Friday, January 28, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Ian McDonald - Blue Tyson

Ian McDonald is a slow but very talented science fiction novelist who has made it to double figures. He has produced a reasonable amount of short fiction, some of which is in his three collections. A good portion of his work has been concerned with the developments in near-future non-Western settings in Africa, Asia and South America. A reasonable amount of his earlier work I have not seen, and if he owns it again would be an intriguing project for a digital publisher.

He has written a couple of new-style planetary romances of trains on Mars such as Ares Express and the Catherine Wheel but has also managed to come up with some powerful posthuman New Space Opera stories about the Clade, which really makes us want to see more. Same goes as for his early work, if he comes up with another story there'd be a nice little collection there.

The Days of Solomon Gursky has the dead fighting in space. Verthandi's Ring is the story of a long-running and large scale conflict between two civilisations, when a brilliant Clade war leader returning home, and tells them she has a staggering solution to their problem. The Tear is an extraordinarily dense tour in the life of a young Clade man as he makes his evolutionary changes and grows up, then goes through friends and enemies (and changings around of) and alien aggressors to come back. Two of my favourite stories.

The Days of Solomon Gursky

The Tear

Verthandi's Ring

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