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The Quiet War (The Quiet War #1)
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The Quiet War (The Quiet War #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  1,701 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
This exotic, fast-paced space opera turns on a single question: who decides what it means to be human?
Paperback, 439 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by Gollancz (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
This kind of thing reminds me somewhat of Ben Bova’s Grand Tour of the Solar System series. OK, it’s not quite the same, since The Quiet War leans a lot more towards Space Opera. But still, there’s a vibe that corresponds, and it’s not just the hard science, either. The concept of war between Earth and the Outers received the treatment in other novels as well, such as Charles Sheffield’s Cold as Ice. Then there’s the blurb on the back cover that cites similarities with Peter F. Hamilton (is it m ...more
Mar 23, 2010 John rated it did not like it
I've enjoyed several of Paul McAuley's novels, and bought this book the instant I saw it. The back cover promised an exciting, intelligent story. After 70 pages I did something I rarely do--I put it back on the shelf. This book needed a strong editor.

If the following excerpt from page 68 excites you, or if you love Kim Stanley Robinson's novels, or if you have a lot of time and patience, you would probably like this novel.

"Soil was not a random mixture of inorganic, organic and living material;
Oct 15, 2008 Liviu rated it it was amazing
Blockbuster hard sf/space opera in Mr. McAuley Greater Brazil future history

In the 2200's, a century after the big Overturn - an ecological and social catastrophe that left vast swaths of Earth disaster area - Earth is rebuilding under 3 big powers dominated by "Families" that rose with prominence with their "Green Saints"

The religion of Gaia is dominant though in Greater Brazil it is mixed with traditional Catholicism, in the EU with secularism and in the Asian Sphere with traditional Asian re
Feb 04, 2010 Terence rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: Library New Book shelf
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Paul McAuley’s The Quiet War was the second course in my “Presidents’ Day Brain Candy” Weekend (see my review of The Caryatids:, and I wound up liking it more than The Caryatids. That despite the fact that it suffered from a very slow beginning – I almost gave up but the action picked up after section one and the info-dumping largely ceased. The info-dumping was the second factor that almost made me stop reading. One of the main characters, Macy Minnot, ...more
Jason Pettus
Oct 07, 2009 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The more genre books I do critical reviews of, the more I'm coming to realize that one of the biggest things genre fans crave is the sort of consensual cloud of topics that all the writers in that genre will form at any given time, and how indeed this cloud eventually coalesces as to define an entire era
Oct 06, 2009 Mike rated it liked it
In a future where Earth has been ravaged by economical disaster humanity is split down two divergent paths. Down one path are the Outers, exiled first to the moon then to Mars and now settled on the moons surrounding Jupiter and Saturn they espouse the ideas of Ancient Greek Democracy and use genetic manipulation to modify their bodies in ways both practical and cosmetic. Meanwhile, on Earth the powerful Brazilian government, ruled by a class of powerful families, follows a nature based religion ...more
Liviu Szoke
Mult prea multă informație științifică și mult prea multe personaje și fire narative ca să reprezinte o lectură agreabilă și antrenantă. Destul de interesantă, dar trebuie să stai pe o insulă pustie și să n-ai absolut nicio grijă pe cap ca să te poți concentra suficient de bine încât s-o înțelegi pe deplin. Recenzia pe Blogul FanSF:
Jun 25, 2015 William rated it it was amazing
McAuley shows a superb understanding and vision of the post-Global Warming catastrophe on earth, clearly presented, fascinating. One of the best and most likely scenarios:
1. Global Warming severe disruptions to society and agriculture
2. Sudden Methane release from ocean clathrates -
creates the "Overturn" - a total catastrophic climate change collapsing society.
3. The rise of the super-rich, powerful families and power-blocks.

The author also presents plau
Jul 09, 2009 Adam rated it it was amazing
Soon to be released in the U.S. this book is definitely one of the science fiction books of the year. The third book by Mcauley I’ve read in a row, and I have found each more absorbing than the last. This is a space opera with all of the romanticism and swashbuckling removed. Playing almost like a nasty John le Carre spy thriller with the characters being drawn into increasingly claustrophobic situations as their societies plunge towards an idiotic war. A spare style that at first didn’t grip me ...more
Jan 11, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it
A strong sci-fi story with deep socio-political resonances. Much easier to read than many of the recent additions to the genre. Furthermore, the characters had depth, complexity, and were very well developed. A wholesome, entertaining, and all-around good tale.
Aug 28, 2013 Dmitry rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-passed-1
Tried and succeeded in finishing this yesterday. It took a bottle of wine to polish it off. More than a year i spent picking it up and putting it down.

