May 16, 2014 6:36 pm

‘Descent’, by Ken MacLeod

Descent, by Ken MacLeod, Orbit, RRP£19.99, 416 pages

 

As a teenager, Ryan Sinclair has a close encounter with a UFO. When he returns to the scene, however, evidence of the incident is gone. Ryan then experiences alien-abduction dreams and a visit from what appears to be a Man in Black. All this sparks a fascination with the UFO phenomenon and related cover-ups, which wanes until adulthood when he again meets the Man in Black, now a rightwing politician.

Set in a near-future, post-independence Scotland, Ken MacLeod’s 15th novel weaves deftly through thickets of conspiracy theory, drawing in surveillance society, high-tech aviation materials, and the Neanderthals’ racial legacy. Though sagging slighting in the middl, Descent is politically engaged, brimming with smart ideas and shot through with a mordant wit. The novel is dedicated to the memory of MacLeod’s friend Iain M Banks, and one feels that the future of intelligent Scottish SF is in good hands.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

SHARE THIS QUOTE