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State Tectonics

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The future of democracy must evolve or die. The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever. Unknown enemies a The future of democracy must evolve or die. The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever. Unknown enemies are attacking Information’s network infrastructure. Spies, former superpowers, and revolutionaries sharpen their knives in the shadows. And Information’s best agents question whether the data monopoly they’ve served all their lives is worth saving, or whether it’s time to burn the world down and start anew.


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The future of democracy must evolve or die. The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever. Unknown enemies a The future of democracy must evolve or die. The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever. Unknown enemies are attacking Information’s network infrastructure. Spies, former superpowers, and revolutionaries sharpen their knives in the shadows. And Information’s best agents question whether the data monopoly they’ve served all their lives is worth saving, or whether it’s time to burn the world down and start anew.

30 review for State Tectonics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eliot Peper

    State Tectonics by Malka Older is a fast-paced, deeply-researched science fiction thriller that extrapolates the future of democracy and wraps up Older's exceptional Centenal Cycle. It brings critical questions of accountability, legitimacy, fairness, and governance to life and weaves them into an adventure that I couldn't tear myself away from. As a science fiction and policy nerd, this series hits my sweet spot and grapples with questions that will shape the coming century.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linda Robinson

    On this day, as I finished reading this remarkable book, China admitted it has detained the president of Interpol. The president of Interpol. And China says, yep, we did that. Reload: that's the guy in charge of the group that messages us all at the start of every freaking entertainment download we pay for. Right? The one we hit the controller button to ignore immediately. The one that still is unworkable. That guy. Among the myriad scary outcomes this may conjure, the freakish scenario is that On this day, as I finished reading this remarkable book, China admitted it has detained the president of Interpol. The president of Interpol. And China says, yep, we did that. Reload: that's the guy in charge of the group that messages us all at the start of every freaking entertainment download we pay for. Right? The one we hit the controller button to ignore immediately. The one that still is unworkable. That guy. Among the myriad scary outcomes this may conjure, the freakish scenario is that the international community may not have anyone, any organization, any government that can do a damn thing about it. Washington Post contributing reporter Jamal Khashoggi - a Saudi national - was murdered in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey alleges, without producing any proof. U.S.A. has a new SCOTUS junior justice who threw a hissy fit during his Senate confirmation hearing because, in part, the wrinkly boy band committee he was spewing in front of still has the Terrible Trio who bolloxed the Clarence Thomas hearings on board. The major print news outlets (who are no longer print, in case we missed that) are wondering if maybe polarizing isn't really the issue? And does democracy actually equal freedom of information? I would be tempted to say you can't write this shit. Except Older did. Waayy before any of this happened. Welcome to the third book in The Centenal Cycle. It's a wonder.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brook

    A fantastic conclusion to the Centenal Cycle Trilogy. I wish I could read a few more books from this universe, which I always figure is a great sign with any speculative fiction series. I keep recommending this trilogy to friends, both as an interesting political system, and as a gripping techno-political thriller with some truly rad female characters. I didn't love every PoV character from State Tectonics as much as I did the previous two books, but that makes sense, as this book was about new A fantastic conclusion to the Centenal Cycle Trilogy. I wish I could read a few more books from this universe, which I always figure is a great sign with any speculative fiction series. I keep recommending this trilogy to friends, both as an interesting political system, and as a gripping techno-political thriller with some truly rad female characters. I didn't love every PoV character from State Tectonics as much as I did the previous two books, but that makes sense, as this book was about new beginnings, to a degree.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kaa

    Brilliant ending to a fantastic trilogy. I deeply appreciate the balance of optimism and cynicism maintained through the series, and especially in this book. Malka Older is both highly skilled as a writer and extremely knowledgeable about international politics, which provides the foundation for a complex and gripping story with a fast-paced plot, wonderful characters, and thorny political questions. The characters were absolutely one of the highlights of this trilogy for me. I love how each boo Brilliant ending to a fantastic trilogy. I deeply appreciate the balance of optimism and cynicism maintained through the series, and especially in this book. Malka Older is both highly skilled as a writer and extremely knowledgeable about international politics, which provides the foundation for a complex and gripping story with a fast-paced plot, wonderful characters, and thorny political questions. The characters were absolutely one of the highlights of this trilogy for me. I love how each book adds a new central narrator while keeping the previous narrators involved. This approach let the reader get a more in-depth perspective from a range of viewpoints, while still allowing character development across the three books. I was thrilled that (view spoiler)[main character for this book was Maryam, who I have been getting more interested in since the first book. It was great to see a queer Muslim woman as the lead, and I thought the techie perspective was a perfect addition to Mishima and Roz's viewpoints. I was really happy that Amran got some more time as well, since she was the other character from Null States I wanted to know more about. (hide spoiler)] There are so many incredible women at the center of this series and I love it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maria Haskins

