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Call Arkady a clone with a conscience. Or call him a traitor. A member of the space-faring Syndicates, Arkady has defected to Israel with a hot commodity: a genetic weapon powerful enough to wipe out humanity. But Israel’s not buying it. They’re selling it–and Arkady–to the highest bidder. As the auction heats up, the Artificial Life Emancipation Front sends in Major Call Arkady a clone with a conscience. Or call him a traitor. A member of the space-faring Syndicates, Arkady has defected to Israel with a hot commodity: a genetic weapon powerful enough to wipe out humanity. But Israel’s not buying it. They’re selling it–and Arkady–to the highest bidder. As the auction heats up, the Artificial Life Emancipation Front sends in Major Catherine Li. Drummed out of the Peacekeepers for executing Syndicate prisoners, Li has now literally hooked up with an AI who has lived many lifetimes and shunted through many bodies. But while they have their own conflicting loyalties to contend with, together they’re just one player in a mysterious high-stakes game….


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Call Arkady a clone with a conscience. Or call him a traitor. A member of the space-faring Syndicates, Arkady has defected to Israel with a hot commodity: a genetic weapon powerful enough to wipe out humanity. But Israel’s not buying it. They’re selling it–and Arkady–to the highest bidder. As the auction heats up, the Artificial Life Emancipation Front sends in Major Call Arkady a clone with a conscience. Or call him a traitor. A member of the space-faring Syndicates, Arkady has defected to Israel with a hot commodity: a genetic weapon powerful enough to wipe out humanity. But Israel’s not buying it. They’re selling it–and Arkady–to the highest bidder. As the auction heats up, the Artificial Life Emancipation Front sends in Major Catherine Li. Drummed out of the Peacekeepers for executing Syndicate prisoners, Li has now literally hooked up with an AI who has lived many lifetimes and shunted through many bodies. But while they have their own conflicting loyalties to contend with, together they’re just one player in a mysterious high-stakes game….

30 review for Spin Control

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I would never have thought that a story could be spun out of a wild mix of the Arab-Israeli conflict, ants, AIs, clones, water, fertility and space exploration, plus love, loyalty, and more. It kept my interest throughout each switch in perspective or timeframe, and kept my curiosity high to see how each aspect would play out and fit together. Every scene felt vivid and real, from atmosphere or emotion, without being cumbersome or overdone. I saw somewhere that Moriarty was contracted for a third I would never have thought that a story could be spun out of a wild mix of the Arab-Israeli conflict, ants, AIs, clones, water, fertility and space exploration, plus love, loyalty, and more. It kept my interest throughout each switch in perspective or timeframe, and kept my curiosity high to see how each aspect would play out and fit together. Every scene felt vivid and real, from atmosphere or emotion, without being cumbersome or overdone. I saw somewhere that Moriarty was contracted for a third book in this universe/series. It's been several years since this came out, but I'm still hoping that the next book will appear some day. She certainly left a good cliffhanger to peak my interest! But more than a plot idea is just my hope for another smart and interesting story. ------ June 2013 It's so interesting to re-read a complex book several years later and only remember hints of how things are going to unfold. It took me a while to get into it again this time, but once I was invested in the mystery of Novalis and what it meant for Arkady down on Earth, I was hooked again. It's very different from Spin State in tone and atmosphere, don't go in expecting the same sort of fast space-based investigation style story. But if you let this one unfold and see how the pieces start snapping together, I think you'll be pleased. And yes, the third book has arrived, that's the reason for the re-read. I'm thrilled to finally get to see the next step in this story's evolution.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brownbetty

