The Barrow

11/22/06

India comes to San Antonio

“Ian McDonald's newest novel is one of the best blends of literary and science fiction writing I've read. River of Gods is full of the descriptive writing that permeates literary novels. For instance, it opens and closes with garlands of sun-colored marigolds swirling among the debris and corpses that fill India's holiest river. And yet the book is also a vision of India madly in love with computers. Not surprisingly, McDonald, a previous Philip K. Dick Award winner, snagged the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel when River of Gods debuted overseas and was nominated for the Hugo and the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2005…McDonald unveils the plot in flashes of evocative phrasing, such as 'the couple of generals gorgeous as parakeets in their full dress.' He can be succinctly biting, as with 'the guilt and thrill of a really good class system.' But the novel's true richness comes from offering an immersion in Hindu and Muslim mythology and social norms…McDonald offers a glossary to ease reading…River of Gods is so dense that I suspect a second reading will offer lots more meaning than first perceived. And it's worth the challenge to dip into a realistic vision of a future driven by technology.” -San Antonio Express-News, Nov. 12, 2006

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