Reviews: The 2017 Prometheus Award Finalists

You Don’t Own Me

Dissidence — Ken MacLeod
The Corporation Wars, book 1

The Corporation Wars: Dissidence is the first volume in Ken MacLeod’s Corporation Wars series. It is one of two books from the series that were nominated for this year’s Prometheus Award. Due to lack of time, it is the only one of the two that I will be reviewing.

Illicit drone warfare for the shape of the human future is all fun and games until, as Carlos the Terrorist found out, your allies turn on you and frame you for an atrocity—your enemies work out where you are—and someone drops a building on your head. Player One has left the game. Not completely out (the building was full of cryogens and you were flash frozen) but out for several centuries.

Fast forward those few centuries and medical advances have made death a curable condition.

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I’m Riding High Upon a Deep Depression

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 — Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver’s 2016 The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 is the third in a series of reviews … a series I am increasingly coming to repent ever having begun.

When investors decline to continue funding America’s soaring debt, the US’s foreign-born Latino President decides the only acceptable solution is to default on the debts. The consequences will reverberate for decades.

Many members of the implausibly named Mandible family used to take comfort from the knowledge that when their irascible patriarch finally died, his fortune would be divided among them. But the collapse of the US dollar (and the American economy with it) has stripped the old man of most of his assets. His remaining assets have lost most of their value. The Mandibles and America with them will be forced to do something unthinkable: adapt to changing circumstances.

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Working Darkness Underground

Blade of p’Na — L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith’s 2016’s Blade of p’Na is the next Prometheus Award finalist selected for review by my complex sorting algorithm (I threw dice).

Four hundred million years of civilization is long enough for a race like the Elders to have developed some very odd hobbies. Among the avocations the nautiloid Elders dabbled in was Appropriating doomed or interesting beings from neighbouring universes. This did not end so well for the Elders in question (who committed suicide once they noticed the inherent contradiction between their ethic of ‘freedom for all!’ and ‘kidnapping’ [1]) but it has worked out pretty well for the Appropriated and their descendants.

Take Eichra Oren, for example.

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A Long Cold Lonely Winter

The Core of the Sun — Johanna Sinisalo

2013’s The Core of the Sun is a standalone dystopian novel by Johanna Sinisalo. First published in Finnish, the 2016 English edition was translated by Lola Rogers. It’s also the first of four reviews of 2017 Prometheus Nominees (I sure hope I have written the intro for the series of reviews by the time this review is posted).

The Eustitocratic Republic Finland is a utopia … or so it assures its citizens. If you cannot trust an intrusive, nanny-state that goes to extraordinary lengths to isolate its people from the outside world, whom can you trust? The people of Finland live healthy, properly ordered lives, unlike the legions of unfortunates trapped in hedonistic, decadent democracies.

The key to this dazzling success is the proper domestication of women.

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