    You can tell a book is ambitious when it takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this book is at least as smart as it is ambitious. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of the threads in the story, but I think it is done justice. In the future, the Strip is irradiated, and the battles are fought on both sides by soldiers piloted by AIs who think they are war-gaming, rebooted whenever they begin to suspect the war has a human cost. (The soldiers are colloquially referred to as You can tell a book is ambitious when it takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this book is at least as smart as it is ambitious. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of the threads in the story, but I think it is done justice. In the future, the Strip is irradiated, and the battles are fought on both sides by soldiers piloted by AIs who think they are war-gaming, rebooted whenever they begin to suspect the war has a human cost. (The soldiers are colloquially referred to as 'Enderbots,' and I wish the book hadn't stopped to tell me where the name came from, because it ruined my feeling of cleverness for knowing.) Earth is largely poisonous from years of war, with a moribund fertility rate, but it does have the one thing the colonies and ring need and cannot manufacture: water. The only people left on Earth are those who have refused to leave: religious fanatics and die-hard nationalists. The ring despises those who live on Earth as backwards and superstitious savages, and Earth hates the off-worlders for their embargoed technology. Another book would have been satisfied with this, but Moriarty simultaneously explores the culture of the Syndicates, a society created by second generation genetic engineering. Arkady, a clone from the syndicates, is unfamiliar with words like 'employer' and 'mother,' but lives happily enough surrounded by his clone-sibs, until he gets sent on a terraforming mission where they discover something which will change the balance of power in human and post-human space. The Syndicates don't seem to have crime, only 'deviancy', which can mean anything from ideological impurity to heterosexuality. Actually, it's unclear whether the perversion is heterosexuality, or sex with anyone who isn't one's genetic twin, and I suspect it's the latter. Then again, if you're a society bent on perfecting itself by genetic engineering, sexual reproduction is fairly perverse. Obviously, Earth and the Syndicates are not going to get along very well, and of course, poor Arkady, a scientist who specializes in ants, finds himself on Earth, in Jerusalem, the focus of politics, espionage, and power brokering, out of his depth and out of his element, with no one to trust and everyone trying to figure out how to use him. And of course, this book also has Li and Cohen, as well as the fairly adorable router/decomposer, a character I wouldn't mind seeing again. It's interesting to me that although this is (among other things) a classic spy thriller in which no one can be trusted, and there are no good guys or bad guys, the novel still manages to be uplifting in its end, as if, after all, it believes in something. Kindness, perhaps. You will probably not stop reading this book until you finish it, so do not, like me, start reading it at 9:00 at night. The only thing not fantastic about this book is the cover, in which a wire-frame woman's body is composed of a mesh of lines that all converge awkwardly on her crotch, looking like Kotex ad from the nineties.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Generations in the future, those willing to embrace AIs, body mods, and genetic manipulation ascended to live technologically advanced lives far above Earth's atmosphere. Now variations on humanity and sentience travel throughout the galaxy, looking for new planets, resources, and adventures. Those left behind on Earth content themselves with religion, endless rehashings of old wars...and controlling the best known source of water and wild-type genetics. Ordinarily, a Syndicate clone like Arkady Generations in the future, those willing to embrace AIs, body mods, and genetic manipulation ascended to live technologically advanced lives far above Earth's atmosphere. Now variations on humanity and sentience travel throughout the galaxy, looking for new planets, resources, and adventures. Those left behind on Earth content themselves with religion, endless rehashings of old wars...and controlling the best known source of water and wild-type genetics. Ordinarily, a Syndicate clone like Arkady would probably never set foot on old poisoned Earth, nor encounter a non-genetically manipulated human. But his exploration team found something astounding on an alien planet, and the Syndicate wants him to deliver it to Earth. Among the bidders for his discovery are our old friends Catherine Li (possibly a war criminal, definitely a hardass ex-soldier) and Cohen (the longest lived AI, whose relationships are integral to maintaining his sense of self). They decided to share a consciousness in the last book, but their marriage of true minds isn't that comfortable in this one. The world building is fascinating and top notch. I would love to read more about any one of the characters or their societies. The plot got a bit too convoluted for me, and I'm still not entirely sure what the Syndicate's plan was: (view spoiler)[spread fertility through Arkady's infection, I get, but why do they want Earth-humans to be more fertile? To have more wild-type stock to turn back to if something goes wrong with their genetic pruning goes too far, to increase Earth's power and thereby destabilize or diminish the Hub's, thus getting the Hub off the Syndicate's back, or something else entirely? And the Israeli plan also felt a little out of control to me, like too many people were lying or doublecrossing in too many ways for me to figure out what was going on. (hide spoiler)] I really look forward to reading more in this universe.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Keso Shengelia

    Very different from the first book. Ideas remain fascinating. Perhaps more improvement will come with a third book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tomislav

    This is set in the same universe as Moriarty's Spin State, but is not a direct sequel. Because I was so completely impressed with the use of current-state physics in Spin State, it took almost half of this book to get over my disappointment that this book is not the same. Sure, there is passing mention of Bose-Einstein and particle entanglement, but that is not part of this story at all. Moriarty here digs into evolutionary informatics, but that didn't engage me as much. However, after I This is set in the same universe as Moriarty's Spin State, but is not a direct sequel. Because I was so completely impressed with the use of current-state physics in Spin State, it took almost half of this book to get over my disappointment that this book is not the same. Sure, there is passing mention of Bose-Einstein and particle entanglement, but that is not part of this story at all. Moriarty here digs into evolutionary informatics, but that didn't engage me as much. However, after I accepted this novel for what it was, a 26th century thriller set in Israel/Palestine with human, posthuman, and artificial intelligence characters, I was pulled in. Apparently, Moriarty's third novel - Ghost Spin - has been in progress for the past four years and not yet published. I looked up her blog, and found that she has had a child since 2006, so maybe it will be a while. I hope not too long.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joe Santoro

