River of GodsPaperback
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- Publisher: Gollancz
- Format: Paperback | 592 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 40mm | 422g
- Publication date: 9 July 2009
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0575082267
- ISBN 13: 9780575082267
- Sales rank: 96,177
August 15th, 2047. Happy Hundredth Birthday, India ...On the eve of Mother India's hundredth birthday, ten people are doing ten very different things. In the next few weeks, all these people will be swept together to decide the fate of the nation. From gangsters to government advisors, from superstitious street-boys to scientists to computer-generated soap stars, River of Gods shows a civilization in flux - a river of gods. RIVER OF GODS is an epic SF novel as sprawling, vibrant and colourful as the sub-continent it describes. This is an SF novel that blew apart the narrow anglo and US-centric concerns of the genre and ushered in a new global consciousness for the genre.
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Ian McDonald was born in Manchester in 1960. His family moved to Northern Island in 1965. He now lives in Belfast and works in TV production. The author of many previous novels including the groundbreaking Chaga books set in Africa Ian McDonald has long been at the cutting edge of SF. RIVER OF GODS won the BSFA AWARDin 2005.
By Jonathan Skrimshire 25 Aug 2011
Facing a crippling water shortage in the third year of failed monsoons, the Prime Minister of Bharat orders her armed forces to seize the great dam on the Ganges in neighbouring Awadh. The ensuing political and military crisis spins out of control when her principal political opponent exploits a sexual scandal involving the Prime Minister's closest advisor to rouse the masses against her and her government. Amid the escalating turmoil a government investigator ceaselessly hunts a generation three AEAI, a rogue sentient entity lurking in the interstices of Bharat's network infrastructure, while across the seas an American scientist is enlisted to unravel the mystery of an alien object embedded deep within an asteroid.
So begins "River of Gods", Ian McDonald's dense, sprawling novel set in the India of 2047. Structured in five parts, the story unfolds through the interlocking narratives of its eight main characters: Shiv, a small-time gangster, purveyor of body parts, and errand-runner within the grey economy of the Indian underworld; Mr Nandha, Krishna Cop, a high-level government agent who seeks out and terminates illegal AIs; Khan, a ranking civil servant and top-level adviser to the Prime Minister; Najia, an investigative journalist; Lisa, an American scientist in charge of a major evolutionary simulation experiment; Tull, a renowned expert in artificial intelligence who abandoned academia and vanished into the teeming Indian masses; Tal, a set designer for a wildly popular Indian soap opera; and Vishram, a stand-up comic and heir to a major energy conglomerate.
A fairly demanding book -- not least because of the need to keep track of eight separate story lines -- "River of Gods" fully rewards the reader's effort as McDonald skillfully synthesizes numerous themes from cyberpunk and recent speculative fiction to produce a rich and remarkably plausible vision of the future. The plotting is solid, the characters are well developed and believable, the setting is rich in cultural detail, and the writing is uniformly excellent throughout. Overall, "River of Gods" is a fine example of what is best in speculative fiction. It is an engaging and engrossing novel, rich in ideas, that manages in its best moments to evoke a sense of awe and wonder. Four stars. Highly recommended.