    State Tectonics is a riveting political thriller and the very best kind of science fiction: a book that makes you think differently about the future and the present. State Tectonics brings the Centenal series to a satisfying and dramatic end, skillfully bringing together characters and events from earlier books in a dramatic finale that will make you question whether Information, and the centenal system itself, can or even deserves to be saved. Loaded with gripping intrigue and insightful observa State Tectonics is a riveting political thriller and the very best kind of science fiction: a book that makes you think differently about the future and the present. State Tectonics brings the Centenal series to a satisfying and dramatic end, skillfully bringing together characters and events from earlier books in a dramatic finale that will make you question whether Information, and the centenal system itself, can or even deserves to be saved. Loaded with gripping intrigue and insightful observations about how the world works, and how it might work under different circumstances, it can be enjoyed equally for the twisting plot and for its thought-provoking consideration of the way access information can change the world, and manipulation of information can bend those changes toward the aims of those who control it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kavya

    It got a little hard in the middle to remember who exactly was running what plot against Information, but this conclusion really drives home why I love this trilogy. I'm eternally grateful for this series that is both a look at and a discussion of democracy, cultures, technology - how they may interact in the future and how they can work together for the betterment of all. There's no clear answer. Democracy remains the worst form of government, but better than all the others out there. All of ou It got a little hard in the middle to remember who exactly was running what plot against Information, but this conclusion really drives home why I love this trilogy. I'm eternally grateful for this series that is both a look at and a discussion of democracy, cultures, technology - how they may interact in the future and how they can work together for the betterment of all. There's no clear answer. Democracy remains the worst form of government, but better than all the others out there. All of our current problems with Data, privacy, content and tech is reflected. It's thoughtfully written, and worth your time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tim Nowotny

    You could describe these books as the anti triology. The first one is the standard, but the second one is very optimistic and this one is upheaval. Again, I liked the portait of people being good in their job and trying to balance their private life against it. There is a lot going on in this book and at times it was even hard for me to keep al the plots in the air. My only distinct downside would be the ending. It felt very abrupt and since this was renamed to „cycle“ I am not sure what to make o You could describe these books as the anti triology. The first one is the standard, but the second one is very optimistic and this one is upheaval. Again, I liked the portait of people being good in their job and trying to balance their private life against it. There is a lot going on in this book and at times it was even hard for me to keep al the plots in the air. My only distinct downside would be the ending. It felt very abrupt and since this was renamed to „cycle“ I am not sure what to make out of this ending? Is it a bit of an open end for these characters or simply the setup for the next book? I do not know what to hope for

  8. 5 out of 5

    ken

    I was not so shocked as I thought I would be about the book’s (and the series’) optimistic ending. Considering the presentation of Information and micro-democracy as grey and not inherently good nor bad, the ending fits so well. But ultimately, Malka’s writing style made the trilogy fantastic. Ahhhhh this series is amazing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mariochampion

    Clever twists in a well thought out world. And a subtle reminder of the nuance needed to know who actually to root for as the good gals (and some guys).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Cebulski

    I liked Null States despite its flaws, but felt like it would have been best held up by the strength of its peers, suffering a bit from being the bridge novel. So perhaps I had too much riding on State Tectonics. But, man, I was disappointed with how this one turns out. Older clearly has a lot of brilliant ideas, but the narrative momentum is very nearly absent altogether. You can tell the world is brimming with happenings, but it just doesn't come together into a compelling story. I'm just now a I liked Null States despite its flaws, but felt like it would have been best held up by the strength of its peers, suffering a bit from being the bridge novel. So perhaps I had too much riding on State Tectonics. But, man, I was disappointed with how this one turns out. Older clearly has a lot of brilliant ideas, but the narrative momentum is very nearly absent altogether. You can tell the world is brimming with happenings, but it just doesn't come together into a compelling story. I'm just now appreciating the irony of how the Centenal books are in part about a character with a disorder that makes her compulsively put together narratives in her head, and how this and Null States have difficultly putting together a cohesive narrative. Part of this is from the wide array of POV characters, an element of many recent SFF novels that I really hope we see less of in the future. For one it's just tough to keep the plot focused (may even give the author the sense that they can make the plot even less focused), but here the bigger problem is that most of these characters have barely anything to differentiate them aside from their jobs: Roz, Miriam, and Mishima are all entirely too similar, in demeanor and how the reader experiences them if not philosophy. It's a problem to me when, despite doing my best to pay attention, I would actually forget who the POV character was if there's long stretches without their names mentioned. That tied with the fact that the plot only occasionally feels like its going somewhere--we have another election to account for, which should be a convenient device to circle around for the finale, but it doesn't have the same sense of urgency as Info--makes it hard to get through in places. My understanding is that Older had a definite narrative planned for Infomocracy, and that it turned into a trilogy because the option to write for sequels was offered to her, not because that was the original plan. I have sympathy for that, and I do like how the sequels fill the gaps that Infomocracy left behind, taking as their focus parts of the world that the first novel didn't have time to discuss. But they don't work as complete stories--they just work in bits and pieces of worldbuilding, in occasional interesting passages and introduced concepts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephen LeDrew

