Saturday, September 19, 2009

Book Review - Desolation Road by Ian McDonald

Desolation Road
By Ian McDonald
PYR (An imprint of Prometheus Books)
Published 2009
ISBN 978-1-59102-744-7
Trade Paperback (Reprint)
Cover Illustration by Stephan Martiniere
363 pages

Too long out of print Ian McDonald's “Desolation Road” is superb, highly entertaining science fiction and an exceptional first novel.

McDonald is frequently compared to many of the great classic Science Fiction writers, and for good reason, his style and creative devices are poetically unique. Elements of Walter Miller's “Canticle For Lebowitz,” China Meiville’s unique world building, and a remarkable similarity to Fred Pohl and Robert Heinlein’s storytelling skills are evident. Ian McDonald is, in my estimation, one of our most talented Science Fiction novelists and “Desolation Road” is the best Science Fiction I’ve read in some years.

“Desolation Road” where time begins and the road ends.

Teraforming, time travel, living machines, assassins, chronokinetics, a powerful evil corporation, politics, mystical powers, robots, super-tech weapons, labor strikes, and an assortment of the most amazing characters ever created McDonald is ready to steal the spotlight from the classic Science Fiction writers of yesteryear. A unique voice in an ocean teaming with competition McDonald will, in my estimation, stand the difficult test of time.

Bizarre characters like the mysterious greenperson; Dr. Alimantando, the time traveling founding father of the town of Desolation Road; Persis Tatterdemalion, the now grounded, once high flying, stunt woman, and her Astounding Tatterdemalion Air Bazaar; and Adam Black’s Wonderful Traveling Chataqua and Educational ‘Stravaganza, to name just a few, will draw you in. You’ll be dismayed each time you have to put it down. Expect to stay up late reading this one! “Desolation Road” includes and provides insight into most of the basic themes of great Science Fiction but far more than that it is creative beyond your wildest imagination.

Thanks PYR for bringing back this out of print gem!

5 out of 5 stars

More information about Ian McDonald can be found here at Wikipedia and here at the author’s LiveJournal site “Cyberabad”

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin


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