The Star Fraction (1995)

In the near future, after the third World War has left the UN/US in control of the rest of Earth, Great Britain has splintered into countless mini-states. From above Space Defense is looking down on Earth with its mighty weapons, the last and mightiest line of defense against any threats of the UN/US control, on the ground Stasis, nomen est omen, controls that certain technologies don’t get developed or that the human datasphere doesn’t get contaminated with emergent AIs.

Quite an interesting novel for a first try, excellent world building, reads like a mix of Gibson’s Neuromancer mated with Brunner’s Jagged Orbit. Very readable with some neat near future technology. The book is okay most of the time, but the end was a big disappointment to me. The main character is used (and killed by this) to accomplish AI genocide.

First, the ending comes completely out of the blue and feels much too abrupt, not like something that evolved naturally out of the context of the story. Second, it feels too much like MacLeod is trying to convince the reader at the end with the explanation of the other AI to buy his ending, as if he feels a need to vindicate it (and it still didn’t convince me even one iota). If he had known how to end the story properly, this could have been a much better book.