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The Bellinghman
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#51 Ken MacLeod: Learning the World: A Novel of First Contact

Ken MacLeod: Learning the World: A Novel of First Contact

Paperback 416 pages (May 4, 2006)
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN-10: 1841493449
Category(ies):

I mentioned in my last review the sub-genre of generation ships whose inhabitants have forgotten their purpose. This novel also features a generation ship, but the story here is different, because they do know what they're doing. But the real story is that here, at the end of the long, long journey, the world they are approaching is inhabited.

That's a problem. Because when you've just spent centuries getting somewhere, you really don't want to have to go somewhere else.

And on the ground, an astronomer has spotted something that he can't explain.

Understandably, both the inhabitants of the ship and those of the planet are thrown into confusion. Neither set is united - there is intergenerational conflict on the ship, and on the ground, well, they also see their society overturned.

MacLeod's strength is showing those societies changing, and the new equilibria reached.

This was on the Hugo ballot this year. It didn't win, but it wouldn't have been undeserving if it had.
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