by Adam Roberts
Cover Artist: Stephan Martiniere
Review by Todd Baker
Pyr Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1591025389
Date: 06 March, 2007 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /
Gradisil is a complicated mixture of hard SF satire, political thriller, and family saga, told in a post-modern mélange of traditional narrative, memoir, and excerpts of speeches and the like. The basic conceit of the novel is that in the mid Twenty-First Century, a few pioneering individuals learn to make use of magneto-hydrodynamics (a real scientific discipline developed by Nobel-laureate Hannes Alfven) to alter airplanes so that they can fly into low orbit along the magnetic field lines of the Earth. These individuals then establish a community in low Earth orbit, the Uplands, consisting essentially of large canisters, called houses, made airtight and containing all the amenities of home. From official release/information:
Book Description: Gradisil is an epic space opera of family revenge and the birth of a nation.
Not very long from now, if you are wealthy, space can be yours, space to grow. New technology has seeded a rebirth of the pioneer spirit. A new breed of adventurer has slipped the bonds of gravity and begun a fresh life in orbit, free from interference by government, free from the petty concerns of earth.
Who wouldn't want such freedom? Who wouldn't want to escape from society's tangles--from the claws of the corporations, from the stifling love of family?
But tradition, fear, and revenge carry a murderous weight, a gravity that is not so easy to escape. The death of Gradisil's grandfather, floating high in the uplands above earth, was only the beginning. And now the US government is looking up at the new nation above our heads with jealous eyes.