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Bookworm 2012: Oh So Quiet

Posted on | January 13, 2013 | 1 Comment

Paul McAuley - The Quiet WarMost of you will not like Paul McAuley’s The Quiet War, and probably shouldn’t even try to read it. I am not aiming for condescension, but simply the mindset when I say there is a lot of science in his fiction and most of it well and truly fictional. This opinion is borne out by a number of reviews online, but there is, as a vocal minority of reviewers indicates, a slice of the reading public that will truly, fully, enjoy what he provides, and I am smack dab in the middle of it.

The Quiet War is not a true eganesque mathematical fandango where if the reader can’t keep up with the math and/or physics, they are reduced to skimming pages and assuming things happen by “magic”. This novel is relatively easy to follow, its several points of view speaking with distinct voices and perspectives as we follow our heroes trying to halt, mitigate or initiate an interplanetary war with Earth’s colonies on and around the satellites of Saturn. However, McAuley does enjoy stopping every now and then to describe, in minute detail, the fictional biomechemistry or construction of surface domes or, even, as boring as it may sound, soil composition and layering. To me, most of these longwinded description passages were fascinating, serving as breaks between brief and frequently violent outbursts of action.

Apart from these digressions, McAuley also occasionally stumbles in style and even, as if lacking a good editor, grammar, however, these minor issues were overshadowed by the very believable universe he created, along with the all-too-familiar atmosphere of societies gearing up for, psyching up for, and initiating a pointless, aimless, ideologically driven war, and individuals caught in the web of History breaking right across their shoulders.

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    Written in minutes and fact-checked in seconds via Google. May contain unsafe levels of self-righteousness. Past cleverness is no guarantee of future results.
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  • Goodreads

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time
    Pilgermann
    The Ophiuchi Hotline
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    Green Eyes
    Crackpot Palace: Stories
    Acceptance
    Echopraxia
    Jagannath
    The Fractal Prince
    The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter


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