Witty, inventive, labyrinthine, with a life-sized cast, Wright's creation—something like Alexander Jablokov meets Charles...



Wright's extraordinary far-future space opera continues (The Golden Age, 2002). Once powerful, privileged, wealthy, and immortal, Phaethon of Rhadamanthus House defied the ruling Hortators. Now he's penniless, mortal, and isolated from the data banks, tools, and Sophotects (artificial intelligences) he once took for granted; anyone who speaks with him must share his exile. Even his memories are suspect. Phaethon claims he was attacked by Nothing Sophotect, a representative of the Silent Ones who derive from a colony established at Cygnus X1 to exploit the energy available from its black hole. However, according to the Hortators, the colonists went insane, destroyed everything, and dived into the black hole—therefore Phaethon must have been the victim of a cruel prank. Phaethon's sole remaining asset is his fabulous suit of impervious space armor and its sophisticated nanotechnology. His beautiful spaceship, the Phoenix Exultant, the fastest and most powerful ever built, is now owned by impoverished Neptunians and in danger of being sold for scrap. And Daphne, his beloved wife, has retreated into endless computer-generated dreams. A copy of Daphne, secretly advised by Rhadamanthus Sophotect that Phaethon is neither criminal nor insane, wants to help Phaethon and willingly joins him in exile. Phaethon gratefully accepts her help, but she's still a copy, and he can't allow himself to love her as if she were his real wife. And in less than a month, Transcendence will occur, setting the direction and structure of society for a thousand years to come.

Witty, inventive, labyrinthine, with a life-sized cast, Wright's creation—something like Alexander Jablokov meets Charles Sheffield, with a dash of Gene Wolfe—grows steadily more addictive.

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-765-30432-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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