Eos, Apr 2001, 26.00, 435 pp.
One millennium earth time from now, humanity has colonized much of the solar system. However, a social schism of major magnitude has occurred during the post settlement stages. The inner planets are totally ruled by Ames, the great dictator, who decides what is human and what is fodder especially with the growth of technology such as grist to host an individual's consciousness. On the outer ring, control is totally decentralized as diversity in human form is cherished as it is considered a basic freedom.
As the outer ring begins to head towards other stars, Ames sees an opportunity to gain control of the solar system. With his totalitarian ability to raise troops fast, Ames seems to have a major advantage over the apparently scattered opponent. However, led by Colonel Sherman, the outer ring knows they have everything to lose and draw their line in the sand, ready to risk their lives for freedom.
Though the year is not even half over, METAPLANETARY may be the best science fiction novel of 2001 and will appear on most people's short lists. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action while describing an extremely complex and extraordinary solar system that is actually two competing cosmos. The differences between the inner and outer rings seem like a futuristic Cold War or World War II with totalitarianism vs. freedom on a grander scale. In his third science fiction, Tony Daniel has written a novel that is so exemplary that the author will earn a place among the genre's stars, a rarity based on one book (though the other two are very good too).
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner