Too Like the Lightning

by Ada Palmer

Fast forward to the 25th century, where the Utopian dream has supposedly been achieved on planet Earth by socio-political engineering, based on 18th century French Enlightenment ideals. With references to current issues of gender politics, open borders and globalisation, this meticulously crafted brave new world is a stunning feat of imagination and a heady blend of philosophy and speculative fiction.


I accuse thee, Mycroft. Thou art the protagonist of thine own history, as all men are, as I am protagonist of the world which I experience. In my mind I have called thee protagonist from the first page, thou who art omnipresent in thy tale, and who walkest the corridors of Power so familiarly. How couldst thou not be thine own protagonist? I smile at the compliment, generous reader, but you are wrong. I have told you, the protagonist must determine whether this is comedy or tragedy. Surely the boy whose powers can reshape the universe itself will determine that, not this tired slave, a tool for others’ use, whose days of independent action are long done. I am the window through which you watch the coming storm. He is the lightning.


The Just City by Jo Walton
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

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