Author: Ken MacLeod

Information about the author.

Works

Book:Learning the World

Learning the World: A Scientific Romance

Ken MacLeod

Humanity has spread to every star within 500 light-years of its half-forgotten origin, coloring the sky with a haze of habitats. Societies rise and fall. Incautious experiments burn fast and fade. On the fringes, less modified humans get on with the job of settling a universe that has, so far, been empty of intelligent life.

The ancient starship But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! is entering orbit around a promising new system after a four hundred year journey. For its long-lived inhabitants, the centuries have been busy. Now a younger generation is eager to settle the system. The ship is a seed-pod ready to burst.

Then they detect curious electromagnetic emissions from the system’s Earth-like world. As the nature of the signals becomes clear, the choices facing the humans become stark. …[more]

Book:The Execution Channel

The Execution Channel

Ken MacLeod

It’s after 9/11. After the bombing. After the Iraq war. After 7/7. After the Iran war. After the nukes. After the flu. After the Straits. After Rosyth. In a world just down the road from our own, on-line bloggers vie with old-line political operatives and new-style police to determine just where reality lies.

James Travis is a British patriot and a French spy. On the day the Big One hits, Travis and his daughter must strive to make sense of the nuclear bombing of Scotland and the political repercussions of a series of terrorist attacks. With the information war in full swing, the only truth they have is what they’re able to see with their own eyes. They know that everything else is—or may be—a lie.

Book:The Cassini Division

The Cassini Division

Ken MacLeod

Ellen May Ngewthu is a young woman with centuries of experience, a soldier and leader of the Cassini Division, the elite defense force of the utopian Solar Union. Here in the twenty-fourth century, the forts of the Division, in orbit around a mysteriously transformed Jupiter, are the front line in humanity’s long standoff with the unknowable posthumans—godlike and remote beings descended from the people who transformed themselves with high technology centuries ago.

The posthumans’ capacities are unknown…but we know they disintegrated Ganymede, we know they punched a wormhole into Jovian space, and we know that the very surface of the solar system’s largest planet has been altered by their incomprehensible artifacts. Worst of all, we know that they have been bombarding the solar system with powerful data viruses for generations.

Now Ellen has a plan to rid humanity of this threat once and for all. But she needs to recruit the right people to her…[more]

Book:The Star Fraction

The Star Fraction

Ken MacLeod

Moh Kohn is a security mercenary, his smart gun and killer reflexes for hire. Janis Taine is a scientist working on memory-enhancing drugs, fleeing the US/UN’s technology cops. Jordan Brown is a teenager in the Christian enclave of Beulah City, dealing in theologically-correct software for the world’s fundamentalists-and wants out.

In a balkanized twenty-first century, where the “peace process” is deadlier than war, the US/UN’s spy satellites have everyone in their sights. But the Watchmaker has other plans, and the lives of Moh, Janis, and Jordan are part of the program. A specter is haunting the fight for space and freedom, the specter of the betrayed revolution that happened before…

Book:Cosmonaut Keep

Cosmonaut Keep: Book 1 of Engines of Light

Ken MacLeod

Matt Cairns is a 21st-century outlaw Programmer who takes on the shady jobs no one else will touch. Against his better judgment, he accepts an assignment to crack the Marshall Titov, a top-secret orbital station operated by the European Space Agency. But what Matt will discover there will propel him on an extraordinary and quite unexpected journey.

Gregor Cairns is an exobiology student and descendant of one of Terra Nova’s first families. Hopelessly infatuated with a lovely young trader’s daughter, he is unaware that his research partner, Elizabeth, has fallen in love with him. Together, Gregor and Elizabeth confront the great work his family began three centuries earlier-to rediscover the secret of interstellar travel.

Ranging from a gritty near-future Earth to a distant alien world, Cosmonaut Keep is contemporary science fiction at its highest level, a visionary epic filled with daring individuals seeking a place for themselves in a vast, complex, and enigmatic universe.

Book:The Sky Road

The Sky Road

Ken MacLeod

Centuries after the catastrophic Deliverance, humanity is again reaching into space. And Clovis, a young scholar working in the spaceship-construction yard, could make the difference between success and failure. For his mysterious new lover, Merrial, has seduced him into the idea of extrapolating the ship’s future from the dark archives of the past.

A past in which, centuries before, Myra Godwin faced the end of a different space age—her rockets redundant, her people rebellious, and her borders defenseless against the Sino-Soviet Union. As Myra appealed to the crumbling West for help, she found history turning on her own strange past—and on the terrible decisions she faces now.

