Review: River of Gods, by Ian McDonald

River of Gods is a truly collective story, told as seen through the eyes of nine different people, living their different lives. Some are people of power, some are not, but they are all played by the main, hidden, character the revelation of which is a main turning point in the tale. Some such stories can be hard to follow but this one is not. Instead it reminds me of the ideas of “the weave of time” or “life mosaic”, were a lot of small pieces or different strands all contribute to a greater picture, an image larger than any of it’s pieces. For this is a well written and expertly told tale, as told by the cybernetic fires of the future.

What makes the book so good is not the inventiveness, nor the clever plot. Sometimes when I anticipate a certain development in a story I feel *d’uh* when it finally arrives. Not so this time, nor did the truly sciencefictional conclusion feel beyond belief, even if that’s what it was. No, the true greatness of this book is the vivid textures, the smells, the cast – all interesting, capturing the curiosity of at least this reader, even when they are disgusting or overzealous or delusional. Because when they are they are human, and true to their respective character. And in the end, for all their free will, they have been goaded in the same direction, to replay a greater story…

Definitely recommended reading for anyone enjoying science fiction not for the fun and escapism but for the intelligence and thoughtfulness.

(I’ll also venture that anyone with some knowledge about India will find it interesting, whether you are used to reading science fiction or not.)

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One thought on “Review: River of Gods, by Ian McDonald

  1. Pingback: Review: Cyberabad Days, by Ian McDonald « re:considering

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