Monday, May 21, 2012

'Night Sessions'

 a book review by Edd Doerr

The Night Sessions, by Ken MacLeod. PYR (an imprint of Prometheus Books), 2012, 263 pp. $17.95.

A Catholic priest and an Anglican bishop are murdered. In Edinburgh, Scotland. This fast-paced science-fiction mystery involves robots, computers, AI, creationists, fundamentalists, "Faith Wars", space elevators, terrorism, church-state separation, climate change, cops and politicians.

Here is a sample from the middle of the novel: "Ferguson [the cop] knew what she meant. The bad times encompassed the final years of  the Faith Wars, and the upheavals that followed, all played out against the climate crisis  .... The mood of revulsion against the Faith Wars had crystallised around the notion of a Second Enlightenment, one that would separate not merely the Church from the state,  but religion from politics, and from public life altogether. The fall of the great religious establishments had been as swift and sudden as that of communism. After decades of religious inspiration or exacerbation of terrorism, fundamentalism, apocalyptic wars, creationism, climate-change denial, women's oppression, poverty, ignorance and disease, it was payback time. In a variety of forms, secularism had swept the board in all the advanced countries. .... The faith-heads had called it the Great Rejection....."

I can say no more without giving away the plot. This is the kind of s-f that Isaac Asimov would have liked.

Ken MacLeod is a prolific writer from  Scotland.

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