    My favourite of the series. I found the first to be a little too broad, and the second too narrowly focused, but State Tectonics struck just the right balance for me. This time we follow Maryam most closely, although each of Mishima, Ken, Roz, Suleyman, Nejime, Nougaz etc. return. The themes are more fleshed out here, and also more discussed by the characters, most of whom have shades of grey regarding their allegiance to Information and the micro-democratic system. The newest character introduc My favourite of the series. I found the first to be a little too broad, and the second too narrowly focused, but State Tectonics struck just the right balance for me. This time we follow Maryam most closely, although each of Mishima, Ken, Roz, Suleyman, Nejime, Nougaz etc. return. The themes are more fleshed out here, and also more discussed by the characters, most of whom have shades of grey regarding their allegiance to Information and the micro-democratic system. The newest character introduced, Taskeen Khan, is very refreshing, offering perspectives that most others have long ago forgot about, or disregarded, simply because they would get in the way. The pacing is speedier than the previous two, and Older is able to neatly tie the personal and the political. We see much more self-reflection here, as cracks in the system start to spread and widen, but there remain those who steadfastly cling to what they know. However, how can you know what you don't know? This frequently comes up, especially toward the latter stages of the book, once the seeds of doubt have been planted. I also appreciated how due to their separation, the characters were able to come to mostly similar conclusions via drastically different circumstances. Mishima is still seeking the thrills of an exciting narrative, Roz is still calculating and more local in scope, while Maryam seems to be the least intertwined with Information and is still able to prioritize her life better than the others. The book is ripe for its time, and whether or not you believe in such a data-driven system, the reality presented has to be considered quite probable. From "Infomocracy" I thought that it was a brilliant choice to plant the reader not only into the future, but into a future where micro-democracy has long ago been established, forcing the reader to unravel the choices that may have lead the world there. In "State Tectonics" we get to see if our guesses were correct.

  12. 5 out of 5

    VexenReplica

    An excellent conclusion to the series. State Tectonics builds on the world created in Infomocracy and the conflicts created in Null States to present a future in which democracy, on a micro-scale, is challenged. It asks the question implicitly left in the first two novels: is a democracy based on neutral data and information feasible and if feasible, should it exist? Many of the players from the first two books, both from the Information side of things and the dissenting groups, show up to form a An excellent conclusion to the series. State Tectonics builds on the world created in Infomocracy and the conflicts created in Null States to present a future in which democracy, on a micro-scale, is challenged. It asks the question implicitly left in the first two novels: is a democracy based on neutral data and information feasible and if feasible, should it exist? Many of the players from the first two books, both from the Information side of things and the dissenting groups, show up to form a world which is just as hectic and messy, but attempts to be better, than the world created from Information, but also the world we live in now. It's not a utopia (although by the novel's end, a utopia is certainly hinted at), but it is also not a dystopia. It's just a world where people live, work, grow up, and eventually die. It is a possible future. It has its own problems (some of which are painfully reflective of today's society), and oftentimes its problems have no neat solutions. Oftentimes, at the end of books presented as utopias, a reader may ask themselves if they would want to live in such a society. For me, this is one of the least awful alternatives, and while I may not want to live here, it is certainly one of the more optimistic views of our future. This is a series I highly reccommend, especially if you have a liking for utopian-turned-dystopian-turned-utopian novels, fantastic characters, intense plotlines, or a wont to travel the world, because Older has made a fabulous tourist's guide. ;)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Smeaton