    I really was excited to read this book, and it had the potential to be really great, but fell flat. The author decided to focus on making a very bland, boring commentary on the Arab-Israeli conflict instead of focusing on any of several very interesting sci-fi elements of his world, that could have perhaps stood with the great social commentary sci-fi of the 60s and 70s if done well. Aliens with a virus that can make the infertile population of Earth fertile again? A society of clones coming into I really was excited to read this book, and it had the potential to be really great, but fell flat. The author decided to focus on making a very bland, boring commentary on the Arab-Israeli conflict instead of focusing on any of several very interesting sci-fi elements of his world, that could have perhaps stood with the great social commentary sci-fi of the 60s and 70s if done well. Aliens with a virus that can make the infertile population of Earth fertile again? A society of clones coming into their indivuality? Old school spacers vs. Earth conflicts? All glossed over to make an extremely trite 'Can't we all just get along' statement on the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is a decent spy story at heart, but the missed potential probably makes me grade it harder than it deserves.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    This is a loose sequel to Spin State, features many of the same characters, but its plot doesn’t follow exactly on from the earlier plot. There are references to earlier events, but Spin Control can be read without having read Spin State. That, however, is the least of its problems. And, to be fair, its major problem is hardly its fault, it’s something that recent events have made problematical. Because Spin Control is set mostly in Israel. And this is an Israel that’s back at war with the This is a loose sequel to Spin State, features many of the same characters, but its plot doesn’t follow exactly on from the earlier plot. There are references to earlier events, but Spin Control can be read without having read Spin State. That, however, is the least of its problems. And, to be fair, its major problem is hardly its fault, it’s something that recent events have made problematical. Because Spin Control is set mostly in Israel. And this is an Israel that’s back at war with the Palestinians. The treatment of the Palestinians is certainly sympathetic (if not overly lionised) – and the treatment of Americans, Moriarty’s nationality, certainly not – but there’s still that whiff of admiration for Israel that is endemic in US culture. Which is a shame, because there’s a pure science-fiction thread to the narrative that seems mostly wasted. On the one hand, you have a defector from the Syndicates (genetically-engineered sort of communist clones) who is taken to Jerusalem to sell his secrets to the highest bidder – Mossad, its Palestinian equivalent, or the Americans – and which drags in some of the surviving cast of Spin State. But it’s all a plot, of sorts, to uncover a Palestinian mole, called Absalom, within Mossad. On the other hand, told in flashback, there’s the story of that same defector as one of the survivors of a Syndicate survey mission to a terraformed world. But there’s something weird about what they find – not just the fact it has been terraformed, since most terraforming attempts by humanity have failed, but also because there are weird things happening in the DNA of the flora and fauna. And when the survey team all come down with a fever, they work out that it’s caused by a virus which is using biology as a “Turing soup”, a sort of computational engine seeking an optimal terraforming solution. However, there’s a side-effect to the fever… and when this is revealed… well, Absalom’s identity seems pretty trivial. The survey mission narrative is nicely done, even if first contact puzzle stories are a genre staple; and marrying it with a near-future spy thriller is a nice touch. The setting of the latter is handled well, and each side is treated sensitively, but time, and geopolitics, has imparted something of a whiff to the Israeli-set sections and it’s hard to read them in light of recent events, or indeed the reader’s existing sympathies in the situation. Moriarty has shown she’s not afraid of tackling difficult subjects, both sfnal and real-world, and she’s good at it. It’s a shame she’s not better known.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Poltz

    I liked this book without really understanding what was going on. Like most books in the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, the concepts usually lose me. I guess I just don’t have the mind for them. It’s kind of like being a luddite while working in the computer industry, which I am, and in which I do. Still, I really liked reading this book. The prose was terrific. It was very readable. My problem though was that the author threw around a ton of jargon that I only partially comprehended. I liked this book without really understanding what was going on. Like most books in the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, the concepts usually lose me. I guess I just don’t have the mind for them. It’s kind of like being a luddite while working in the computer industry, which I am, and in which I do. Still, I really liked reading this book. The prose was terrific. It was very readable. My problem though was that the author threw around a ton of jargon that I only partially comprehended. This is the second book of a series, though it’s not a direct sequel to the first. Still, I wonder if I would have understood more if I read the first book, or if I would have simply stopped at the first book if it had the same complexity of this one. I read this because it is on the Worlds Without End LGBTQ Spec. Fic. Resource, having been nominated for a Gaylactic Spectrum Award in 2007. Come visit my blog for the full review… https://itstartedwiththehugos.blogspo...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tim Chant

