Degrees of Freedom by Simon Morden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This third novel in the Petrovitch books is easily the one I enjoyed the most. But why? Ah, well... because of everything that came before. But why?
Because while this novel takes place years after the first two books, headed far, far away from the time when Samuil used to be a very smart operative and well after the time he was just known as a breakthrough scientist -- adding a true AI buddy named Michael and a true anti-grav device using miniature black holes to his list of accomplishments -- he's still better known for being damn smart. Across many levels.
He's an SF wizard. Like, literally. He's one of the smartest people on the planet and nothing stands in his way. He's also ruthless. And yet, his progress as a decent human being is a huge part of these books. I'm enjoying it. :) Lots and lots of entertainment here. :) And it doesn't hurt that he cuts through problems with the cleverest nuclear solutions. How does he stop all of Europe from being annihilated by the crazy Americans? ooooh goodness.. you just have to read. :)
The author never stints and explaining a scientific concept, which I appreciate, but he does let us (or forces us) make do with the state of the world and any kind of interpersonal changes that might have gone on in the intervening years between books. Don't expect any hand-holding there. Jump in and figure it out for yourself. The journey is as fun as the discovery.
It makes for a slightly more difficult story, but who wants everything handed to them on a platter?
As it is, I'm mightily impressed with the scope of our changed world and just how crazy it has all become in these novels. Our near-future has never been so bleak OR hopeful at the same time. :)
Techno-thriller. Check. Hard-SF. Check. Soft-SF focusing on relationships and our state in the world, including AIs and sociopathy. Check. Higher-than-ever stakes. Check. I think it's a damn fine book. :)
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