Monday, 2016-08-15

The Corporation Wars: Dissidence by Ken MacLeod

Warning: mild spoilers.

Sadly not one of MacLeod’s better books.

I think the idea of a series makes sense commercially. But while this book touches on similar themes as Newton’s Wake it feels more rushed.

The central conflict between the Acceleration and the Reaction (“Axle” and “Rax”) is hugely important, but we don’t really get a background in why we should care. I guess the Rax is the current “alt right” internet trolls with nukes and nanotech, or it could all be a huge mindfuck like the fact that the Carlyles in Newton’s Wake were originally Glaswegian gangsters, and the hated Rax are actually the good guys?

In short, the book doesn’t really delve into the fantastically unreliable narrator a simulated human could be, instead presenting people doing life-altering things simply from reading a message, despite knowing they’re in a simulation run by possibly hostile AIs. As this is an area that’s been explored before by MacLeod, simply skipping it to get plot momentum seems sloppy.

However it’s an enjoyable read and I will most definitely read the rest of the series. Maybe the big payoff is in the last book. I hope so!