Decisions which, centuries later, will determine the direction of the new space age. Merrial’s people, the mysterious “tinkers,” know this. And they know that the truth lies in the secret files left by Myra Godwin.

Book:The Stone Canal

The Stone Canal

Ken MacLeod

Life on New Mars is tough for humans, but death is only a minor inconvenience. The machines know their place, the free market rules all, and only the Abolitionists object.

Then a stranger arrives on New Mars, a clone who remember his life on Earth as Jonathan Wilde, the anarchist with a nuclear capability who was accused of losing World War III. This stranger also remembers one David Reid, who now serves as New Mars’s leader. Long ago, it turns out, Wilde and Reid had shared ideals and fought over the same women.

Moving from 20th-century Scotland through a tumultuous 21st century and outward to humanity’s settlement on a planet circling another star, The Stone Canal is idea-driven sci-fi at its best., making real and believable a future where long lives, strange deaths, and unexpected knowledge await those who survive the wars and revolutions to come.

Book:Intrusion (Ken MacLeod)

Intrusion

Ken MacLeod

Imagine a near-future city, say London, where medical science has advanced beyond our own and a single-dose pill has been developed that, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn child.

Hope Morrison, mother of a hyperactive four-year-old, is expecting her second child. She refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known. This divides her family and friends and puts her and her husband in danger of imprisonment or worse. Is her decision a private matter of individual choice, or is it tantamount to willful neglect of her unborn child?

A plausible and original novel with sinister echoes of 1984 and Brave New World.

Book:The Restoration Game

The Restoration Game

Ken MacLeod

There is no such place as Krassnia. Lucy Stone should know—she was born there. In that tiny, troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organizers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game? Lucy, who works for a start-up games company in Edinburgh, has a project that almost seems made for the job: a game inspired by The Krassniad, an epic folk tale concocted by Lucy’s mother, Amanda, who studied there in the 1980s. Lucy knows Amanda is a spook. She knows her great-grandmother Eugenie also visited the country in the 1930s and met the man who originally collected Krassnian folklore, and who perished in Stalin’s terror. As Lucy digs up details about her birthplace to slot into the game, she finds the open secrets of her family’s past, the darker secrets of Krassnia’s past—and hints about the crucial role she is destined to play in The Restoration Game… …[more]

Book:Newton's Wake

Newton's Wake: A Space Opera

Ken MacLeod

In the aftermath of the Hard Rapture—a cataclysmic war sparked by the explosive evolution of Earth’s artificial intelligences into godlike beings—a few remnants of humanity managed to survive. Some even prospered.

Lucinda Carlyle, head of an ambitious clan of galactic entrepreneurs, had carved out a profitable niche for herself and her kin by taking control of the Skein, a chain of interplanetary star-gates left behind by the posthumans. But on a world called Eurydice, a remote planet at the farthest rim of the galaxy, Lucinda stumbled upon a forgotten relic of the past that could threaten her way of life.

For, in the last instants before the war, a desperate band of scientists had scanned billions of human personalities into digital storage and sent them into space in the hope of one day resurrecting them in the flesh. Now, armed, dangerous, and very much alive, these revenants have triggered a fateful confrontation that could shatter the balance of power, and even change the nature of reality itself.

Book:Dark Light

Dark Light: Book 2 of The Engines of Light

Ken MacLeod

Intelligence, it turns out, is rare—on planetary surfaces. It thrives everywhere else, from the Oort-cloud fringes of star systems to the magma furnaces beneath planetary crusts. And among the most powerful of the galaxy’s intelligences, there are profound differences of opinion about how to deal with surface life-forms such as human beings.

For, untold light years from Earth, the powers that rule the universe have been, for millennia, plucking humans (and other intelligent beings) from Earth and forcibly resettling them in a number of star systems close to one another, leaving them to develop on their own. A few generations ago, a small cadre of humans from Earth’s 21st century arrived in this “Second Sphere” on their own power—the first humans ever to do so. Their descendants have formed the “Cosmonaut” class that dominates Mingulay. Now, two hundred years later, Gregor Cairns and a small group of associates have rediscovered faster-than-light travel and traveled to the star system next door. They’re determined to find more of the original, mysteriously long-lived cosmonauts. They want answers. And for those answers, they intend to interrogate the gods.

Book:The Engines of Light series

The Engines of Light series

Ken MacLeod

Ranging from a gritty near-future Earth to a distant alien world, The Engines of Light is contemporary science fiction at its highest level, a visionary epic filled with daring individuals seeking a place for themselves in a vast, complex, and enigmatic universe.

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