Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Dark Side of the Moon - Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald

Kindle Edition, 416 pages,
17th September 2015, Gollancz
We are still looking to the stars. With new explorations of our galaxy glinting on the horizon Ian McDonald's novel of a settled society on the Moon collapsing into corporate war is a perfectly timed piece of brilliant and refreshing science fiction. Though easy to be labelled as 'The Godfather on the Moon', in the entrancing and engrossing opening pages McDonald introduces us to the deadly and inhospitable environment that is the Moon, and the distorted 21st century world that inhabits it. 

The overarching war of corporate families is the backdrop to the study of human nature and its relationships with the landscape we live on. The physical and mental strength it takes to exist on the Moon is brilliantly realised by McDonald, portraying a wealth of vibrant characters with understanding and careful knowledge of human traits and instincts. 

Though the initial chapters can be a little daunting with the sheer amount of strange circumstances our near descendants of the future exist in, and with little to no explanation of the terms and reasons for the technology and societal rules provided it can pass by in a wave of potentially unfathomable imagery. In the hands of a lesser writer this would have separated me from the work, bemoaning the lack of explanation and teetering on the classic 'info dump', but McDonald's vibrant language and engaging storytelling pulls you through the New Moon with ease, gliding through page after page. 

The family dynasties feud is an easily compelling plot to drive the engaging character's actions and feelings, the fantastically bold matriarch of the Corta's, the youngest descendant Luna and celebrity tour de force lawyer Ariel. It is a completely refreshing sci-fi read, not only does this truly feel like a near distant world of human colonisation but the freedom of sexuality of the New Moon is such a rarity in fiction I was endlessly thankful each time McDonald portrayed it. Characters young and old can love and sleep with whoever they wish, omnisexual is the norm, it is not strange or remarked upon as otherwise. I wish more writers would explore such ideas. 

This is the first volume of the story, and there is a promise for more. A promise I look forward to seeing McDonald match. 

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