Ares Express
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Ares Express

by Ian McDonald
Release date: 2001
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction

Taking place in the kaleidoscopic future of Ian McDonald's highly-praised Desolation Road, Ares Express is set on a terraformed Mars where fusion-powered locomotives run along the network of rails that is the planet's circulatory system and artificial intelligences reconfigure reality billions of times each second.

One young woman, Sweetness Octave Glorious-Honeybun Asiim 12th, becomes the person upon whom the future – or futures – of Mars depends. Driven away from the locomotive that has always been her home by the thought of a boring marriage and an all-consuming wanderlust, she consults her dead twin, Little Pretty One, about her future. But that future will take in religious cults, artificial intelligences that are as gods – and the gods themselves.

Big, picaresque, funny; taking the Mars of Ray Bradbury and the more recent, terraformed Red Planets of authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson and Greg Bear, Ares Express is a wild and wooly magic-realist SF novel, with many bizarre philosophies, strange, mind-stretching ideas and trains as big as city blocks.

(updated 2010-09-07)

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