Book Review: In the Mouth of the Whale by Paul McAuley
In the mouth of the Whale follows several offshoots of humanity competing for control of a gas giant. Within the planet is contained a strange and powerful Mind which could change both the future and the past of humanity. I won’t describe the plot any more than this because a lot of the fun of the book comes from getting to grips with the various plot lines.
This is a challenging read. There is a lot of terminology and history to get your head around and it’s not immediately obvious how it all fits together. It’s worth the effort though because as the story goes on we get more and more details which eventually give us a very complete view of this world. Most authors would just give us a big info dump at the start of the novel but I much prefer this method of storytelling because it slowly draws you in and involves you much more in the story.
It’s a standalone novel which is set in the same universe as the Quiet War series. You don’t have to have read those books to enjoy this but I think you’ll get much more out of it if you have. Many of the themes of the previous books are picked up here such as the fracturing of humanity and yet more ideas about the possibilities for our future evolution. There are some really big ideas presented here and it’s very satisfying when the true scope of the story is revealed. If you have read the previous books then this is probably not the book you were expecting. It’s very different from the others in the series which just goes to show the quality of Paul McAuleys writing and the versatility of the world he has created.