Paul McAuley is an unappreciated writer and I can think of a number of reasons why. They are all wrong, of course, but these are the realities of the modern publishing word, cross-crossed with the mass-market sensibilities, spread around with the single-mindness of the social networks.
First of all, he is a scientist, a former scientist, to be accurate, who holds a Ph.D. in biology. This is not a problem in itself, except it shows all too well in his writing. His novels – and I am talking here mainly about his space opera series The Quiet War is generously laced with science facts and hypotheses. Alas, today most scientists in fiction are not recognized by the ideas they bring in or the objective reasoning they represent. I see this as a sad consequence of the attempt to reach as wide audience as possible, leading to a the great simplification if the scientific ideas. It has always been that way, because of the basic fact that science is complex and it takes a great effort to get through the tick layer of arguments in a science-based SciFi novel.
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