Book Diary: Ken MacLeod – Newton’s Wake

Newton's Wake: A Space Opera by Ken MacLeodI loved both Ken MacLeod’s Fall Revolution tetralogy and Engines of Light trilogy but this, the first standalone novel by him that I have read, was a bit of a disappointment. I think MacLeod is likely one of the most intellectually brilliant authors writing Science Fiction today, and he definitely has one of the most fertile (and bizarre) imaginations, but both those things seem to be getting in the way of making a Newton’s Wake live up to his previous work. While the novel is packed full to overspilling with utterly brilliant, jaw-dropping ideas, there is not much in the way of story or characters or even theme to hold them all together. It’s like MacLeod had a bunch of them left over from his earlier novels, and did not quite know what to do them, so he just stuffed them into the next best container he had handy. While the result resebmles a grab bag more than it does a novel, it does have its charms and while not as mind-boggling as his previous stuff it still is enjoyable to read –  the excerpts from The Tragedy of Leonid Brezhnev, Prince of Muscovy alone are worth it.

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