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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 2001 by John Clute

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (4/5)

I first read this in March 2003 and most recently on the 20th August 2011

Upstart, star-faring humanity has left its mark on the ancient civilization of the Universe. Not a mark exactly, not a spoor, more of a smear in fact. To the ravening races of the cosmos, humanity is a malodorous race that must be kept separate, kept isolated. The timbre of our physical presence is so agonizingly strong that many sophonts expire at the intensity of direct human to human eye contact. Furthermore, we are so individually inward-turned that we are deaf to the voice of God, shielded from that perception.

Nathaniel Freer is the captain of the Tile Dancer, a Predecessor starship that cruises across the galaxy. He travels with his Krewe, the MadeMind KirthKatt, an AI of awesome intelligence, and they travel suffused with the joy of experiencing all and everything new.

But now he has a job to do. He is to deliver a MadeMind, but this one a Battle Mind, to a mythical world hidden somewhere in the galactic centre. And frankly something stinks about this mission and the fate of the universe rests upon Freer's sweaty shoulders.

An astounding novel. Clute has created a finely-imagined and unique universe.

Almost didn't buy it because the cover was uninspiring and I didn't recognize the author. I'm a superficial sort of person. However, there was nothing else to buy in the bookshop so I finally gave in. Normally this would be a mistake. But, boy, what a read. I was engrossed and awestruck.

It really is a brilliant, sparkling, memorable novel.

Loaded on the 1st February 2021.
Cover of Appleseed
Cover art by Getty Images Stone