    I swithered between giving this three and four stars. The quality of the writing is very good indeed, and a huge amount of research and thought has obviously gone into things like terraforming, the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict, clone society, Emergent AIs, and ants. But overall it didn't hugely hang together very well for me - long sections of exposition on the various topics just made it feel a bit disjointed and slow. The plot was often lost under layers of things Chris Moriarty I swithered between giving this three and four stars. The quality of the writing is very good indeed, and a huge amount of research and thought has obviously gone into things like terraforming, the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict, clone society, Emergent AIs, and ants. But overall it didn't hugely hang together very well for me - long sections of exposition on the various topics just made it feel a bit disjointed and slow. The plot was often lost under layers of things Chris Moriarty obviously finds interesting; the excellent character of Catherine Li doesn't do much but be grumpy; and the conclusion felt a bit rushed and anti-climactic. I think Moriarty would have done better to cut some of the themes he was exploring or separated them into other books. Still going to pick up the third one, though.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    3.5 Stars Like the first, this one had slick, smooth writing with a plethora of great futurism world-building with some interesting characters that ended up way too convoluted for it's own good. Reduce the character count, trim the book by about 200 pages, and make the story more focused and I think you could have had something really special here. As it is, it reads like an incredibly talented writer did a whole bunch of research and wanted to show everybody her hard work. Sometimes you need to 3.5 Stars Like the first, this one had slick, smooth writing with a plethora of great futurism world-building with some interesting characters that ended up way too convoluted for it's own good. Reduce the character count, trim the book by about 200 pages, and make the story more focused and I think you could have had something really special here. As it is, it reads like an incredibly talented writer did a whole bunch of research and wanted to show everybody her hard work. Sometimes you need to know what to keep in and what to remove. Recommended for the veteran SF reader in your life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    If you were wondering if Chris Moriarty is Jewish, this book definitely answers that question. Plus we get to find out what happened in Tel Aviv (kinda).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Arkady's a clone from the Syndicates, a post-human offshoot of humanity that mass-produces genetically superior bodies and considers them one, distributed, person. In practice, it doesn't quite work quite so well, there is variation between clones and sometimes they think of themselves of the superorganism. Arkady, in particular, a meek scientist specializing in ants, has defected to Earth, a ruined landscape with low birthrates and constant wars on the few settled areas, in order to sell a Arkady's a clone from the Syndicates, a post-human offshoot of humanity that mass-produces genetically superior bodies and considers them one, distributed, person. In practice, it doesn't quite work quite so well, there is variation between clones and sometimes they think of themselves of the superorganism. Arkady, in particular, a meek scientist specializing in ants, has defected to Earth, a ruined landscape with low birthrates and constant wars on the few settled areas, in order to sell a potential weapon that he discovered on a Syndicate mission. But his motivation is more than simply profit, and there are lots of players interested in what he knows... it's a game of spies and double-crosses and him getting out alive might not be in the cards. This is a sequel to Spin State, which I kind of liked, although the focus shifts away, slightly, from Catherine Li and the AI Cohen. They're still major viewpoint characters, but they share the spotlight with Arkady. The book works much better than the first one, not just because of this, although I think that's a factor. It extends the setting of the first book with a detailed look at the life inside the Syndicates, and on the surface of Earth which is barely hanging on with low birth rates, and both are compelling and feel natural and organic to the universe. Even though a lot of characters are similar types (there are a lot of spies and soldiers in the book) there's enough difference between them than I found many memorable characters. And some remarkably funny moments that I can't even explain because they require too much setup, but, knowing the characters and universe, worked really well. While it's not the outright focus of the book, the relationship between Li and Cohen might be one of the hearts. And it's a bit weird to say, but that is remarkably vivid and realistic. In fact, it might be one of the most realistic depicitions I've read in science fiction of a relationship that (despite both players deeply caring for each other) is troubled and potentially headed for a collapse that both people can see coming but can't manage to avoid. Which is doubly remarkable because one person's a genetically engineered ex-soldier and the other's a suave rich artificial intelligence hundreds of years old. Yet it works remarkably well, not just as a relationship but as one that keeps in mind the nature of the participants. Cohen may be remarkably human on the surface, but enough page space is given to exactly how he exists and is different that I don't feel cheated as I sometimes do, with an AI that's pretty much just a human who happens to have certain powers. As a story, I can see that it might not be to everyone's tastes. A lot of it is dense in scientific investigation and although there's action, a lot of the spy stuff is low-key maneuvering pieces into place and manipulating people into acting the way desired. The way I found myself coming back to, when I think of how to describe it, is that it's rarely EXCITING, but it's relentlessly INTERESTING. To me, at least. Some people might not be as interested in descriptions of ant social organization and complexity theory and how it relates to humanity's future. But I'm just that kind of nerd. In terms of flaws, I do think that certain elements of the ending do recapitulate elements of the first book... like, where it'd be fine if this was a stand-alone book, but when you think "Didn't you JUST do that same sort of thing to end the last book?" it feels like a mark against it. And it shares some of the flaws of the first book but they're not as bad, so on the whole it feels like an improvement. The first time I read this, there were only two books in the series and one was expected somewhere down the line. For whatever reason, I never got around to buying book three when it came out, but rereading this one, not only did I feel like revising my score upward, about halfway through I decided to just go ahead and order book three, Ghost Spin, because this one impressed me so much (after a mixed reaction to the first book) and I wanted to see if the author could keep raising her game.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

