By Paul McAuley
Award-winning British SF author Paul McAuley is usually described as a “hard SF” man, which is a fair label as far as it goes but doesn’t address his interest in how science is embedded in a culture, and its relation to primitivism and religion. In Evening’s Empires (the latest in his Quiet War series, though it can be enjoyed on its own) he tells of how, after an attack by pirates, the scion of a family of deep space junkmen inherits the head (now detached) of a brilliant philosopher who had been investigating a quasi-mystical Singularity known as the Bright Moment.
Before you can say “Bring me the head of Dr. Gagarian!” it seems as though everyone is out to get their hands on the philosopher’s cryopacked noggin, making young Hari Pilot into both the hunter and the hunted in a worldlet- and planet-skipping adventure where the best advice he gets is to trust no one. Not even himself.