Synopses & Reviews
Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a pre-industrial Eden. Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems. On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth's repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition.
The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions. On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it's too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards. Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war . . .
"Shortlisted for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, this sweeping interplanetary adventure is also a thoughtful examination of human nature. The few people remaining on feudal 23rd-century Earth are obsessed with repairing the damaged ecosystem, while the near-anarchic Outers, who fled to the solar system's outer worlds, would rather probe the atmosphere of Saturn and grow gardens in vacuum. Earth tries to rein in the Outers with a campaign of intrigue, assassination and sabotage that culminates in bloody carnage. McAuley (Cowboy Angels) moves deftly among five well-drawn characters in the thick of the action: a cloned spy, a hotshot pilot, a ruthless scientist, a bluntly independent biological engineer and an unscrupulous diplomat. They all, in different ways, must choose between the familiar and the new, struggling to reconcile conflicting desires. This compelling tale opens vast panoramas while confronting believable people with significant choices. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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, asks the question: Who decides what it means to be human?
About the Author
Paul McAuley's first novel won the Philip K. Dick Award and he has gone on to win almost all of the major awards in the field. For many years a research biologist, he now writes full-time. He lives in London. Visit Paul McAuley online at http://unlikelyworlds.blogspot.com/