August Books 2) The Night Sessions, by Ken MacLeod

An excellent merging of numerous MacLeod themes, shaken and stirred to produce a thought-provoking result. The book is set in a relatively near-future independent Scotland, after the victory of secularism against religion throughout the English-speaking world, but is nothing like as polemical as that summary might make it sound; it is told from the point of view of the policeman investigating the murder of a Catholic priest, a crime which leads him into the underground world of the surviving Christian churches and the existential and political problems of intelligent robots, built for a war which is now over. (In general, I hate cute anthromorphic robots, but these are not cute and only optionally anthroporphic, and I was entirely satisfied by their psychology.) I wished the ending had been unpacked a bit, but I also know that MacLeod sometimes expects a bit of brain-work from his readers.

Although this is a stand-alone book, and so is MacLeod’s forthcoming The Restoration Game, astute readers will note that both feature U.S. intelligence, computer games, and New Zealand, though to differing extents.

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