Book: The Cunning Blood by Jeff Duntemann

Pretty good; vivid characters

Jeff Duntemann
The Cunning Blood
ISFiC Press, 2005
ISBN: 0-9759156-2-2
357 pages

In the science fiction novel The Cunning Blood, Earth of the 24th century is a dystopia; it's ruled by Canadian women. (Actually, it's not a completely nightmarish dystopia, but the idea of a society being unpleasant because it's run by Canadian women is amusing to me.) Anyone who shows the slightest proclivity toward violence is barred for life from public office and anyone who actually commits violence, even is self-defense, is sentenced to transportation. Earth's prison planet is Zeta Tucanae 2, commonly called Hell. Earth's government has made sure that the people sentenced there never leave by seeding the planet with nano-devices that attack anything that's conducting electricity. A bunch of violent criminals with no advanced technology would surely quickly descend into barbarism and pose no possible threat to Earth, right?

On Earth, there are a few people who have nano-machines distributed through their bodies that collectively form intelligent or semi-intelligent computers. (The "cunning blood" of the title.) They have to do so secretly because that sort of thing has long since been declared illegal by the Canadians because it's far too dangerous. The Canadians have also stopped exploring the galaxy because some of their ships didn't come back and they decided that that was also far too dangerous.

Before we get far into the book, various people are on their way to Hell for various reasons. Among them is Peter Novilio who has been sentenced there, and he carries the Sangruse Device, Version 9.

Of course, the societies on Hell aren't what the Canadians think that they are. I don't know if they're exactly probable, but they're mostly polite.

The book's characters are vivid and the plot is interesting if somewhat intricate. The pacing is a little uneven and the ending drags a bit. Still, there's a good bit of fun to be had reading it.

Posted: Sun - April 23, 2006 at 08:18   Main   Category: