Desolation Road by Ian McDonald

You should buy this book – provided you don’t already own a copy of another edition, of course, though I’m sure Lou Anders and Ian McDonald would both be very happy if you did so anyway[1].

Lou posted to show off the Stephan Martiniere steampunk cover art, which is pretty sexy in its own right[2], but I’m reposting primarily because Desolation Road is one of my favourite novels, was McDonald’s first published book, and I don’t think it’s as well known as it deserves to be.

Desolation Road by Ian McDonald (Pyr edition, 2009)

I wrote a review of it back in 2006 when I discovered it by chance in my local honeytrap second-hand bookstore; it’s not a great review even by my standards (in my defence, I’d not been doing it long), but my enthusiasm for Desolation Road stands even after three years. Best summed up by the blurb that declared it to be a cross-breed of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ray Bradbury’s Mars, it’s probably the only science fiction novel I can think of for which the adjective “charming” is not only appropriate but sincerely positive. Go find a copy, and read it.

[ 1 – Actually, Lou’s often quite vocally opposed to buying editions of authors from a different territory to the one in which you live, the argument being that every import you buy means potentially one less sale if the book is (re)published in your locale, so maybe you shouldn’t buy the Pyr edition if you’re not living in the US. But you should still read it, at the least; hunt a copy down on Amazon or ABE, or see if your library can borrow it for you. ]

[ 2 – Martiniere rarely disappoints me, I have to admit. ]

2 thoughts on “Desolation Road by Ian McDonald”

  1. Hmm. I think I prefer the old artwork to be honest. This artwork makes the book look like some kind of epic steampunk Dune as opposed to the quite whimsical story it actually is.

  2. That artwork is gorgeous (although Jonathan does have a point about the whimsy).

    I adore this novel as well. The sequel’s also great though it takes a somewhat different tack (track?).

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