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The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod

The Stone Canal (1996)

by Ken MacLeod

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Fall Revolution - timeline 1 (2)

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One strand runs from the present day in the UK, the other beginning hundreds of years in the future on New Mars, a human colony half a galaxy away. Each strand revolves around two main characters, Jonathan Wilde and Dave Reid, friends and competitors, political radicals, and both in love with the same woman.

The strand that runs from the present day has Wilde and Reid ricocheting off each other as rivals, both for Annette, who becomes Wilde's wife, and politically, as Reid's agenda takes him rightward, while Wilde's takes him leftward into anarchist/libertarian streams of thought. Ironically, each triggers the other, Wilde inundating Reid with a wide variety of political propaganda from all over the world as revenge for propositioning Annette, while Reid sets Wilde up as a political agent with funding enabling his views to be widely propagated.

In the second strand, Wilde awakes on the banks of the stone canal, to be told by a robot named Jay-Dub that his body is a freshly grown clone with Wilde's mind downloaded into it. He soon discovers that the colony is run by Dave Reid -- and the last memory Wilde has of Reid is of him being there when Wilde was gunned down. He also discovers that Reid has a clone of his wife, though downloaded with a machine intelligence. An age old battle is rejoined, with the future of the colony at stake.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
The story of a friendship that spans 300 (yes, 300 years--it all makes sense without the need for pixie-dust or some such crutch), during which civilization crumbles (sort of) and a new civilization (sort of) rises on another planet.

All the while, Macloed's ruminations on the nature of revolutions and the (post)human condition keep the reader's feet on the ground while being dazzled by the his imaginative brilliance. My favorite of the Fall Revolution books. ( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
Sometimes I feel like Macleod is writing novels just for me to enjoy, since the number of references to things with which I am familiar and the way he can mix them all into one surprising melange is uncanny. I wish now I had not given my early edition of The Star Fraction away as I would love to re-read it now. More mixtures of politics and computing in Finsbury Park and Glasgow and elsewhere, this time with much of the action taking place far away and on a much bigger stage than in either The Sky Road or the Star Fraction. The plot is great, the characters you feel you know and the humour stops you taking any of it too deeply yet makes it serious at the same time. ( )
  kevinashley | Sep 21, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ken MacLeodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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- we have the certainty that matter remains eternally the same in all its transformations, that none of its attributes can ever be lost, and therefore, also, that with the same iron necessity that it will exterminate on the earth its highest creation, the thinking mind, it must somewhere else and at another time again produce it.

Frederick Engels, Dialectics of Nature
To Sharon and Michael
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He woke, and remembered dying.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812568648, Paperback)

"So it's true what they say: information wants to be free!" But the information in question, in this case, is Dee Model, a sexy, butt-kicking, love-slave android who's just mysteriously become self-aware, eluded her owner, and filed for her own autonomy. And the person making the remark (ironic given that it's a centuries-old reference) is Ax Terminal, a "freelance professional eunuch and part-time catamite," a resident of New Mars, the wormhole-away-from-Jupiter free-market anarchy set up thanks to the fast-folk, an uploaded race of ├╝berhumans experiencing reality and evolving at ultrahigh speeds. Android Dee, as it turns out, may have been nudged toward freedom by Jon Wilde, her cloned body's former husband (they met at Glasgow University back in the '70s), who just recently came back from the dead (revived by himself, in robot form) to join in the struggle between robot abolitionists and the malicious boss man of New Mars, David Reid (Wilde's former rival and owner of the sex slave that happens to be a cloned copy of Wilde's former wife). Now this is what great science fiction is all about.

Action-packed, inventive, and satisfyingly weird, Ken MacLeod's Stone Canal (the retroactively U.S.-released prequel to The Cassini Division) lets loose with a steady stream of challenging ideas and novel technology, taking on questions of free will, identity, and the nature of consciousness, all the while telling a bang-up story. Reminiscent of K.W. Jeter's best work, The Stone Canal certainly deserves a look. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:35 -0400)

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Life on New Mars is threatened with the arrival of a clone of the man blamed for starting World War III.

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