A new review over at Tor.com:
Multiple-award-winning Northern Irish writer Ian McDonald has a significant body of work behind him, from 1988’s Desolation Road to 2017’s Luna: Wolf Moon. Time Was, his new novella from Tor.com Publishing, is a peculiar story of time, mystery, books, love, and war, compact as a parable, layered like a complex metaphor… and in some ways, strikingly unsettling.
Reviewed over at Strange Horizons:
In some ways, Wolf Moon feels more like a sprawling family saga than the tightly intricate political/corporate/criminal thriller that was New Moon. Here there is no instigating event, like the assassination attempt in New Moon, that unfolds into an escalating series of crises. Rather, Wolf Moon deals with disintegration and with consequences: the disintegration first of the Corta family and the consequences of their fall from power, the disintegration of the Mackenzie family into warring factions, after an act of malice destroys their main family holding just like they destroyed the Cortas’ family seat, and the disintegration of all the old norms and certainties on the moon.
Ian McDonald, Luna (US: Luna: New Moon), Gollancz UK/Tor US, 2015. Copy courtesy of the publisher.
The thing that lets me enjoy so much science fiction is that I don’t actually bother to pay attention to much science. Helium 3 mining on the Moon? Effects of lower gravity on humans? Tell me anything you like, I will suspend my disbelief while you entertain me! So, really, understand by this that I have no idea how plausible any of McDonald’s science in Luna is – but the story’s entertaining as all hell.
This is a complex, multi-stranded novel full of interesting characters and fascinating asides, set on a Moon that resembles a libertarian paradise – or hellhole, depending on which end of the wealth spectrum you’re on. (The only law is contract law.) It follows the Corta family/corporation, who’re the newest (and possibly the brashest) of the moon’s five great families. None of the characters are particularly nice people, but they’re all compelling and believable.
Then things start blowing up.
The most fun thing about this book, though, is how it treats the social aspects. McDonald’s thought about what a future enclosed society might look like, how it’ll treat gender and sexuality and marriage (all negotiable, in whatever configuration suits), what’ll count as wealth and poverty. This isn’t one of those SF novels that transposes the 1950s-1970s to shiny tech future – not that I’d expect McDonald to do that, anyway.
Good book. I liked it lots.