River of Gods (India , #1) by Ian McDonald
From gangsters to government advisors, from superstitious street-boys to scientists to computer-generated soap stars, River of Gods shows a civilization in flux - a river of gods. This is an SF novel that blew apart the narrow anglo and US-centric concerns of the genre and ushered in a new global consciousness for the genre.
His family moved to Northern Island in He now lives in Belfast and works in TV production. The author of many previous novels including the groundbreaking Chaga books set in Africa Ian McDonald has long been at the cutting edge of SF. Rating details. Our customer reviews Facing a crippling water shortage in the third year of failed monsoons, the Prime Minister of Bharat orders her armed forces to seize the great dam on the Ganges in neighbouring Awadh.
RIVER OF GODS – Ian McDonald (2004)
The ensuing political and military crisis spins out of control when her principal political opponent exploits a sexual scandal involving the Prime Minister's closest advisor to rouse the masses against her and her government. Amid the escalating turmoil a government investigator ceaselessly hunts a generation three AEAI, a rogue sentient entity lurking in the interstices of Bharat's network infrastructure, while across the seas an American scientist is enlisted to unravel the mystery of an alien object embedded deep within an asteroid.
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Structured in five parts, the story unfolds through the interlocking narratives of its eight main characters: Shiv, a small-time gangster, purveyor of body parts, and errand-runner within the grey economy of the Indian underworld; Mr Nandha, Krishna Cop, a high-level government agent who seeks out and terminates illegal AIs; Khan, a ranking civil servant and top-level adviser to the Prime Minister; Najia, an investigative journalist; Lisa, an American scientist in charge of a major evolutionary simulation experiment; Tull, a renowned expert in artificial intelligence who abandoned academia and vanished into the teeming Indian masses; Tal, a set designer for a wildly popular Indian soap opera; and Vishram, a stand-up comic and heir to a major energy conglomerate.
A fairly demanding book -- not least because of the need to keep track of eight separate story lines -- "River of Gods" fully rewards the reader's effort as McDonald skillfully synthesizes numerous themes from cyberpunk and recent speculative fiction to produce a rich and remarkably plausible vision of the future.
The plotting is solid, the characters are well developed and believable, the setting is rich in cultural detail, and the writing is uniformly excellent throughout. Added by 1 of our members. August 15th, Happy Hundredth Birthday, India In the mid twenty-first century, Mother India is all the things she is now - ancient and vibrant, poor yet staggeringly rich.
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Like The Dervish House , it tells the same story from the perspectives of many different people — a vicious street criminal, a cybercop, a genderless fashonista, a politician, a lonely housewife, a pair of naive computer programmers, a reporter, a comedian, and a prophet. Through their eyes, McDonald draws a picture of a future India that stands on the edge of a technological revolution, but has not yet finished its struggle with poverty and religious bigotry.
Tal is a neut — short for neuter and neutral, a self-described noncombatant in the war for genetic survival. The description of what Tal went through to achieve this state is simultaneously frightening and fascinating — the ability of an individual to choose that level of body modification could have been the core of its own novel.
Instead, McDonald has Tal embody the emotional and social consequences of this technology.