Cosmonaut Keep

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First edition (publ. Orbit Books)
Cover artist: Lee Gibbons

Cosmonaut Keep is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Ken MacLeod, published in 2000. It is the first book in the Engines of Light Trilogy, a 2001 nominee for the Arthur C. Clarke Award,[1] and a 2002 Hugo Award Nominee for best novel.[2][3]

In Cosmonaut Keep, MacLeod makes fleeting reference to a future programmers' union called the "Information Workers of the World Wide Web", or the Webblies, a reference to the Industrial Workers of the World, who are nicknamed the Wobblies. The idea of the Webblies formed a central part of a later novel For the Win by Cory Doctorow, where it is given much greater prominence. MacLeod is acknowledged by Doctorow as coining the terms.[4]

Literary significance and reception[edit]

Publishers Weekly had mostly praise for the novel saying:

MacLeod handles the strands of the plot deftly, weaving one beautifully realized world with the other and highlighting the parallels between the two. Rarely does a book demand so much of the reader and then deliver. Densely written with a remarkable depth of cultural texture, though occasionally confusing in its politics (which includes socialists, "Webblies" and libertarian capitalists), MacLeod's story is spoiled only by the false notes of two parallel love interests.[5]


  1. ^ "2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  2. ^ Archived January 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "2002 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  4. ^ Cory Doctorow (2010). For the Win. HarperVoyager. ISBN 978-0-00-735201-2. MacLeod is thanked in the Acknowledments section: "Many thanks to Ken Macleod for letting me use IWWWW and 'Webbly.'"
  5. ^ Zaleski, Jeff; Peter Cannon (April 9, 2001). Publishers Weekly. 248 (15): 55. ISSN 0000-0019. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]