    Not since mid to late 1980s William Gibson and Bruce Sterling have I read a book that's nearly as well written and as grandiose in scope with regards to the potential impact that a computer-based technological future may have on humanity. With "Spin Control" Chris Moriarty has written what can be described as the finest post-cyberpunk space opera novel ever written, effortlessly capturing the gritty realism of William Gibson's street-wise "Sprawl" short stories and "Cyberspace" trilogy Not since mid to late 1980s William Gibson and Bruce Sterling have I read a book that's nearly as well written and as grandiose in scope with regards to the potential impact that a computer-based technological future may have on humanity. With "Spin Control" Chris Moriarty has written what can be described as the finest post-cyberpunk space opera novel ever written, effortlessly capturing the gritty realism of William Gibson's street-wise "Sprawl" short stories and "Cyberspace" trilogy ("Neuromancer", "Count Zero", "Mona Lis Overdrive") with Bruce Sterling's hard-edge, almost dystopian, Shaper/Machinist cyberpunk space opera ("Schisimatrix"). Others, most notably Richard K. Morgan, in his Takeshi Kovacs series of novels, have come close to providing such a compelling, thoughtful piece of entertainment on humanity's post-human future. However, none have rendered such a scientifically firmly-rooted, realistic bit of extrapolation as Chris Moriarty has done, by relying upon important work in complexity theory, evolutionary ecology and the systematic zoology of ants, and by citing someone as important as distinguished evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson for providing the nonfictional roots of her elegantly realized post-cyberpunk science fiction novel (Indeed, much of the novel relies strongly upon a strong dose of evolutionary ecology and systematic zoology, which, undoubtedly will come as an unwarranted surprise to IDiots (Intelligent Design advocates) and other creationists who strongly doubt the scientific validity of evolution.). Best of all, Chris Moriarty is such a skillful prose stylist that her writing warrants favorable comparisons to the likes of both Gibson and Sterling. "Spin Control" is the immediate sequel to "Spin State", which introduced readers to Moriarity's brilliant, exquisitely-realized future of off-world post-human Syndicates allied against a United Nations comprised of human colonies and an ecologically devestated Planet Earth that is still losing its human population, centuries after a rapid ecological collapse which led to both widespread human immigration from Earth and the mass extinction of many species of animals and plants (I have not yet read "Spin State", but am eagerly looking forward to it.). In "Spin State" readers where introduced to intelligence operative - and AI-enhanced clone - Hyacinthe Cohen and UN Peacekeeper Catherine Li; here in "Spin Control", they have returned, in subordinate roles, as representatives of ALEF (Artificial Life Emancipation Front), in search of one very special prize. His name is Arkady, a "clone with a conscience", a Syndicate myrmecologist (ant ecologist), who arrives on Planet Earth as a survivor of an ill-fated terraforming mission on the Planet Novalis, and a willing defector to the State of Israel with a dangerous, potentially deadly, weapon that could change the fate of humanity; an unknown genetic weapon which he "discovered" by accident on Novalis. However, the Mossad, Israel's Secret Service, claims ample disinterest, offering to bid him to the highest bidder: ALEF, the Palestinians, even the Fundamentalist Protestant religious theocrats now in charge of the United States of America. What will follow - as deftly told by Chris Moriarty in her riveting, almost ornate, yet rather poetic, prose - may determine the future of humanity not only on Planet Earth, but also in interstellar space, and the survival of the post-human Syndicates.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2007/04/the_2007_philip.shtml[return][return]This is a future spy story, a loose sequel to Moriarty's earlier Spin Control; its setting alternates between an unsuccessful research mission by a crew of cloned scientists to the planet Novalis, and the process of selling the secret they discover to the highest bidder in a 26th-century Jerusalem. The two settings are truly memorable, the alien planet - which, as it turns out, is not quite alien enough - with http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2007/04/the_2007_philip.shtml[return][return]This is a future spy story, a loose sequel to Moriarty's earlier Spin Control; its setting alternates between an unsuccessful research mission by a crew of cloned scientists to the planet Novalis, and the process of selling the secret they discover to the highest bidder in a 26th-century Jerusalem. The two settings are truly memorable, the alien planet - which, as it turns out, is not quite alien enough - with the crew of clones from the space-based Syndicates, struggling with their professional and personal tensions, balanced well against the convincing sordidness of the dying earth with mutual paranoia of Israeli and Palestinian security services, each (rightly) convinced that they have traitors within their own ranks. There are some gems of description and characterisation along the way; this was the only book on the short-list where I found myself reading the best lines out loud to my wife.[return][return]However, the huge amount of technical vocabulary supporting the book's themes of biology and artificial intelligence got very distracting after a while, especially since the plot of potential betrayal and counter-betrayal is already fairly heavy going. In addition, I have to wonder if a far future Middle East will be as similar to today's Jerusalem as Moriarty depicts it here; consider how much the region, unlike some, has changed since the sixteenth century, and then add centuries of peaceful coexistence to come between the Israeli and Palestinian states, followed by a sudden return to conflict. If we take the Middle East of Spin Control as an ironic reflection on today's situation, then it is indeed a thought-provoking exercise, but one that comes at the expense of the credibility of the rest of the future universe as extrapolation rather than parable.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Branch

    I read Spin State years ago and had vague memories of a fairly interesting take on AI but not much else, so I picked up this follow up when I saw it at a used book sale. It does continue the exploration of the intriguing AI concept, as well as extending (or introducing?) the idea of Syndicates of genetically engineered people, created in series and deployed in pairs. There is also the terraforming plot line presented in flashback, which adds another potentially interesting angle. However, I read Spin State years ago and had vague memories of a fairly interesting take on AI but not much else, so I picked up this follow up when I saw it at a used book sale. It does continue the exploration of the intriguing AI concept, as well as extending (or introducing?) the idea of Syndicates of genetically engineered people, created in series and deployed in pairs. There is also the terraforming plot line presented in flashback, which adds another potentially interesting angle. However, Moriarty chooses to embed all this in the setting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is not only still going on 500+ years in the future, but with the same grim spycraft, torture, land mines... I’m not sure whether to say that’s not believable or that it’s all too believable, but I’m afraid that for me, it’s tiresome and fails to hold my interest. In the backstory episodes, meanwhile, the bickering and social awkwardness among the Syndicate members is even less interesting. In the end, the tedious interplay among shadowy middle eastern figures with mysterious motives overwhelmed what should have been the most fascinating aspect of the story, the underlying motive for Arkady’s journey to Israel, which I won’t mention here. Anyway, in spite of a number of points in its favor, for me the book was less than compelling.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Graham Crawford

