Cover image for The Stone Canal
The Stone Canal
MacLeod, Ken.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 2000.

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


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Then a stranger arrives on New Mars, a clone who remembers life as Jonathan Wilde, the anarchist with a nuclear capability who was accused of losing World War III. He also remembers David Reid, New Mars's leader . . . and the women they fought over and the ideals they once shared.

The Stone Canal moves from the recent past into a distant future, where long lives and strange deaths await those who survive the wars and revolutions to come.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

MacLeod's second novel is set earlier than, and in the same future as, The Cassini Division [BKL Jl 99]. It concentrates on the centuries-long rivalry between Jonathan Wilde and David Reid, begun when they were student political activists in 1970s Glasgow, and spans the years and the stars to wind up in the anarchist utopia of New Mars. By far the strongest parts of the book concern Wilde's and Reid's early careers; these are full of telling comments on politics and society, and they project an offbeat but not implausible near future. After the story moves off Earth, much of the journey to New Mars seems rushed, and the continuation of the Wilde-Reid rivalry is episodic to the point of disjunction. On the other hand, immortality through cloning, cryogenic suspension, and preserving minds in electronic data banks probably would create just as much confusion as MacLeod envisions and induces. Whatever his lapses in narrative technique, Scotsman MacLeod gratifies with many fine scenes and a vivid, non-American take on the future. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

British author MacLeod's second novel to be published in the U.S. (after The Cassini Division) opens on New Mars, a distant planet discovered on the other side of a wormhole, where humans resettled after Earth was decimated by World War III. While New Mars is populated by Earthlings, the planet's real labor is done by the "fast folk," nanotech-based artificial intelligence machines that evolve much more quickly than humans. This stratified world was built unwittingly by Jon Wilde and Dave Reid, who met as socialist-minded university students in Glasgow and became two corners of a romantic triangle that later influenced history in myriad ways. MacLeod weaves the story of the two men's complex relationship along two tracks, past and present. In the past, Wilde and Reid both fell for the same woman; Wilde eventually married her and raised a family. In the meantime, Reid built a powerful high-tech company that could grow no further without some changes in the political climate--changes that Wilde is hired to help create. The fallout from this alliance and from Reid's own hidden agenda ultimately lead to the world war and to a reliance on machine intelligence, as well as to the creation of a world where death is impossible as long as you have a waiting clone and a recent brain backup. Thanks to that resurrection technology, Wilde and Reid face each other as enemies again on New Mars. MacLeod's writing is smooth and sure, full of striking images and breathtaking extrapolations of current technology. It's a pleasure and a challenge to read a book where human potential and human foibles are dealt with as thoroughly as is scientific advancement. Fans of William Gibson and of Iain Banks, in particular, will enjoy this visionary novel. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Filled with memories of his past, the clone Jonathan Wilde arrives on New Mars, where he rediscovers old loves and older enemies. Set in a distant future filled with intelligent machines, cloned humans, and little regard for life or death, this high-impact sf adventure by the author of The Cassini Division delivers a strong dose of violence and graphic sex. First published in Britain, MacLeod's tale of one man's grim journey toward knowledge should appeal to fans of high-tech action and hard-core science. For large sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.