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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Learning The World

Copyright 2005 by Ken MacLeod

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this on the 8th May 2006.

Humanity has travelled to the stars and has searched for but never found any intelligent aliens. They've identified alien bacteria but never any intelligence. It appears to be an empty, lonely Universe.

The Civil Worlds civilisation is an expanding sphere of human occupation hundreds of light-years across. Humanity is heading outwards and, with human life now prolonged for thousands of years, there seem to be no limits and everything seems possible.

"But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky!" is a vast colony ship from the Civil Worlds. It's been travelling for fourteen thousand years and it's neared its latest destination. Everyone is ready and eager to colonize this new star system.

But there's a problem. There's a civilisation there already and it is not human.

This is quite a different style of novel for Ken MacLeod. There's a touch of the David Brin "Eon" about it in the descriptions of the future humans. I have to admit I haven't made up my mind yet. Currently I'd rate it as less engrossing than his earlier books, but that could easily change on a re-read.

Loaded on the 16th December 2006.
Cover of Learning The World
Cover art by Lee Gibbons

Reviews of other works with covers by Lee Gibbons:
Singularity Sky
Iron Sunrise
Stealing Light
Cosmonaut Keep
Engine City (The Engines of Light, Book 3)
Ringworld's Children
Sister Alice
The Well Of Stars

Reviews of other works with covers by Lee Gibbons and The Pinpoint Design Company:
The Archivist