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THE WHITE ABACUS by Damien Broderick


by Damien Broderick

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-380-78559-5
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

 Arriving too late for a full review, Broderick's latest science fiction venture (Striped Holes, 1988, not reviewed, etc.) leaps two thousand years into the future where ``hu'' (humans) and ``ai'' (self-willed robots) mingle freely on Earth (and are narrated in the past tense). The hu of asteroid Psyche (no ai need apply), led by Orwen Lord Cima, are barbaric but energy-rich, thanks to their white-holelike Metric Defect (and are narrated in the present tense). When Orwen's son, Telmah, visits Earth, the ai Conclave orders Ratio, a newborn Gamemaster, to befriend him- -Psyche's impending power struggle requires careful handling. A yarn that's too assured of its own cleverness and significance--such as the ho-hum gender-neutral honorifics and the pronouns Broderick invents and invites us to share--but, still, impressive and thoughtful.