Fofo’s #CBR4 Review #17: The Star Fraction by Ken MacLeod
Profile: Science Fiction, Political Thriller
The Star Fraction is an extremely divisive novel. Partly by design and partly by subject matter. Any book that delves so deeply into the grit and grime of political and economic ideologies is going to be uncomfortable for some of its readers. With that as a given, MacLeod goes and shoots himself in the foot by avoiding picking a side in the end, leaving leftists unfulfilled and members of the right just horribly angry.
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The story is set in a somewhat dystopic England where a series of failed revolutions, both local and abroad, brought the might of the US/UN alliance down on the world. As a method of compromise, the US/UN balkanized the world, allowing political dissidents and idealists to create their own communes and compounds which they could rule as they saw fit within a few constraints, such as development of specified technologies and laws regarding use of standing forces. Moh Kohn, the book’s protagonist, is a mercenary who provides security from a verity of legal terrorist groups that operate out of the communes. The one exception to the US/UN lockdown is the city of North London Town, or Norlonto, which exists as an independent outpost of the Space Faction, who made themselves neutral arbiters of international security in the wake of World War Three.