Cow's Reviews > Air

Air by Geoff Ryman
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's review
Sep 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: spec-fic, canada
Recommended to Cow by: Craig
Read from February 08 to 18, 2011

Recommended by the Craug.

The most remote mountain village in the world, the last to get TV or the internet or anything like that--suddenly is thrust into the singularity. If that's even the right term. And it goes horribly awry... They then have one year to prepare. And in that time, everything has to change--the villagers, their alliances and fights and politics, their daily lives.

The village itself is a fascinating place--set in a version of Kazakhstan, 15 or so years after the book was written; it's a mix of different races and faiths. Which means the negotiations to happen are even more complex as the entire world changes around them.

It delves a lot more into spirituality and philosophy, especially the philosophy around whatever it is we're trying to do with this whole internet thing ourselves. One of the wonderful side effects of the setting is that it can't fall into the standard SF trap of technobabble; only the most minimal frame of technological terms can be used, since the people involved, on page 1 of the book, only had access to a telephone if they went down the mountain and into town.

My only complaint is that it does get very bogged down, in around the third quarter of the book, in the weird quasi-mysticism that the author's trying to portray (the eleventh dimension, souls across time in a somewhat cyberpunk version of reincarnation). That, I could take or leave; it feels like someone trying to explore for the book they want to write, rather than the finished product that the rest of the book is.

Neat book. Very dark at times, very weird at times, but one author's exploration of where we just might try to go.

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