Monday, June 08, 2009

Today I finished Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Anne Goonan.

A post-apocalyptic book without the military as the featured bad guy - yay!

Actually, it's kind of post-post-apocalyptic, which is clever. It seems civilization got into trouble after broadcast medium (radio, TV) is eliminated due to some kind of extraterrestrial radiation. (I know that sounds stupid, but it's not really a heavy feature of the book, so it's best to just ignore it.) Afterwords, the world turns heavily to nanotechnology, which produces some seemingly Utopian cities and then leads to "Information Wars" and nanotech plagues.

The book is confusing (and possibly confused) in places - for example, is Norleans a good place or a bad place? Are the plagues actually helpful or not? - but there are lots of interesting images and ideas once the heroine travels from her countryside community (based on the Shaker ideals) to one of the nanotech infested cities. She turns out to be kind of a chosen one/sacrifice, (of course) but doesn't quite want to go along with others plans for her as she unravels the mystery of why the city is the way it is.

Interesting book, and maybe some of my questions will be answered in the sequels.

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