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Cosmonaut Keep (Engines Of Light, #1)
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Cosmonaut Keep (Engines of Light #1)

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  2,042 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Matt Cairns is a 21st-century outlaw Programmer who takes on the shady jobs no one else will touch. Against his better judgment, he accepts an assignment to crack the Marshall Titov, a top-secret orbital station operated by the European Space Agency. But what Matt will discover there will propel him on an extraordinary and quite unexpected journey.

Gregor Cairns is an exobi
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ebook, 300 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Tor Books (first published 2000)
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Lorelei
Conceptually an interesting book. I won't repeat the plot summary, but, to read, a very frustrating book. The author chops between the two stories in an abrupt manner that does not serve either character development or exposition. And there is an overuse of organisational acronyms that is truly baffling. I gave up trying to sort through which faction or organisation was which. First and last names are also confusingly used. In such a short story with such an array of ensemble characters it was t ...more
Thom Foolery
Cosmonaut Keep is the first in a new series by Ken MacLeod, who wrote The Stone Canal and The Cassini Division. As in those earlier works, this novel skillfully interweaves the personal and the political in a tapestry of transcendental posthumanity.

MacLeod again uses two narratives spanning an unknown amount of time to tell his story, and this conceit (while a bit confusing at first, at least in this novel) works. The "present" narrative takes place in the near-future, albeit in an alternate wor
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Doug
I took this one back to the library after a few chapters. As with a lot of sci-fi, too busy too soon. I did appreciate the references to computer programming and the author obviously is well-trained in science, but the setting of a future colonized world with archaic feudal families (and castles and tapestries) was a little too ludicrous. That the "saurs" (or greys in our alien mythology) love to smoke cannabis is quite amusing though.
Josh
I'm on a MacLeod kick lately. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy his writing, but I loved this! Two interwoven plots taking place centuries apart, a Stalinist EU, the IWWWW or "Webblies", a Trotskyist faction organizing a coup on a scientific space station, flying saucers, paranoid X-Files-ish black helicopter conspiracy, and his usual in-jokes for lefties, i.e. pretty standard Ken MacLeod.
Stephen Graham
It's not quite as shiny as when I read it last, though it's still reasonably shiny. You can see the hints of what MacLeod has written after it, in the wake of events still to come when the book was written. It's still closer in tone to his first novels than to Descent. Gregor Cairns and Elizabeth Harkness come across as shallower characters than on my first read; Matt Cairns is still a more complex and interesting characters.
Ray Heinonen
Cosmonaut Keep is about 2 tales interwoven. Set on Earth and another world, Mingulay, but separated by time, we learn how humans came to live on this world that is many light-years away. We also learn that the descendants don't have the ability for interstellar travel, but are visited by humans (from Earth) who do. The focus of the story is the history of how it got this way, and how the isolated humans try to acquire interstellar travel again.

There is a range of characters, human and extraterr
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D
The thing that makes Cosmonaut Keep interesting is the amount of detail the author put into the universe in which it takes place. Throughout the book, the universe's extensive history and intricate political setting is gradually explored, giving the reader a good overview by the time the time they reach the end.

At times, the universe exposition seems to take priority over the plot. The characters often feel more like historical figures in the universe's history, rather than, well, characters. A
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Althea Ann
My first book by this author. It's first in the "Engines of Light saga," but, I was pleased to discover, works perfectly well as a stand-alone novel... at the end, of course, there is room to wonder "what happens next" but the characters, and their relationships, all come to a nice stopping-point.

"Cosmonaut Keep" is really 2 novels in one. There are two completely separate plotlines, and the connection between them is not made explicitly clear until chapter 18 (of 21).
In the first one, we meet
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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in July 2001.

Beginning a new series, Cosmonaut Keep has two independent storylines. The first takes place in a shattered Europe in about fifty years' time, in a Scotland which is a Socialist Republic and then in a space station; it is concerned with first contact with a bizarre alien species, a bacterial lifeform which forms colonies which are incredibly powerful computers.

The second story is set farther into the future, and in quite a distant part of the gal
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Roddy Williams
‘After the conquest of Europe, the Russians quit stalling. Their troops reached the Atlantic, their cosmonauts reached the asteroids. Now the stars await them.

Something else got there first.’

Blurb from the 2001 Orbit paperback edition.

The structure of this novel is interesting in that it consists of a dual timeline in alternate chapters. The first – in first person narrative – follows Matt Cairns, a freelance software expert in a near-future Socialist Republic of Scotland.
The second strand follo
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Mike Franklin
3.5 stars

This was my second book by Ken MacLeod and was much better than my first; Learning the World. For the most part the elements of this story were more realistic and believable than that previous book.

The book consists of two stories told in parallel; one set several centuries after the other. One charting the lead up to starflight and the other the descendents of that starflight. Both stories were engaging, interesting and well told. The characters were well rounded and convincing. The Ea
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Morgan Murray
Cosmonaut Keep is a somewhat odd book - definitely the first in a series. There's a lot of character development, and a significant amount scene-setting. There's not a huge plot, as the author devotes the book to explaining the political landscape between two sets of characters.

The book follows two sets of characters - one thread is from the first-person perspective and follows a post-euro-russo-harminsation computer hacker called Matt as he gets involved in Earth's first contact sometime mid-21
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Peter Cowman
Apr 14, 2013 Peter Cowman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults and Mature Teenagers who enjoy thinking as they read
Shelves: sci-fi, favourites
First of all, I want to make it clear I am newish to Sci-Fi so will not be comparing it to other authors of the genre.