Too quiet for my tastes, but full of useful science. Some may like it but ive heard it before and it annoys me greatly. Its like reading the infodumps in a CJ Cherryh novel but without purple aliens. In some stories these are easy to skip. This is not one of them.

The plot: when dying earth is a distant memory, theres bound to be a rebellion on ma
Jun 15, 2009 Matt rated it it was ok
Quite clever in its exploration of the social "process" of going to war ... from the demonising of the opposition amongst the populous to the engineering of diplomatic incidents and the exaggeration of the enemies threat (weapons capability).

(Almost) all of the viewpoint characters are greedy, self-serving, politically ambitious scum.

Anyone else detecting some not-too-subtle parallels with recent events?

On top of that there is some fairly detailed exploration of issues of environmental managemen
I was disappointed with this book. It started off with a lot of potential: really interesting setting, promising plot line (intrasolar cold war of sorts), and a wide cast of characters that could tell the story from different vantage points. Sadly the book did not deliver on this potential. All of the POV characters reacted to their situation instead of taking control of it. It seemed the only reason they did anything is because circumstances forced their hands. All the interesting major plot de ...more
Mar 01, 2012 Jason rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2012
2 Stars until I can push through this one. I have read 33% but really remember very little of it. Great writing, great vocabulary, and some cool science fiction ideas. Flat and dull characters, the only one that I remotely like is Macy. I will try to comeback and start this one over again, as I really want to read this book.
Feb 11, 2010 Ove rated it it was amazing

Quiet as in space no one can hear you scream quiet and also as in you can't detect it until its too late. It starts with the Callisto Biome Peace Project and a murder. Crafty young soil-engineer Macy Minnot is reluctantly drawn into the struggle for war or peace among the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The title gives the result away...

From the teeming cities of earth to the scrupulously realized landscapes of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, The Quiet War, an exotic, fast-paced space opera
Oct 24, 2014 Mitchell rated it liked it
Two hundred years from now, following catastrophic climate change and devastating wars, the remaining people of Earth have been united under a handful of super-states: the Pacific Community, the European Union, and Greater Brazil (encompassing most of the Americas). In the solar system, meanwhile, genetically altered human colonists called “Outers” have fled to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn after a war with Earth saw their colonies on Mars totally eliminated. As the Outers intend to spread fur ...more
Ian Mond
Feb 09, 2014 Ian Mond rated it liked it
If I didn’t have this compulsion to finish everything I start I would have stopped reading The Quiet War around page 50. But in spite of the voice in my head telling me that life is too short to be reading stodgy prose, endless descriptions of space plants and space engineering and the potted life history of dull characters, I kept reading. And you know what? Eight days later, after turning the last of 439 pages, I decided that I wanted to read the sequel.

Much of this has to do with the fact th
Clay Brown
Mar 11, 2014 Clay Brown rated it really liked it

Paul Mcauley’s Quiet War is the first book that I have read of this very interesting Science Fiction Author. I’m actually quite conscious of writers of Science Fiction, as you may have noticed I read a great deal of Science Fiction. I started reading at an early age and Science Fiction was my choice then, as it is now. So I’m a bit ‘Nuts’ about the Genre.

Oft times a writer of Ambition, and there are no more ambitious writers
Jan 30, 2012 Scruffy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Quiet War follows the growing cold war between two branches of humanity. Greater Brazil is one of three families which has risen to power after investing in repairing the damage inflicted on the earth by climate change and economic crisis. Now the lives of those living on Earth are strictly controlled and monitored. The Outers on the other hand abandoned Earth in favour of colonising the moon’s of Jupiter and Saturn where they have the freedom to live a more utopian life. Here scientists exp ...more
Clay Kallam
Jan 28, 2011 Clay Kallam rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Paul McAuley manages to make the familiar fun as he gives the traditional war in the Solar System genre a 21st century twist. “The Quiet War” (Pyr, $16, 403 pages) matches the pioneering “Outers” (those who have emigrated from a devastated Earth to the moons of Jupiter and beyond) against the domineering empire of Greater Brazil. Central to the narrative is the rivalry/hero worship of Sri Hong-Owen, a brilliant genetics’ researcher, with Avernus, an Outer genius. Hong-Owen, though from Earth, is ...more
Really, really enjoyed this book, though i'm not sure if it's really because it's outstandingly good (it's definitely plenty good though) or because it hits all my favorite space opera buttons - lots of extra terrestrial geography, fleets of spaceships, varied quasi posthuman space colonization, etc. All of it is well written and well plotted, and I liked the characters too (look, lots of women and none of them are whores!) though sometimes it seemed as though their motivations and arcs were spe ...more
Pilars Scott
Dec 29, 2009 Pilars Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very oldschool (but not dated at all!) science fiction with some fantastic world building. Had a slow burn on the entertainment value but was overall very enjoyable. I didn't really feel like there was enough resolution at the end of the book. I'd be pissed if I didn't know there was a sequel... but now I have to decide whether to import it or wait for the US release. The marketing for the book was a little off as it was described as space opera-ish. I'd say this was more of a hard science ficti ...more
I borrowed the sequel to this book from the library and was four chapters in before I realised it *was* actually a sequel. Luckily the library had this in for me to borrow. The Quiet War is an interesting book. It reminds me really strongly of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy in it's planet-forming techniques and its sweeping global and planetary politics. The characters are not at all loveable, or even likeable, but the set up and story is so interesting that the lack of likeable characters ...more
Jun 24, 2011 Xarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and the story line. I thought it was fascinating that people moved away from Earth to colonize other moons. I thought the science behind the story was also very interesting. I'll definitely be getting the sequel, "Gardens of the Sun."

