Descent by Ken MacLeod

Ryan has a UFO experience as a teenager. Descent follows Ryan through the unraveling of this experience as its effects shape his adult life. Conspiracy theories abound and truth crosses paths with belief and with paranoia as we move in a near future world where everything can be seen and tracked through satellites, remote flying cameras and the internet. Descent would seem a strange title but for the other implications of the plot. It seems the human race isn’t one species. Future space travel and human survival both rely upon different forms of descent.

Everything about the sound of the novel promises tight plotting, complex character developments and provocative sci-fi theories. I was looking forward to a mind-bending journey that would invade my dreams but instead found a novel which simply wasn’t for me. There are undoubtedly readers who would enjoy Descent. Somehow, though, I couldn’t quite climb aboard the ride. Ryan didn’t draw me in or win my sympathy. I wasn’t uninterested but nor was I gripped and the writing itself wasn’t enticing enough to carry me along regardless. Ken MacLeod has written many books though, and I suspect there are others that would have me screaming my way around the rollercoaster, just not this one.

Next week I’m reading My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, followed by Seiobo There Below by Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

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