Now, with The Caryatids, Sterling has written a stunning testament of faith in the power of human intellect, creativity, and spirit to overcome any obstacle - even the obstacles we carry inside ourselves.
The world of 2060 is divided into three spheres of influence, each fighting with the others over the resources of fallen nations and an environment degraded almost to the point of no return. There is the Dispensation, centered in Los Angeles, where entertainment and capitalism have fused with the highest of high-tech. There is the Acquis, a Green-centered collective that uses invasive neurological technology to create a networked utopia. And there is China, the sole surviving nation-state, a dinosaur that has prospered only by pitilessly pruning its own population.
Products of this monstrous world, the daughters of a monstrous mother, and - according to some - monsters themselves, are the Caryatids: the four surviving female clones of a mad Balkan genius and wanted war criminal.
Radmila is a Dispensation star determined to forget her past by building a glittering, impregnable future. Vera is an Acquis functionary dedicated to reclaiming their home, the Croatian island of Mljet, from catastrophic pollution. Sonja is a medical specialist renowned for selflessly risking herself to help others. And Biserka is a one-woman terrorist network.
The four "sisters" are united only by their hatred for their "mother" - and for one another. When evidence surfaces of a coming environmental cataclysm, the Dispensation sends its greatest statesman - or salesman - John Montgomery Montalban, husband of Radmila, and lover of Vera and Sonja, to gather the Caryatids together in an audacious plan to...
©2009 Bruce Sterling; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"A new novel from Sterling is a guarantee of something wild and tasty, and The Caryatids amply fulfills that promise." (Publishers Weekly)
Bruce Sterling offers a brilliant new frame of reference for science fiction-the voice of women (cloned no less, but still each of them all woman). And as Sterling is science fictions incarnation of Jane Austen, we have a very perceptive author at work.
The narrative's starting point - what would happen if a woman in modern times decided to bring by forming an empire. Many men have done this throughout history and now we see a feminine take. Many layers of ideas, life styles, human use of earth and space make this an spellbinding listen.
Jay Snyder's reading is amazing and helps greatly the listener more easily understand the story.
There are so many interesting future-tech ideas in this book, it is a shame that there is no story to tie them together. There is excellent character development, but unfortunately that is all there is. You keep wondering, "Where is he going with this?". The poor storyline is coupled with a terrible narrator. The womens voices are so poor, it is almost laughable. He does a great job with the men's voices, but can't seem to master the women. It would have been better if he did not give them any kind of accent at all instead of trying to come up with a Eastern European and Chinese accents that sound totally fake.
This story is not the normal action packed science fiction, but it shows how much heart and real characterization can fascinate.
yes it was very different and wacky and provoking - typical Bruce Sterling
how it examines our unspoken assumptions
don't think so
nope - far too long
I do recommend it
I wish I had paid attention to the previous negative reviews, because I have discovered that they are accurate. I am almost finished listening to this AB, and it is amazing how often I've considered giving up the laborious task.
If you are looking for sci-fi, and especially if this book has been recommended to you because of your interest in William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, be warned - It is one long conversation after another between unbelievable characters about politics, philosophy, and business. I found it completely pointless, but again, I was looking for sci-fi.
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