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Old June 26th 12, 07:46   #1
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Paul McAuley's "Quiet War" books

Just finished a book called the Quiet War by Paul McAuley, and am on its sequel, Gardens of the Sun. Both were written within the last four years. This is the first I've read of this British author, and I'm sure I'll read a lot more because he weaves a good story.

These two books take place in the Solar System, with Earth-based powers coming into conflict with the "Outers" who had fled Earth over a century ago amidst the chaos of climate change that had peaked with a catastrophic event called "the Overturn". The fleeing Outers had built habitats first on the Moon and Mars, then after the devastation of a previous war with Earthbound powers, had moved outward to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn--all a series of loosely-bound and mainly democratic city-states, taking human evolution in "a thousand different directions" with various "post-human" genetic tweaks designed to adapt to the different environments. Meanwhile, a general sentiment against "unnatural" post-humanism was growing in fervor on Earth, whose more autocratic superpowers were controlled by an oligarchy of families who'd gained wealth and supremacy in the conflicts surrounding the Overturn. Greater Brazil (encompasing both Americas) was the primary power which spearheaded the coming conflict.

The moves and plays made toward conflict were subtle, there were a lot of "gray" characters and some profound changes in characters over time, and plenty of political intrigue--very much like Babylon 5, and even though we're generally inclined to root for the Outers there are definitely some problematic elements there too. Most of the action takes place on the moons of the outer planets (first Jupiter and Saturn, then outward), with some very breathtaking descriptions of scenery and creatively-designed ecosystems. These books would, I think, lend themselves well to visual media, probably a series of movies, as the interweaving characters and plots, along with the effects possibilities, would grab and keep audience interest--and although a lot of it is pretty cerebral, I don't think it'd be out of reach of most audiences, certainly no more so than B5.

Anyone else read these books yet?

There is also a third one that just came out the beginning of this year, called In the Mouth of the Whale, which I plan to get soon. It takes place in the same universe roughly 1000 years later, but in the Fomalhaut system.

Last edited by Alioth; June 26th 12 at 08:21.
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