I confess, I had to read it a couple of times to be able to discern if I missed something between the lines (probably did anyway). I want to give it the due credit for the world-building. Research and dedication should always be praised and on Bodard’s case they are recurrent.
But I also thought that even though it’s not a new idea it could be easily missed if the author hadn’t commented on it. Ended up with a feeling that some of the concepts get swallowed by the story progression and that the reader gets tangled, trying to understand a new world without the proper guidance.