10 Most Crucial British Science Fiction Novels 10

River Of Gods

By Ian McDonald
2004

For decades, science fiction wasn’t much interested in the developing world. The realm of magic realist writers such as Gabriel García Márquez was just too agrarian. Not any longer. The new superpowers of the next century will likely be China, India and Brazil, big countries that are industrialising with a speed that was unimaginable even 20 years ago.

This demands a response from SF authors. Enter Ian McDonald. River Of Gods is McDonald’s “science-fictional equivalent of [Rudyard Kipling’s] Kim, a wide-scale book set in India”.

It’s a magnificent book, as sprawling as Mumbai and just as vibrant, a near-future tale that, even in its wildest and scariest speculations, seems all too plausible. Astonishingly, with Brasyl (2007), McDonald has since written with just as much energy and insight about South America.

If you like this, why not try?
Air by Geoff Ryman (200)
Because Ryman proves himself a fellow traveller to McDonald with a tale
of how technology affects a remote village in Karzistan (think Kazakhstan).

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