    This is really smart, a lot of ideas with a great understanding of the science and some very clever inversions of sexuality norms. I wish Goodreads had half stars - this was almost a 4. I noticed there was a review here criticising the book for the lack of science - I wish that person would point out the errors - I know a lot about programming simple AI - and I didn't spot any clunckers. Perhaps that reviewer wanted huge info dumps of hard science. I guess that's a matter of taste.I prefer my This is really smart, a lot of ideas with a great understanding of the science and some very clever inversions of sexuality norms. I wish Goodreads had half stars - this was almost a 4. I noticed there was a review here criticising the book for the lack of science - I wish that person would point out the errors - I know a lot about programming simple AI - and I didn't spot any clunckers. Perhaps that reviewer wanted huge info dumps of hard science. I guess that's a matter of taste.I prefer my cyberpunk written by women. They have a more human way of dealing with stories about technology - and their characters are always better drawn. You could tell the writer loved all the characters in this book. They flaws are really just in the basic prose style - the language is not 4 star, but neither is it cringe worthy - It's solid without ever making you laugh out loud or cry. And the ideas aren't old and tired yet... but they have mostly all been done before in some way. Alastair Reynolds had a go at clone sex in "House of Suns" - a dreadful book - this book pulls this of in a believable way. I do wonder though whether this could be classed as a gay novel - as the incestuous transgressions here confuse that possible genre label.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason Kelley

    Ahhhh, much better. I was far more pleased with this than I was with Spin State. I think Betsey was right about Moriarty coming into herself as a writer with Spin Control. It goes a long way to proving just how much the writing can make or break a story. See, Spin State had all the ingredients of a kick ass sci-fi space drama, but it wasn't mixed properly. Spin Control had even less of those ingredients, was set in middle east earth, (I don't know about anyone else but I get tired of the middle Ahhhh, much better. I was far more pleased with this than I was with Spin State. I think Betsey was right about Moriarty coming into herself as a writer with Spin Control. It goes a long way to proving just how much the writing can make or break a story. See, Spin State had all the ingredients of a kick ass sci-fi space drama, but it wasn't mixed properly. Spin Control had even less of those ingredients, was set in middle east earth, (I don't know about anyone else but I get tired of the middle east drama), ended kinda klunky, but it still read better than Spin State. Much better than I wrote that last sentence! Anyway, my favorite parts of the story had to do with the AI Cohen and his relationships to people and other AIs. Especially his relationship to Li, Router/Decomposer, and Gavi. The Novalis virus idea is great as well. And I look forward to finding out if Moriarty explores further with the "alien" encounter on Novalis. I just started reading Altered Carbon. Holy crap! I'm having a tough time putting it down. I can't help to think how good ideas like Moriarty's would flourish if she could write like Morgan. I know it's unfair to do that to an Author, but still I wonder. Perhaps she'll get there, and when she does I'll be one of her biggest fans.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    First off, let me just say that I really loved Spin State. Spin Control was the "sequel" although it's one of those sequels that doesn't necessarily require reading the first book. In fact, for the the first few chapters, I was nervous that the main characters from Spin State weren't even going to be in this book. Rest assured, Catherien Li and the venerable Cohen are more than present in the book. With those fears relieved, I still felt a little let down by this book. Technical jargon aside, I First off, let me just say that I really loved Spin State. Spin Control was the "sequel" although it's one of those sequels that doesn't necessarily require reading the first book. In fact, for the the first few chapters, I was nervous that the main characters from Spin State weren't even going to be in this book. Rest assured, Catherien Li and the venerable Cohen are more than present in the book. With those fears relieved, I still felt a little let down by this book. Technical jargon aside, I felt lost. The main plot, involving a story of past espinoge and the hunt for the mysterious party involved was just too convoluted for me. I suppose having a good handle on middle eastern affairs might be helpful as well, but when it comes right down to it I don't know Jordan from Israel. The "second" story line involving the Arkady's on Novalis was definately more interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how the "cliff-hanger" plays out in the next book. Overall, this is still great writing, and another good page turner, but you may want to keep a notepad close at hand so you can keep tab of who's who and who works for who.

  19. 4 out of 5

    James

    Ok ... Gay Clones from Outer space... It's like when Harry met Sally, but in outerspace, and Harry's actually meeting an exact genetic copy of himself, they don't settle for the space needle. They're in Outta fuckin' Space!! Don't worry the gay thing isn't an issue, because, when you're a space clone, you ARE gay. Them's the breaks... There's just no room for babies in outerspace (see: Enemy Mine). The book is a THICK read, definitely for Sci-Fi homos. But honestly, when it comes to pretty gay Ok ... Gay Clones from Outer space... It's like when Harry met Sally, but in outerspace, and Harry's actually meeting an exact genetic copy of himself, they don't settle for the space needle. They're in Outta fuckin' Space!! Don't worry the gay thing isn't an issue, because, when you're a space clone, you ARE gay. Them's the breaks... There's just no room for babies in outerspace (see: Enemy Mine). The book is a THICK read, definitely for Sci-Fi homos. But honestly, when it comes to pretty gay clones from outerspace, who ISN'T a Sci-Fi homo? Lots of politics, space stuff, computer stuff, and gay stuff. I don't think Moriarty likes to write to one audience at a time. There's stuff in there for programmers. A lot of errant Hassidim trying to get home for dinner. Some Artificial Intelligents Pan-Trannyism going on. Imagine being a computer based on an old Jew's personality that can jump from body to body. Oh and the cyborgs. CHRIST, THE CYBORGS!!! I just want other people to read it so we can talk about what the hell could possibly be going on. This was a 4 on the readership scale, but a Flawless FIVE on the WTF scale. LOVED IT.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John

