River of Gods is set on the Indian sub-continent in the near future (around 2050). This future is an extrapolation of current trends in climate change, globalization, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.
The plot is complex, with numerous seemingly unrelated strands that nevertheless turn out to be essential in the end. There is everything from TV soaps with AI actors, to wars over water, seemingly alien artefacts in space, a technological breakthrough that appears to generate free energy, etc. Plus it all takes place in India, which adds another layer of complexity and chaos for me at least. I’d try to summarize it but to be honest I read this book several months ago and I’ve already lost my grip on the plot.
The delivery is fast and dense. Even now I can open the book at any random page and immediately be sucked in, for “just another page”. The flip side is that the book can feel pretty overwhelming at times. You have to hold on carefully and pay attention or you’ll be thrown off your raft. This is not a book you can read leisurely, a few pages at a time – you’ll forget what was going on and who was who.
There are fascinating characters, fast-paced action, and intriguing SF concepts. It’s a great book that I’m already looking forward to re-reading. It’s hard to do this book justice in a review this short. But if you like ambitious, sprawling, dense SF, don’t miss this one.