Null States by Malka Ann Older
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley for the Arc!
When I read the first book in the series, Infomocracy, I loved it for the hardcore idea-based SF couched in a technothriller base, and Null States continues on in the same tradition.
Only, this next novel isn't all about a high-tech election based on micro-democracy with a mix of intrigue and corruption. Rather, it's about population areas outside of the Infomocracy and an assassination that grows ever more complicated as the novel progresses.
In a lot of ways, it's better than the first. I had some issues with the original in that we were steeped in political information and states and parties that meant very little to me until much later. This one was much more focused on specific and interesting locations. Plenty of mystery, plenty of interesting character development, and plenty of good futuristic technothriller.
The science isn't as interesting as the politics, however. There's plenty to say about possible modes of thinking and action and communication, all of which use hands-free instant communication technologies that veer deep into total computer tech, widely used across the board except for certain locations or differences of use. And that's where we get some of the most interesting sequences, in my opinion.
I love idea novels. :) This one should give us a lot of interesting avenues. Perhaps even some real dialogue on the intersections between emerging tech and how people will eventually get things done.
As for world-building, this is also top-notch. It's far enough away from us to have full freedom and near enough to us that we recognize everything. I can't complain at all. :)
I suppose my only complaint might be the fact that I sometimes got lost in locations and names, not being 100% conversant in all places or languages, but it wasn't bad at all. It just took some more effort.
Overall, though, I'm very happy to say this is continuing the story (and the original MC) in high form.
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