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Ken MacLeod

Ken MacLeod’s SF novels have won the Prometheus Award and the BSFA award, and been shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He lives near Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Star Fraction: A unique work of political science fiction

The Star Fraction by Ken Macleod

The back cover copy claims Ken Macleod’s debut The Star Fraction (1995) is like “modern-day George Orwell”, and there is some truth in it. But rather than an examination of totalitarianism, the novel is a thought experiment on technology in an environment as rife with subtly variegated politics as the scene Orwell covered in WWII Spain in Homage to Catalonia. Given the dry wit and experimental mode, however, I would say that Macleod is more Heinleinian. Regardless of classic parallels, though, the first of the four books which comprises the FALL REVOLUTION, The Star Fraction, is an astonishingly confident debut which examines poly-sci in a way neither author did: the Singularity.

Before jumping to the review, I think it is necessary to position the The Star Fraction within the ... Read More

The Stone Canal: The ideas fly fast and furious

The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod

The Stone Canal, second in Ken MacLeod’s Fall Revolution series, is a difficult book to write a review of. The reason is the story’s structure: the book is broken in half, chapters alternating to tell the first and second halves separately, with the ending joining the two together at the middle into a single whole. The details at the end of one half reveal important information about the beginning of the other, and vice versa. It’s quite easy to wander into spoiler territory while writing a summary. (Be warned, the majority of reviews I have read spoiled large portions and some of the major surprises in the novel.) It’s best to start with MacLeod’s introduction and leave the rest to instinct and hope.

In classic sci-fi style, the opening page of The ... Read More

The Cassini Division: Action-packed

The Cassini Division by Ken MacLeod

The Stone Canal, predecessor to The Cassini Division, saw a flurry of technical, and as a result, social developments, moving one part of humanity to post-human status. And so while Wilde and Reid’s personal matters were resolved, larger matters, that is, an agreement between standard and post-humans was left hanging, with a peaceful resolution far from certain. Focusing precisely on this schism, The Cassini Division, Ken MacLeod’s third novel in the FALL REVOLUTION sequence, brings the implications of Singularity to a full head.

Set 350 years after the events of The Star Fraction, The Cassini Division is told through the eyes of Ellen May Ngwethu, captain of the ... Read More

The Sky Road: A sublimely satisfying conclusion to the FALL REVOLUTION

The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod

For those who have read the first three books in Ken MacLeod’s Fall Revolution series, The Sky Road will be a sublimely satisfying last bow. None of the books are connected linearly in a strong sense of the expression (in other words, it’s not necessary to read them in order, but it goes a long way toward manifesting the overall vision); The Sky Road offers yet another perspective on the future of humanity through the splintered lens of politics and technology. This novel is a delicately pointed end to the series, and while it is certainly the most subdued, it may be the best of the four.

Like The Stone Canal, The Sky Road is divided into two stories told in alternating chapters. The first focuses on a young man named Colvis colha Gree and is set centuries in the ... Read More

THE CORPORATION WARS: Dissidence, Insurgence, Emergence


My preference is to review the books in a series Individually, but I find myself so busy at the moment that I don't have much time for writing reviews. And in the case of THE CORPORATION WARS by Ken MacLeod, I don't feel that there's much distinction between the individual novels and it makes sense to review the series as a whole.

THE CORPORATION WARS is a trilogy that consists of the books Dissidence, Insurgence, and Emergence. The story is set in the far future when Earth-based prospecting corporations vie for interstellar resources and use robots, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality two mine planets and fight wars.

At the beginning of book 1, Dissidence, w... Read More