Strangely, I can see this novel made into an anime. It would work as a live-action film, too.
Patrick W
Jul 21, 2009 Patrick W rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in, 2009, space, opera, sf, military
21 Words or Less: A Hard SF extrapolation of intrasolar colonization that emphasizes excellent scientific elements at the expense of plot and characterization[return][return]Rating: 3/5 stars[return][return]The Good: Solid Hard SF that lacks any scientific errors apparent to the average reader; Filled with intriguing ideas of genetic manipulation and social experimentation; Offers a complex, multifaceted political system that seems realistic[return][return]The Bad: Characters are all bland and u ...more
May 19, 2009 Aubrey marked it as to-read
Says io9:

Eco-political, frantic, and undeniably epic, Paul McAuley's latest novel The Quiet War was nominated for a Clarke this year. It's time to check out this hard science tale of gene wizards and posthuman separatists.

What is immediately and consistently engaging about The Quiet War is McAuley's ability to turn the hard sciences of bioengineering and synthetic ecosystems into the stuff of storytelling awesomeness. Reluctant hero Macy is a scrappy soil engineer who has been given a dream assi
Ben Babcock
The Quiet War is certainly what is advertised in the title: a war so quiet, no one knows it is happening. Not even me.

It’s the future. The not-so-distant but not-quite-near twenty-third century. No warp drive or United Federation of Planets, though. In fact, we can barely colonize the solar system without squabbling about it. The various powers of Earth—though we largely concern ourselves only with the Europeans and the more powerful Great Brasilia faction—are working on a way to control or othe
Paul McAuley has been on my “I really should read something by that guy some time” list for quite a while now, and now I finally got around to it. He’s been around for a while and apparently quite versatile, writing, among other things, alternative history and near future thrillers. The Quiet War (which was on the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke award in 2009) is space opera – not so much the pulpy Golden Age variant of E.E. Smith but the contemporary variant that was started off by C.J. Cher ...more
Paul Weimer
Feb 06, 2010 Paul Weimer rated it liked it
Back in the 1990's, I went through a spurt of reading the novels of Paul McAuley. His SF aligned perfectly with my tastes, from Fairyland to Pasquale's Angel to the Confluence Trilogy, one of my favorite SF series of all time.

I didn't read his SF techno-thrillers, but I am very happy that he has now returned to straight main-line science fiction with The Quiet War.

The Quiet War is set in a solar system after "The Overturn", when the 20th and 21st century geopolitics and fossil fuel economy world
Jan 01, 2017 Falbs rated it really liked it
Fun as well as intriguing book about the possibilities of genetic manipulation in the far future.

"We are doomed by the failure of our phylogeny to keep pace with our inventiveness. Or perhaps there is some deeper flaw, something that is useful for the survival of our genes but inimical to civilization and individual happiness."
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Since about 2000, book jackets have given his name as just Paul McAuley.

A biologist by training, UK science fiction author McAuley writes mostly hard science fiction, dealing with themes such as biotechnology, alternate history/alternate reality, and space travel.

McAuley has also used biotechnology and nanotechnology themes in near-future settings.

Since 2001, he has produced several SF-based tech
More about Paul McAuley...

Other Books in the Series

The Quiet War (4 books)
  • Gardens of the Sun (The Quiet War #2)
  • In the Mouth of the Whale (The Quiet War, #3)
  • Evening's Empires

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