    This is pretty standard science fiction fare about the struggles among clones, humans, and artificial intelligence units. An ant-expert clone named Arkady comes to earth with a secret that he wants to trade for one of his mates. Lots of bad humans try to figure out what he's up to (he meets a few good ones along the way). A series of flashbacks describe Arkady's mission to explore a planet that inexplicably appears to have been terraformed even though no record exists of the procedure. Some sort This is pretty standard science fiction fare about the struggles among clones, humans, and artificial intelligence units. An ant-expert clone named Arkady comes to earth with a secret that he wants to trade for one of his mates. Lots of bad humans try to figure out what he's up to (he meets a few good ones along the way). A series of flashbacks describe Arkady's mission to explore a planet that inexplicably appears to have been terraformed even though no record exists of the procedure. Some sort of genetic "weapon" has been used and now the powers of earth want it for their own purposes. Although Spin Control has its riveting moments and the science is at times interesting, the characters are lacking and the story is never close to gripping or suspenseful, even though I think it was intended to be. As I was reading it, I kept thinking that science fiction needs a jolt (I don't like the term paradigm shift, but I'll throw it out there anyway) that probably hasn't been seen since Neuromancer.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zac

    A quite good SF tale, the science being toward the hard end although the tech is not really the focus. Spin Control is the sequel to Spin State, and where the first read as a SF mystery thriller, this is an SF espionage novel. The action takes place mostly on Earth and mostly in the Middle East (yes, 500 years in the future, Israel/Palestine is still a mess, perhaps the most realistic prediction any SF novel has made in years.) The lead character, Arkady, is defecting from the Syndicates A quite good SF tale, the science being toward the hard end although the tech is not really the focus. Spin Control is the sequel to Spin State, and where the first read as a SF mystery thriller, this is an SF espionage novel. The action takes place mostly on Earth and mostly in the Middle East (yes, 500 years in the future, Israel/Palestine is still a mess, perhaps the most realistic prediction any SF novel has made in years.) The lead character, Arkady, is defecting from the Syndicates (extrastellar communities arising from enslaved clones who took control of their own cloning equipment and began developing their own genetics to their needs) to the UN (nominally humanity's spaceward face), though it's clear from the beginning that more is going on. Arkady finds himself thrown into the turmoil among the most contradictory, archaic, and chaotic institutions in the universe, Earth's Nation-States. Betrayals, subterfuge and gunfighting of all sorts ensue, meanwhile a mostly-amoral Artificial Intelligence ponders his Jewish heritage, with world-changing results.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James

    I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It's a good story, sure, and it has some very interesting ideas and it delves deeply into the concept of emergence, which is fascinating, but I remember feeling at the time that while Li is present in the story, it's almost a cameo role compared to Cohen (the AI) and Arkady. The problem is that Li is also the most interesting character in the story, and as she sleepwalks through this novel, we sleepwalk with her. Aside from this fairly serious I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It's a good story, sure, and it has some very interesting ideas and it delves deeply into the concept of emergence, which is fascinating, but I remember feeling at the time that while Li is present in the story, it's almost a cameo role compared to Cohen (the AI) and Arkady. The problem is that Li is also the most interesting character in the story, and as she sleepwalks through this novel, we sleepwalk with her. Aside from this fairly serious problem, it's a good, if not extraordinary conspiracy thriller set in Moriarty's usual, brilliantly conceived and executed world. Moriarty's politics and conspiracies make sense if one pays careful attention to all the details and thinks them through. I give it a 3, though now that I've reviewed it and glanced over some summaries to refresh my memory, I may have to go back and re-read it, and I may change my mind. -JRS

  23. 4 out of 5

    Petr

    I just love books like this. They mash together so many interesting things that finally my brain wakes and start digging without feeling of been pushed to do it. I don’t understand everything now, there are too many layers to described conflicts and I’m too far away from central context of this book. But what I really love is tons and tons of naturally sounding references to The Real. In this days where so many books try to be something else entirely, to shed anything that can relate them to I just love books like this. They mash together so many interesting things that finally my brain wakes and start digging without feeling of been pushed to do it. I don’t understand everything now, there are too many layers to described conflicts and I’m too far away from central context of this book. But what I really love is tons and tons of naturally sounding references to The Real. In this days where so many books try to be something else entirely, to shed anything that can relate them to surrounding reality, to let the reader feel like standing between worlds. Too much escapism these days. Not a bad thing per se but very tiring sometimes. Hoorah to the breath of fresh air and real connection. The greatest thing is that this book about different point of views. There are no character development or crazy plot devices. It’s all about how different people (including reader) view, feel and think about stuff they’ve got to deal with.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ryandake

    i don't know which is more dizzying, the science in the fiction or trying to track the cast of characters, and who's double-crossing who this week. it'll be fine fodder for a re-read after i re-read the first (Spin State). this story includes Cohen-the-AI and Li-the-Badass, but they are backgrounded (a missed opportunity, i think) to the story of Arkady and Arkasha, two RostovSyndicate clones who, together, discover something extraordinary. mix up their discovery with a story of Korchow (sliming i don't know which is more dizzying, the science in the fiction or trying to track the cast of characters, and who's double-crossing who this week. it'll be fine fodder for a re-read after i re-read the first (Spin State). this story includes Cohen-the-AI and Li-the-Badass, but they are backgrounded (a missed opportunity, i think) to the story of Arkady and Arkasha, two RostovSyndicate clones who, together, discover something extraordinary. mix up their discovery with a story of Korchow (sliming back from Spin State), israelis, palestinians, combat AIs who go mad when they discover it's not a game, spymasters, more cloak-and-dagger than you can shake a shelf of Graham Greene novels at, and ants, and you have one wild, wild ride. as with her previous novel, stop reading this review and go read the book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Isicson

