River of Gods: August 15, 2047—Happy Birthday, India

Ian McDonald, Author . Pyr $25 (599p) ISBN 978-1-59102-436-1

This ambitious portrait of a future India from British author McDonald (Desolation Road ) offers multitudes: gods, castes, protagonists, cultures. Nine disparate characters, including a cop, a scientist and a stand-up comic, act out their related dramas—be they personal, political or of the mystery-thriller variety—in successive chapters within each of the book's five sections. In the India of 2047, genetically engineered children comprise a new caste, adults can be surgically transformed into a neutral gender, a water war has broken out as the Ganges threatens to run dry, AIs are violently destroyed if they approach levels akin to human intelligence, and something strange has just appeared in the solar system. The deliberate pace and lack of explanation require patience at the outset, but readers will become increasingly hooked as the pieces of McDonald's richly detailed world fall into place. Already nominated for both Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke awards, this is sure to one of the more talked-about SF novels of the year. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/30/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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