I found that a sense of order to the book itself was to some extent difficult to discern. Bear in mind that in several sequences I found the author's style to actually be very exciting and captivating, which lends to the idea that his later books will be very exciting. For a huge portion of the book though, I found his writing style to be somewhat cryptic, plodding and convoluted in the set up of the action sequences. This book is replete with varying political and social views that at times will leave your head spinning as to which direction the book is taking you.
Overall, this novel for me was a worthwhile read, just not overly compelling. At some point in time, after some further reflection, I will pick up the next book, "The Stone Canal" and read it. The conclusion to this one just doesn't compel me to do so at this time.
This tome is about a dismal future of the early 2040's after a brief third world war, the US/UN has taken hegemony over a balkanized world. The Fall Revolution Sequence itself is an attempt to put an end to this new world order and reunify fragmented nations.
A key player in the Fall Revolution is an extremely interesting character by the name of Moh Kohn.
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By Mr. W. Hardy on June 27 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book partly on the strength of the reviews on this site and the UK sister site (hmmmmmm), and the fact it kept appearing on my recommended list. However it did not live up to my (generally easily satisfied) expectations.
Let's be fair about this, some of the ideas and thought that evidently went into the creation of Star Fraction were impressive. It's the implementation that I've a problem with, and that made this book just another "also-ran".
The plot and character development felt rushed and erratic at times. At a few points I found myself wondering what was going to happen next, and asking myself if I really cared or not. It all felt a bit thin and two dimensional. Perhaps it was me, but I made an assumption that the length and detail at which the politics were explored would have some impact in the end-game. They didn't, unless I missed something blindingly obvious. Or perhaps that was the point - that the politics were irrelevant to the outcome (in which case, why bother with them at all).
I also thought that he failed to capture the 'feel' of north London, even allowing for the fact that it had become something of a splintered entity.
There were parts which reminded me of William Gibson, and a lot of the style was more than a little reminiscent of the great Iain M. Banks. I think that Ken would be better trying to concentrate on a style of his own and attempt to leave behind the large influence of other (and IMO, better) sci-fi authors.
I honestly believe this guy does have some talent, and this will flourish with a little more focus, but then ... what do I know.
So Mr. MacLeod, for your end of book report you get an average grade C, and a "Kenneth is capable of better".
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Format: Hardcover
Those who like the safe, the normal, the everyday commonplace should not read this book, as it is certainly anything but. Macleod creates a world where the US/UN is the bad guy, where England is divvied up into many semi-autonomous city-states, each of which have their own idea of what the perfect society should be, and most of whom are at gun-point loggerheads with all the others, where the Net is pervasive and invasive, and may just be the locus of the real world power, a conscious AI, and where your ideas and assumptions about anarchy, communism, socialism, and capitalism will be stood on their head.
The main characters of Moh Kohn, mercenary extraordinary, Janice, bio-chemist, Jordan, programmer and rebeller against the purantistic creed of his birth society, and Catherin, idealist and Kohn's former lover, are well realized and interact with each other and the rapidly changing socio-political environment in believable manners.
The plot is very fast-paced, almost too much so. At the beginning of the book we are dropped into this wildly different future with very little explanation of where you are or what the overall world picture/history is or how it got that way. The casual reader who is not steeped in science fiction, in being able to accept things as they are presented, and hold his questions in abeyance will probably feel lost and confused. These items are really not explicated in cohesive detail till near the end of the book, with bits and pieces presented all along the way, as the reader is carried along pell-mell through this odd society with each twist and turn of the plot.
Stylistically, most of the prose is fairly prosaic, which gets the job done and is normally unobtrusive.
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