    State Tectonics concludes the Centenal Cycle with a showdown between the NGO Information and it's enemies. The Centenal system first introduced in Informocracy is expanded a bit more and the setting is shown in a little more detail, we no longer have just Microdemocracy and the Null States but also the Independentistas which unlike the Null States have a limited trade in data with the Microdemocracy. There is also a nice touch in that Information's enemies range from well intentioned and trying State Tectonics concludes the Centenal Cycle with a showdown between the NGO Information and it's enemies. The Centenal system first introduced in Informocracy is expanded a bit more and the setting is shown in a little more detail, we no longer have just Microdemocracy and the Null States but also the Independentistas which unlike the Null States have a limited trade in data with the Microdemocracy. There is also a nice touch in that Information's enemies range from well intentioned and trying to created as smooth as transfer of power as possible (And a possiblity the good guys of this story!) through to sore losers who'll kill anyone who stands between them and the power they crave. This allows for the characters to end up facing some interesting moral dilemmas. It was also nice that the author attempted to show the passage of time (The series takes place over the course of five years) by having some of the characters have children. This series is a fascinating examination of an alternative system of government although at times this examination tends to get in the way of the narrative meaning the series tends to drag in places but I still recommend it as an alternative to the near future dystopias that are in fashion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Dixon

    A fitting end to the series, and an improvement over the first two installments. Entertaining, tightly written, and thought-provoking. The author has grown, and many of the flaws in her earlier writing are addressed here. The conflict is better developed and the villains are more concrete. Some loose threads from Null States are even tied up here. There's still a bit of Idiot Ball-carrying in the third act (Maryam, in particular, makes some very odd decisions), but largely, we're given insight i A fitting end to the series, and an improvement over the first two installments. Entertaining, tightly written, and thought-provoking. The author has grown, and many of the flaws in her earlier writing are addressed here. The conflict is better developed and the villains are more concrete. Some loose threads from Null States are even tied up here. There's still a bit of Idiot Ball-carrying in the third act (Maryam, in particular, makes some very odd decisions), but largely, we're given insight into the characters' motives and actions, which provides a much sturdier foundation as the story keels toward its conclusion. Hopefully we'll get more stories from Ms. Older beyond these!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    The first two of these were some of my favorite books. This was pretty good, as well, but not quite up to the standards of the first two. I still enjoyed it, I'm still glad I read it. But all the "action" in this one was right at the very end and I had some difficulty maintaining enthusiasm through the middle of the book. And the ending seemed a letdown to me. I don't have any idea what I wanted, but I couldn't really help but think "Oh, great, now they are going to get stuck with FoxNews and In The first two of these were some of my favorite books. This was pretty good, as well, but not quite up to the standards of the first two. I still enjoyed it, I'm still glad I read it. But all the "action" in this one was right at the very end and I had some difficulty maintaining enthusiasm through the middle of the book. And the ending seemed a letdown to me. I don't have any idea what I wanted, but I couldn't really help but think "Oh, great, now they are going to get stuck with FoxNews and InfoWars." I think Older positioned it so we ought to be hopeful at the end--but living in the times we do, having seen what happened when we "opened up" media to competiiton through the internet--I'm not sure I can muster up any hope that this will turn out any better.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    A perfect ending to a fun and fascinating series Once it got going, this was an absolute page turner. I love the premise of the centenal form of democracy, and have wondered if something like that would work in reality. I love the references to happenings in the past that led to where the story opens. I have grown fond of the many characters over the course of the three novels. I really hope this isn't the end of this world, because I want more!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Boyarsky

    Great end to the trilogy. The main characters travel around a lot so we get to see different parts of the world. Both parts that use Information and parts that do not. Seeing the "travel guides" and attempt at displacing Information in the election was clever. As was Tasheen and her "time capsule." Tons of politics, but it isn't real so a welcome relief!

  18. 5 out of 5

    KJ

    This rating is as much for the trilogy as a whole as for this individual book, because this final volume pulls so many threads and characters together. As a librarian who enjoys stories of political intrigue, this story might as well have been written specifically for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    A good ending to a solid series, can't help but feel that it's far too brief for all that it tried to accomplish. Too many good ideas fighting for the limelight and it made it hard to treat any one of them as important.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Great conclusion to the trilogy. Even better than the second book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ariela Housman

    Enjoyed this resolution to the trilogy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alok Talekar

    disappointment

  23. 5 out of 5

    Martin M

    Great finiah to the trilogy I have Reay enjoyed all 3 books of this series. With the ending the way it is, I am hoping there are plans for follow-up series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  25. 4 out of 5

    mark

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Colin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jol Padgett

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack Coates

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