by Ken MacLeod
The Cassini Division is set in our solar system's future. The Earth, having weathered many catastrophes, is a socialist haven despite constant computer virus harassment from Jupiter, which was taken over by post-humans several hundred years previous to the story. The Cassini Division, an elite fighting force, is stationed near Jupiter to deal with any threats that may emerge from there, or from a nearby wormhole that leads to a different part of space and time. The story centers around Ellen May Ngewthu, member of the Division and in on a hard-liner plot to destroy the post-humans once and for all.
This is a pretty good book; it's space opera in the style of Iain Banks and Vernor Vinge. Unfortunately, it's often too much in that style: many ideas seem to come directly from one or the other. My other main criticism is that although deep and complex issues -- such as the question of whether a precise copy of a person's mind is the same person -- are dealt with, they are dealt with in a somewhat cursory manner. It's as if McLeod wanted to make this a deep book by alluding to what other people think rather than by going into the issues in a serious way. So, this is a fun book but MacLeod is not (yet) providing serious competition for Banks and Vinge.
copyright © 2001 John Regehr