Gary's Reviews > Dissidence

Dissidence by Ken MacLeod
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really liked it

Macleod ventures into Charles Stross territory with the launch of this new series, emphasizing action and satire while mixing in some hard SF and hard-left politics. The story is sort of a reverse Matrix - long dead mercenaries are digitally revived a thousand or so years in the future and placed in what they are told is a simulated reality, then are uploaded into mechanical bodies in the "real" world to fight space battles against rebellious, newly sentient robots. Along the way they are forced to question which version of reality is the genuine one, along with whether the parent company that conscripted them can be trusted, or if they are now working for the same entity they were fighting against a millennium ago.

A nice set up with engaging characters and some good twists to keep things humming along. The end result feels a little slight, though, even with the usual political and philosophical musings from this author. I plan on reading the rest of the series, though, and I trust Macleod to keep delivering the goods.
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Reading Progress

January 1, 2017 – Started Reading
January 4, 2017 – Shelved
January 4, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Stevie Kincade I have tried to get the audio of this for a year with no luck, some licensing issue in Australia. The "reverse matrix" premise sounds great


message 2: by Gary (last edited Jun 16, 2017 07:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary Stevie wrote: "I have tried to get the audio of this for a year with no luck, some licensing issue in Australia. The "reverse matrix" premise sounds great"

That sucks. It's a pretty short book, though, if you ever feel like snagging a print or ebook copy.


message 3: by Gerhard (new)

Gerhard Haven't read Macleod in years; this series looks like great fun. Weren't Stross/Macleod contemporaries on the SF scene when they made their debut?


Gary They are more or less contemporaries, but Macleod is a little older and found success as a novelist while Stross was still just publishing short fiction sporadically. Stross is a fan of Macleod, and has cited him as an influence, I believe. So I see this series as a fun bit of turnaround.


Peter Tillman > Macleod ventures into Charles Stross territory ...

I think it's more accurate to say that Stross & Macleod are Edinburgh mates, read each others stuff, and talk about it. This one is actually the latest in a series of KenMac ruminations on runaway machine intelligence.

Good review of a good book Thanks!


Gary Peter wrote: "> Macleod ventures into Charles Stross territory ...

I think it's more accurate to say that Stross & Macleod are Edinburgh mates, read each others stuff, and talk about it. This one is actually th..."


True, Stross and Macleod have a lot of intersecting themes and interests in their work. I always found Macleod a little more esoteric, while Stross went for mainstream fanboy appeal. In this book I think Macleod emphasized action and a broader sense of humor, which gave it a more Strossian feel.


Peter Tillman Sensible comments, thanks. I do miss the SFnal Stross, and I'm looking forward to "Empire Games", which came in the mail yesterday.

And a question on the trilogy: I saw your (mildly negative) review for #2. That , and other more strongly negative comments, make me think of skipping over #2, and going straight to #3. Comments?

I'm just finishing #1 and liking it a LOT.

Too bad this one didn't sell better for KenMac. Probably not a good idea to spread it over three books. But still...


Gary Peter wrote: "Sensible comments, thanks. I do miss the SFnal Stross, and I'm looking forward to "Empire Games", which came in the mail yesterday.

And a question on the trilogy: I saw your (mildly negative) revi..."


I don't think you should skip #2, just be prepared for something a lot more cerebral.


Peter Tillman Thanks. The ending for #1 was, hrm. Abrupt, confusing, and out of left field. Still digesting that.


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