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The Gods and Their Machines
by Oisin McGann

Category: Fiction / Fantasy
0 pages; ISBN: 0765311593

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Gods and Their Machines
Oisin McGann
Tor, Nov 2004, $19.95, 233 pp.
ISBN: 0765311593

Altima is the dominant nation in the area with its advanced technology making it so “superior” to its neighbors. Altima depends on its backward neighbors for raw materials including cheap labor that are especially used in its highly sophisticated manufacturing sector.

The largest border nation is the fundamentally religious Bartokhrin, an agricultural society that treats females as subservient yet worships the Goddess Shanna. Most Bartokhrins detest their powerful secular neighbor. However a small group also loathes the ungodliness of Altima and has begun a terrorist war to rid Bartokhrin of all ties with Altima. Priests use the mortiphas effect to provide volunteers with negative psychic energies that convert them into living bombs to wreck Altima. As Altima plans to devastate Bartokhrin with a military assault, plots abound to assassinate leaders felt to soft on terrorism.

A terrorist attack kills the family of teenager Chamus Aranson, whose obsession to fly has changed to kill all Bartokhrins. While flying, he makes an emergency landing in Bartokhrin where he meets tomboy Riadni Mocranen, who is his only hope to elude captivity, but neither understands the values of the other.

THE GODS AND THEIR MACHINES is a terrific allegorical speculative fiction that grips the audience from the moment that readers grasp the radical differences between the two societies and never slows down until the final symbolic twist. The story line is action-packed and contains two delightfully daring diverse heroes. Still the parable makes this a compelling read as Oisin McGann has furbished a deep thought-provoking novel. Fans of several genres will reconsider the post 9/11 testosterone actions and reactions of country and terrorist leaders.

Harriet Klausner


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