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In the Mouth of the Whale

Written by Paul McAuley

Average Score: 90(4)

Fomalhaut was first colonised by the posthuman Quick, who established an archipelago of thistledown cities and edenic worldlets within the star's vast dust belt. Their peaceful, decadent civilisation was swiftly conquered by a band of ruthless, aggressive, unreconstructed humans who call themselves the True, then, a century before, the True beat back an advance party of Ghosts, a posthuman cult which colonised the nearby system of Beta Hydri after being driven from the Solar System a thousand years ago. Now the Ghosts have returned to Fomalhaut, to begin their end game: the conquest of its single gas giant planet, a captured interstellar wanderer far older than the rest of Fomalhaut's system. At its core is a sphere of hot metallic hydrogen with strange and powerful properties based on exotic quantum physics. The Quick believe it is inhabited by an ancient alien Mind; the True believe it can be developed into a weapon, and the Ghosts believe it can be transformed into a computational system so powerful it can reach into their past, collapse timelines, and fulfil the ancient prophecies of their founder.

Book Details

Science Fiction
Paperback, 352 Pages
Published by Gollancz on January 19, 2012
ISBN-10 0575100745
ISBN-13 978-0575100749


Fantasy Book Critic | Liviu Suciu
Review Rating: 100
I would love more in this superbly rendered universe as I think there is a lot of scope for stories of humanity's clades and destiny as imagined by a modern master of science fiction.
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The Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation | Jonathan Cowie
Review Rating: 100
Brilliantly written. Superbly crafted and intricately plotted. This is a wide-screen, hard SF, space opera joy.
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SF Site | Greg L. Johnson
Review Rating: 80
In the Mouth of the Whale has dramatic action scenes, characters whose lives grow with the story, and thought-provoking observations on humanity and its place in an increasingly strange universe
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Strange Horizons | Paul Kincaid
Review Rating: 80
Maybe it is better to read it as a standalone work, completely detached from what went before. In that respect, it is an exciting and enjoyable tale, full of blood and thunder and spectacular set pieces.
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