John's Reviews > Spin Control

Spin Control by Chris Moriarty
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Not since mid to late 1980s William Gibson and Bruce Sterling have I read a book that's nearly as well written and as grandiose in scope with regards to the potential impact that a computer-based technological future may have on humanity. With "Spin Control" Chris Moriarty has written what can be described as the finest post-cyberpunk space opera novel ever written, effortlessly capturing the gritty realism of William Gibson's street-wise "Sprawl" short stories and "Cyberspace" trilogy ("Neuromancer", "Count Zero", "Mona Lis Overdrive") with Bruce Sterling's hard-edge, almost dystopian, Shaper/Machinist cyberpunk space opera ("Schisimatrix"). Others, most notably Richard K. Morgan, in his Takeshi Kovacs series of novels, have come close to providing such a compelling, thoughtful piece of entertainment on humanity's post-human future. However, none have rendered such a scientifically firmly-rooted, realistic bit of extrapolation as Chris Moriarty has done, by relying upon important work in complexity theory, evolutionary ecology and the systematic zoology of ants, and by citing someone as important as distinguished evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson for providing the nonfictional roots of her elegantly realized post-cyberpunk science fiction novel (Indeed, much of the novel relies strongly upon a strong dose of evolutionary ecology and systematic zoology, which, undoubtedly will come as an unwarranted surprise to IDiots (Intelligent Design advocates) and other creationists who strongly doubt the scientific validity of evolution.). Best of all, Chris Moriarty is such a skillful prose stylist that her writing warrants favorable comparisons to the likes of both Gibson and Sterling.

"Spin Control" is the immediate sequel to "Spin State", which introduced readers to Moriarity's brilliant, exquisitely-realized future of off-world post-human Syndicates allied against a United Nations comprised of human colonies and an ecologically devestated Planet Earth that is still losing its human population, centuries after a rapid ecological collapse which led to both widespread human immigration from Earth and the mass extinction of many species of animals and plants (I have not yet read "Spin State", but am eagerly looking forward to it.). In "Spin State" readers where introduced to intelligence operative - and AI-enhanced clone - Hyacinthe Cohen and UN Peacekeeper Catherine Li; here in "Spin Control", they have returned, in subordinate roles, as representatives of ALEF (Artificial Life Emancipation Front), in search of one very special prize. His name is Arkady, a "clone with a conscience", a Syndicate myrmecologist (ant ecologist), who arrives on Planet Earth as a survivor of an ill-fated terraforming mission on the Planet Novalis, and a willing defector to the State of Israel with a dangerous, potentially deadly, weapon that could change the fate of humanity; an unknown genetic weapon which he "discovered" by accident on Novalis. However, the Mossad, Israel's Secret Service, claims ample disinterest, offering to bid him to the highest bidder: ALEF, the Palestinians, even the Fundamentalist Protestant religious theocrats now in charge of the United States of America. What will follow - as deftly told by Chris Moriarty in her riveting, almost ornate, yet rather poetic, prose - may determine the future of humanity not only on Planet Earth, but also in interstellar space, and the survival of the post-human Syndicates.
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