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Reviews of Cosmonaut Keep (2000)

Review by mwisse (2003-03-10)
This is MacLeod latest novel and also the first in a new series. Until now, all his books were part of the "Fall Revolution" series. However, MacLeod still returns to the same themes he has used before. As in most, if not all his novels, he again weaves two story threads together, one set in "the present", the other in "the past", though both set in the future from our pov.

The underlying premise of this book is that there are certain god like aliens, whom over the centuries have kidnapped groups of humans and transported them across the galaxy to various solar systems. The latest of the human colonies, Mingulay is different. Different, because it was settled by a group of humans who were not kidnapped, but who managed to get there themselves. The present time storyline takes place here, during a period of first contact with the eldest and most powerful human colony.

The other storyline takes place in the mid-twentyfirst century, where Europe has been conquered by a resurgent USSR, the Singularity has failed to happen and now a EU space station has made contact with aliens. And software geek Matt Cairns, living in occupied Scotland, has just recieved some very interesting info...

As always, Ken has paid good attention to the political side of things.There was one political discussion in particular that made me laugh, as it was such a typical Usenet argument. The technical side of things was also handled well, though the central macguffin of the second storyline was so much technobabble, but at least it was convincing technobabble.

The various aliens in the Mingulay sequence were rerasonably well realised, but not spectaculary so. However, there's at least one concept which I hadn't encountered before, but it's a bit of a spoiler to say what it was.

All in all, this is recommended, even though some people I could mention were disappointed by the small role the squid like aliens played.

(Taken from my booklog at

Martin Wisse

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