Ken MacLeod The Stone Canal (Legend 1996; £15.99 hb, 322pp)
Follow-up to the highly successful The Star Fraction from the West Lothian based author. Both witty and funny, zestful, and written with extraordinary panache, this confirms MacLeod as a great white hope of British sf. There’s a joyous relish in this tale – which brackets The Star Fraction in its telling – of a coming-of-age in contemporary Scotland (1995′s Glasgow Worldcon is an off-stage locale) through to a working anarchy on a colony planet via a European revolution. There’s much play with such current sf icons as AIs, nanotech, VR, resurrection of the dead, information science and cosmology, but all properly subservient to a cracking story with engaging and convincing characters. It’s all reminiscent of the excitement generated by John Varley in the 70s (without the dreary Heinlein-worship; when will American authors throw off his dead fist?), though MacLeod writes from a very British perspective and with a most welcome political intelligence. Very highly recommended, and my book of the year back in 1996.  Buy! Read!
Amazon UK link: The Stone Canal