This book is quite extraordinary for me. It has an unusual style in the it has two story lines running side by side, one revealing the history of the characters on Earth, and one moving through the present in Space. The different narratives alternate between chapters and I found this to be infuriatingly effective. The plots were fascinating to me and so my attention was held by h
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Isabel
A god stood in the sky high above the summer horizon, his long white hair streaming in the solar wind. Later, when the sky's colour had shifted from green to black, the white glow would reach almost to the zenith, its light outshining the Foamy Wake, the broad band of the Galaxy.

Two linked stories are told in alternate chapters. One is a first contact story about the meeting between between humans and aliens, while the later story involves the descendants of some of the characters now living on
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Chuck
Yet another ho-hum scifi novel. The most irritating thing about it is the one-dimensional characters. They're pretty much all the same, and it's hard to care about any of them. MacLeod seems to have no sense of the subtleties of emotional life. Oh, well, I guess most of his readers don't expect that.
Tracy
Interesting, and a worthwhile read, but it didn't knock my socks off. It was well-crafted, with alternating chapters taking place in two different times and locations, only slowly letting the reader see how they are connected. Clues for understanding what was going on in one area were given in the other, which was clever, but I found the corresponding changes between first- and third-person a little jarring. The near future is thoroughly detailed and felt like a believable world, but the politic ...more
Chris
Fairly entertaining, yet mostly forgettable. It's told as two parallel stories and figuring out how these relate and exactly what is going on in the future story (dinosaurs? bipedal, intelligent dinosaurs?) was probably the most engaging part.
Matthew
A bit confusing at first until you clue in that the author is switching between present and future with alternating chapters. Mostly the book is just prologue, it feels like setup for later stories. 350 pages and nothing much happens aside from pushing a button and finally starting a ship.
David
The book has an interesting setting / world concept, and suggests potential for the series it begins. However, taking this book by itself (I haven't read the rest of the series), I was left with the feeling this was largely background for what will develop later in the series. Patience with drawn-out books or series is not one of my virtues. I have some curiosity about what develops of the series' potential, but also wonder whether that will be drawn out as well.

Readers who care more about the j
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Kendra
Not finished, very slow, tedious and any other number of words I can pull from a thesaurus...

May try later, not feeling it now.
Cristián
The Engines of Light is comprised of 3 books.

I must admit that it didn't sound too much fun at the beginning and it's a little confusing when you start reading the first book, but it quickly becomes interesting. In every book there's a clash between different social ideas, individualistic vs colectivistic societies.
The story is well told and and the plot isn't easy to predict. I liked the way it simulates societies that have lived centuries with a particular thought on life and the way they deve
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Jeff Raymond
Not sure when I got recommended this one, but it never really got around to catching me and I ultimately got frustrated and put it down. Not sure what it was that irritated me, to be honest, especially with the accolades it received.
David Gross
I can't express my disappointment with this book. Maybe I had higher expectations about it than I should have because of Charles Stross' giving it five stars, but it was a waste of time in which nothing much happens.
Leslie
The first in the Engines of Light trilogy, Cosmonaut Keep is the story of a group of political renegades/refugees who develop the first human faster-than-light space travel based on alien technology. It is interspersed with the tale of the descendants of this first group of rogue colonists who are attempting to rediscover this lost technology. It features both dinosaurs and super-intelligent space squid, both of which I am discovering turn up in modern sci-fi at an unexpectedly high rate. All in ...more
Priya
Well really--we all know how I think about not very thinly disguised cheerleading for socialism and Mr Macleod is one of the best at it. Add shiny spaceships, sarcastic sailors-in-said-spaceships and a general tendency to not treat readers like dimwits and you have a fantastic read that makes you think after you've read it. Oh and it has kraken, something that automatically leads to five stars for me. For those foreign policy/Cold War nuts amongst us (what do you mean there aren't any left?)
I sh
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Nikki
I love the way this starts out, which is in second person POV -- only very briefly, though. After that, the chapters alternate between a world that is not Earth, and a world that is Earth but way in the future. It took me a while to realise how the stories were linked -- Ken MacLeod once again threw me in at the deepend about the socio-political situation, but in this trilogy I picked it up quickly -- and I didn't care for the alternation of first person and third person, which happened every ch ...more
Farth
Très bon récit de science-fiction où l'on suit l'histoire à deux époques très éloignées. Bien qu'il puisse se lire de manière indépendante, la lecture du reste du cycle s'impose afin de mieux appréhender l'univers en développement.

Malgré tout, il reste moins intéressant que La Division Cassini du même auteur. Si l'on retrouve bien les idées socialistes de Ken MacLeod, il manque un certain souffle au texte. Après réflexions, l'auteur est plus à l'aise dans la partie concernant l'anticipation proc
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Natasha Hurley-Walker
Fusion of airport thriller and hard near-future sci-fi, with a dose of medieval fantasy/space opera. Pretty fun, especially the references to the Edinburgh hacker/sci-fi author scene, the alien spaceships flown by giant squid, and the slowly-unveiled mysteries of the gods in the Kuiper belt. Not the most amazing book ever but a decent read.
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Ken MacLeod is an award-winning Scottish science fiction writer.

His novels have won the Prometheus Award and the BSFA award, and been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He lives near Edinburgh, Scotland.

MacLeod graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in zoology and has worked as a computer programmer and written a masters thesis on biomechanics.

His novels often explore socialist, c
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More about Ken MacLeod...
The Star Fraction (The Fall Revolution, #1) Newton's Wake: A Space Opera The Cassini Division (The Fall Revolution, #3) Learning the World: A Scientific Romance The Sky Road (The Fall Revolution, #4)

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