NESFA Members' Reviews

Spin Control

by Chris Moriarty

Bantam Spectra, July 2006, ISBN 978-0-553-38214-3

A book review by Elisabeth Carey

This is a sequel to Moriarty's 2003 Spin State, which I enjoyed very much. Catherine Li, now an ex-Peacekeeper, and her very dangerous AI lover, Cohen, are back, this time pursuing information from a Syndicate defector. The defector, a Syndicate clone called Arkady, has information about a genetic doomsday weapon powerful enough to wipe out humanity. He's defected to Israel, but the Israelis for some reason aren't buying the story, and have decided to sell it, and Ardady, to the highest bidder. And Li and Cohen have been hired to represent the interests of the Artificial Life Emancipation Front.

In alternating sections we get the current intrigue, with Arkady's confusion at life outside the space-faring clone Syndicates, and especially on old, tired, damaged Earth, Li and Cohen's struggles with their conflicting loyalties needs, and Arkady's last months in the Syndicates, building to the secret of the weapon and the cause of his defection. In Spin State, seen mainly through Catherine Li's eyes, the Syndicates were the ominous, monolithic, threatening Enemy. In Spin Control, seen from the inside, the ominous forces are still there, but it's altogether a more complex and conflicted picture—the Syndicates in some respects (by no means all!) represent a life governed by more humane values than what the UN offers to most of those living under its rule. There's also a good deal more—call it cultural diversity, call it personality differences—among the different clone Syndicates than Li, with her constricted view of them, could suspect. And it's in that diversity of cultural values that lies both the threat and the promise of what Arkady has come to tell someone who'll listen.

Spin State was a very good book. Spin Control is a better book. Highly recommended.

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