My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Wilson writes well and the book held my interest all the way through. I was at first put off by the implausible alternative history premise. The basic idea is that in this 2014 Earth the radio-reflective layer surrounding the earth is alive and intelligent in the form of a hypercolony of microscopic organisms; it keeps humans from yet another world war by altering the signals it receives and reflects to manipulate human behavior. The science part of science fiction didn’t really apply, but as fiction goes, it was imaginative and mostly entertaining. The book appears to be trying to impart some deep philosophic ideas, or at least pose some significant questions about the meaning of life, intelligence and self-awareness. I found it to be unconvincing in this respect. In the end, it seemed like the author had been given an assignment by his publisher to write another sci-fi book and he was just fulfilling his duty. Still, I just pulled this one off the shelf of the library and wasn’t expecting an epiphany. I was expecting to be entertained for a few days and it succeeded just fine in that.