Reads well in light of current events, October 1, 2001
Reviewer: Michael Farrar (North Miami USA)
Yes, this book is dated on a number of levels, principally the fact that there is no longer a U.S.S.R. and also that we haven't moved aggressively into space. That aside, the book is interesting when comparing its philosophy and predictions to current events. Both the missile shield debate and the September 11 terrorist attack are predicted in altered forms.
Regarding missile defense, for example, Kingsbury implies that a missile shield could be an invaluable *defensive* weapon, rather than, as the New York Times editorial board would have us believe, just a destabilizing, costly piece of junk. Also, the effect of terrorist attacks by airplane on a country's capital were correctly prognosticated: when the U.S. capital was attacked on September 11, the military went to threatcon delta, the highest level of military alert. Granted, the military response of the U.S. has been completely opposite that of the U.S.S.R. in Kingsbury's book, but some of the actions and the general sense of paranoia are eerily foretold.
Overall, an excellent book. Too scattered in its several storylines to be a real novel, the book is more a rumination on psychology, geopolitics, technology and interpersonal relations, with conclusions that resonate with the crises of the day.
A very good book with a main character who suffers from child abuse early in the story - not for everyone.