Mike Resnick
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Reader's Thoughts:

Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia - A set of connected short stories taking place on the terraformed planet Kirinyaga. The stories deal with a group called the Kikuyu, originally of Kenya, who are attempting to live out a tribal utopia in this new world. The central figure in the stories is the mundumugu: project architect, spiritual leader, cultural coordinator, and witch-doctor. Kirinyaga is maintained physically by an orbital space facility called Maintenance. Culturally it is maintained through the sheer will and clever memetic engineering of the mundumugu.

However, while Kirinyaga is not the worst place one might hope to live, it is more distopia than utopia. Internal and external pressures make it's simple and primitive equilibrium extremely tenuous.

Although this book does not fit directly into the OA setting, it does have some useful perspectives on memetic engineering and cultural interaction as well as the relationship of technology, magic, faith, and religion. The level of technology in Kirinyaga is not described in detail serving mainly as a not totally improbable deus ex machina, which actually works well in this context. Another area of divergence from OA is the lack of AI presence, or at least AIs and transhuman elements are not heavily dealt with.

Peter Kisner