Cover image for The Cassini Division
The Cassini Division
MacLeod, Ken, 1954-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 1999.

Physical Description:
240 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Format :


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Ellen May Ngewthu is a soldier and leader of the Cassini Division, the elite defense force of the utopian Solar Union. Here in the twenty-fourth century, the forts of the Division, in orbit around Jupiter, are the front line in humanity's long standoff with the unknowably powerful post-humans -- godlike and remote beings descended from those men and women who transformed themselves with high technology centuries ago.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the twenty-fourth century, a computerless, anarchosocialist world order dominates Earth, Jupiter is inhabited by posthumans living in virtual reality but trying to get out, and corporate outlaws have ventured through a wormhole to establish the libertarian colony of New Mars. Ellen May Ngewethu is a leader in the Cassini Division, the military unit that keeps the Jovians at home. When she comes to Earth to find a scientist who may hold the key to human survival against the Jovians, she quickly lands hip-deep in a three-cornered fight between Earth, the emerging (and treacherous) Jovians, and the able but almost incomprehensible New Martians, on top of which some of her colleagues start regarding her with suspicion. One-third very capable action sf, one-third social speculation, and one-third edgy satire of many icons of American sf, Scotsman MacLeod's third novel is also a well-told tale. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

A rare but successful fusion of hard SF, space opera and serious political speculation, this is the third novel from MacLeod, who's Scottish, but his first to be published in the U.S. The story takes place in a 24th-century Sol system still recovering from a near-catastrophic clash between humanity and post-humanity, the latter a society of godlike, possibly insane former humans who have uploaded themselves into computers and set up their own civilization on Jupiter. At the center of the narrative stands Ellen May Ngwethu, commander of the spaceship Terrible Beauty and an officer in the Cassini Division. This semiautonomous military organization operates as Earth's frontline defense against the dangerous and enigmatic post-humans. Society on Earth, based on a unique combination of socialist and anarchist beliefs, has achieved a high degree of environmentally responsible prosperity in recent years, but the post-humans on Jupiter are an ever-increasing threat. As the forces of the Cassini Division prepare to destroy the post-humans without warning, Ngwethu finds herself on a dangerous mission through a wormhole to reestablish contact with another potential enemy, the long-lost, libertarian-capitalist interstellar colony of New Mars. Despite heavy doses of political theory, MacLeod generally manages to keep the first half of his novel moving at acceptable speed, aided by solid prose, a strong protagonist and some fascinating bits of high tech. The latter half of the tale, which features a battle in space, complete with comets used as superweapons, is more lively. This is an enjoyable and ambitious novel, and hopefully presages the American publication of MacLeod's earlier work. (July) FYI: MacLeod's first two novels, The Star Fraction and The Stone Canal, each received the Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

As an agent of the elite Cassini Division, Ellen May Ngewthu conceives of a bold plan to stop the incursions of godlike posthumans, whose arrogance nearly destroyed humankind and whose existence still threatens the safety of the Solar Union. Set in the 24th century, MacLeod's third novel features nonstop action and a tough-as-nails protagonist. Large libraries should consider this title for their old-style sf adventure fans. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.