The Light Ages

Fantasy Fiction novel by Ian R Mac Leod, published in the UK June 2003 (and in paperback in mid-2004, so it's eligible for the OUSFG Award). It's set in an alternate Britain in which the industrial revolution happened based on magic, rather than technology. The upshot of this is a deeply lazy, regressive society, in which anyone involved in the production of use or magic - anyone involved with dreams - gets trodden on and broken.

" Aether rules the world. Aether drives the engines, the telegraphs, the very lights of London.
"Through the power of aether, and through the secrets and mysteries of the guilds that wield it, England has created a mighty Industrial Age. It is a place of enchanted gardens and grimy terraces, smokestack factories and fantastic beasts. Yet in this great age of the world, Robert Borrows, the insignificant son of a Lesser Toolmaker, holds the key to the world’s future.

Yes, it's a fantasy novel with the core message 'fantasy fucks you up.' Respect. More like, 'if fantasy was like the military-industrial complex, fantasy would fuck you up', isn't it? Nope. The further on you get, the clearer it becomes that if magic was in the hands of the proletariat things wouldn't be any better and what you really want is the welcoming light of Technology and Science... Well, i suppose it is fantasy, after all.

Very good btw - AG

I just got a copy, I will post how I like it -- SDN

It was my favourite novel of 2003; beautifully, lyrically written and who cares if it's a bit on the slow side? -- NH

The followup novel (about as much as sequel as The Scar is a sequel to Perdido Street Station) is called The House Of Storms. It was published in February 2005.

Category Book

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