India set in 2047, where there has been no Monsoon for 2.5 years, a population nearing 2 Billion people, strife at the holy city of Varanasi, AI Machines being hunted down by a Dharma cop called Krishna, genetically enhanced Brahmins, a melting pot of philosophy, meta-physics, cyberpunk interspersed by the sights, sounds and values of India... Literally out of this world!
More on this new SF novel by Ian McDonald, when i get round to reading it...!!!
Here's some comments..
The first indication that McDonald is profoundly alert to issues of society and culture is the simple fact that River of Gods is set in India. It is refreshing to see a vision of the future that is less than completely Western in focus, and which clearly recognises that countries such as India are currently advancing rapidly in terms of scientific research and business interests. River of Gods is a book that acknowledges that the future is bound to bring huge cultural and political shifts in global power, and it also recognises that events of great significance can, do and will happen elsewhere than in the West.
But of course, this distinction between multiplicity and singularity is a little simplistic, philosophically speaking. The Hindu gods are ultimately all manifestations of the one reality, all incarnations out of the fundamental Brahma. Likewise, the many separate programs and functions that make up an [(AI)]aeai are all ultimately part of a single mind, a single consciousness. And in just the same way, the multiple plot strands of River of Gods, told from the point of view of so many different people, are all ultimately part of the one story. Each character's personal narrative comes together with all the others to form one vast and complex single story. And what a story it is!
You can read another review from the Guardian here.