Up Against It by M.J. Locke [Book Review]
I spent a long time getting into this book. It spent time on the shelf between each of the first few chapters and the time when I make it my main read. I persevered because it was recommended via Charles Stross’s blog. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed it immensely.
Up Against It – the review
Up Against It is a relatively long book, not quite up with some of the fantasy genre, but over 450 dense pages. There are three interwoven plots, which is why it has a slow burn start. There is quite a bit of setup to be done.
Once it gets going though it is fantastically good. There is a well defined world for it all to happen in which is internally consistent. Space is dangerous and travel is slow. The gravity well means something, and yet there is a thriving community in the tens to hundreds of thousands in the area around the main asteroid.
I particularly liked the thread around an emergent AI and how that was seen by the humans. There was a genuine mix of takes on it and those fitted the characters backgrounds and attitudes to other things. One of the key groups in this was the viridians, who were pro-body modifications. They created art from themselves, and also added whatever adaptations that they found useful to live their lives. A very ultra-modern take, yet they were in a small and oppressed minority, which sadly fits general human behaviour.
Overall I really enjoyed this and there wasn’t anything that made me break out of the suspension of disbelief, in fact there really wasn’t anything that didn’t seem potentially plausible some distance into the future where humans are capable of living off planet for long enough to make colonies possible.