    Well, I liked this book but it was so vastly different from it's prequel that they really don't flow together, and it suffers because of those expectations. As long as you don't read this expecting a similar tone, pace, and approach as the Spin state, you should enjoy it. The pace is much slower & really involves characters talking to each other for the whole book, very little action. Perhaps the author was trying to compensate for the lack of background in Bk.1 and went overboard. Still, Well, I liked this book but it was so vastly different from it's prequel that they really don't flow together, and it suffers because of those expectations. As long as you don't read this expecting a similar tone, pace, and approach as the Spin state, you should enjoy it. The pace is much slower & really involves characters talking to each other for the whole book, very little action. Perhaps the author was trying to compensate for the lack of background in Bk.1 and went overboard. Still, some of the concepts covered needed more attention, Chris never really gets into the interesting bits of technology, instead, concentrating on spies and their organizations. Some story lines feel unfinished & the ending certainly implies another book...which I'm not convinced I'll read. Characters appearing in the prior book get marginalized to the point that you forget why you liked them in the first place.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill Hayes

    Interesting mix of normal humans, clones and a 'person' that is an AI collective. Re-read it after reading the prequel 'Spin State'. Much better having read 'Spin State' which provides background to three of the characters in 'Spin Control'. Wonderful mix of advanced tech, but seems like it could have used one final edit and some material added. The main character Arkady is supposed to be very bright, but he doesn't ask questions when I would have expected him to. And in order to not be a spoiler Interesting mix of normal humans, clones and a 'person' that is an AI collective. Re-read it after reading the prequel 'Spin State'. Much better having read 'Spin State' which provides background to three of the characters in 'Spin Control'. Wonderful mix of advanced tech, but seems like it could have used one final edit and some material added. The main character Arkady is supposed to be very bright, but he doesn't ask questions when I would have expected him to. And in order to not be a spoiler I'll just say that the ending wasn't what I expected or hoped for and was surprised that Arkady seemed to be satisfied with it. Maybe I didn't understand his motivation. Arkady was clearly interested in more of a relationship with Arkasha; it would have been nice to have seen more about that. I see the third book in the series, 'Ghost Spin' has a March 2012 release date.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Broodingferret

    This book was fun, but, just like Spin State, it seems like Moriarty read a few pop-science books once and then ran off into the wild blue yonder with what he thought he had learned. You know, like those New Age-y types that hear something like "Anything can happen at subatomic levels due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle" and take that to mean "The crystal power of my third-eye can heal to world's chakras and help to usher in the Pyramid Age, 'cause recent research into quantum physics This book was fun, but, just like Spin State, it seems like Moriarty read a few pop-science books once and then ran off into the wild blue yonder with what he thought he had learned. You know, like those New Age-y types that hear something like "Anything can happen at subatomic levels due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle" and take that to mean "The crystal power of my third-eye can heal to world's chakras and help to usher in the Pyramid Age, 'cause recent research into quantum physics shows that anything can happen!" This wouldn't usually impact my rating of a book, but Moriarty is so desperate to have his stuff come off as scientifically plausible that he actually gives an in-depth resource list in the back of the book. If you're that concerned with accuracy, then, you know, be accurate. Still, I enjoyed it and I wouldn't mind reading more of his stuff.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim Zinkowski

    A.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Keith Vai

    Although this book is a sequel with the same main characters it is completely different from the first book. The first book was more of a sci-fi mystery; this one is a noire spy thriller about Israel and double agents. This book was also a sleeper. Took me awhile to finish. Nothing really "happened". I don’t think I every understood "Turing Soup" nor do I want to read about the future 'holy land'. None of the characters resonated with me. Im lowering my original 4 stars to 3. And there were other Although this book is a sequel with the same main characters it is completely different from the first book. The first book was more of a sci-fi mystery; this one is a noire spy thriller about Israel and double agents. This book was also a sleeper. Took me awhile to finish. Nothing really "happened". I don’t think I every understood "Turing Soup" nor do I want to read about the future 'holy land'. None of the characters resonated with me. Im lowering my original 4 stars to 3. And there were other problems. The first book seemed to end with the death of a character. This book is 3 years later and its like nothing happened. This book ends with another near death, setting up book three. There is one more book in this trilogy. I will read it but I sure hope its better.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    For me, this pretentious story started out slowly and was boring. It gained momentum, then stalled before the end, which is anticlimactic. It has an extremely complicated plot that is chaotic and confusing. The author wants us to believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is still raging 500 years into the future. It is never clear who the good guys and bad guys really are. The novel is chockablock with computer jargon, and it isn't always used properly. As the story progresses, inconsistencies For me, this pretentious story started out slowly and was boring. It gained momentum, then stalled before the end, which is anticlimactic. It has an extremely complicated plot that is chaotic and confusing. The author wants us to believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is still raging 500 years into the future. It is never clear who the good guys and bad guys really are. The novel is chockablock with computer jargon, and it isn't always used properly. As the story progresses, inconsistencies become more and more apparent. Loose end are left dangling at the end. The novel does not meet the expectations that were created by the author's previous work: "Spin State." This story is way too much of a stretch to be considered a good read. I would not recommend it at all.

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