Intrusion - Ken MacLeod I keep reading and reasonably enjoying Ken MacLeod's books, and i'm not entirely sure why. This one starts out with a really intriguing social-sf question - should a woman have to take a simple pill, with no side effects, to make sure her unborn child is healthy - and degenerates into (totally unrelated to the question) silly science subplots, ideological wankery and lame thriller-lite evil-government shenanigans. That said, I still think it's a step up from his recent books - the characterization is better, the pace is spot on and and it doesn't completely dissolve in terms of plot and theme.

Unfortunately, theres just too many...potshots. The "opposition" are ridiculous caricatures and the whole thing appears to be based on a slippery slope argument, (laws against smoking in pubs>get hauled in by the police for going into a building someone smoked in once while pregnant.) The ideological questions get explained instead of actually being expressed in the book (characters sit around telling each other about Foucalt,) and everything has to be an extension of a current political process in a neat way "...her mother's generation, in a moment of frivolity, had surrendered feminism..." THIS IS YOU, LADY, YOU FOLLOW?!) And theres that now frankly disturbing fetish for the Labour Party again, (you should get that looked at, Mr. MacLeod), though at least they're evil in this one.

It's a shame, as theres a really, really interesting book buried somewhere in here, about the tug between individual freedom and social contract, about women and women's bodies, about the construction of religion and ideology and the way individuals function and make decisions in just got lost somewhere, to wander amongst the tachyons, time travelers and torturers of the Outer Hebrides instead.

Oh, and it's not actually clear if Scotland is independent.