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Implied Spaces Hardcover – April 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Computer scientist turned wandering swords-man Aristide travels the accidental spaces in the artificial universes of a postsingularity existence in which memory backups are standard and a matrioshka cluster of computers runs the worlds’ workings. On Midgarth, where he has been traversing a desert full of common spiders and ants, he discovers a group of priests involved in a plot that could take down all civilization because of one man’s existential crisis. Williams takes on the artificial-world topos with great style and characterization, enlivening it with spectacular philosophical conversations between Bitsy, avatar of one of the matrioshka brains, and Aristide. Between the implications of living in a world in which death is a minor inconvenience but the loss of time can change relationships forever, and the implications of the theory upon which the yarn’s impending doom depends (a take on the nested multiple universe concept) and the ways in which different experiences can change a person, even starting from exactly the same baseline, Implied Spaces is a thoughtful work of world building and an engaging mystery. --Regina Schroeder

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597801259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597801256
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,806,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Joseph TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Walter Jon Williams is one of my favorite authors. His novels share two broad characteristics. First, they are fantastically inventive -- Williams doesn't like to stick to one genre, and has written cyberpunk, a SF police procedural, alien contact novels, space opera, high farce, and more genres than I can name. Second, no matter what the genre, Williams' works typically incorporate a physicality that is missing from most SF. A martial artist himself, Williams is at his strongest writing about the ronin of the future, and, with various variations, usually does exactly that.

Implied Spaces is a mix of fantasy and sf that reminds me a little of Heinlein's Glory Road or Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, with a higher-tech background and the plotline of Williams' high nanotech novel, Aristoi.

The novel is set in the far future, where humans have become effectively immortal and generally live in artificial and tailored universes created by the humans and their AI. The protagonist, Aristide, is another one of Williams' ronin characters, a man who has outlived his original sense of purpose and is essentially drifting. Together with a magic sword and a talking cat (both of which are scientifically explained, of course), Aristide wanders the various universes, studying the "implied spaces" -- areas of the world which were not intentionally created, but arose by implication.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jvstin VINE VOICE on July 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's not often that you read a novel which creates a subgenre, sui generis. Implied Spaces, by Walter Jon Williams, manages that feat with the inauguration of the "Sword and Singularity" subgenre of SF.

For those who don't know what a Singularity is, in brief, its the idea that when trans-human intelligences (be it computer, cyborg or what have you) come into existence, life and history as we know it will be utterly transformed, and life after it will be as alien to us as our modern technological existence is alien to our ancestors in the Paleolithic era.

In Implied Spaces, Walter Jon Williams creates a "sword and singularity" novel. What this means is, pace S.M. Stirling, is that fantasy ideas, tropes and even settings are convincingly melded with the high technology of a post-Singularity environment. We start off the novel in a fantasy world environment that, if it were just a random tidbit found on the internet, would at first look like a well written but ordinary fantasy novel. Aristide has a talking cat, sure, but in a world of trolls and monsters, that's not unusual.

When his sword comes out, and starts acting like Morgaine Chaya's Changeling, complete with a wormhole, the reader starts getting an inkling that there is much more to the universe than meets the eye. We soon get ever grander vistas and situations as, with Aristide as our guide, we meet A.I.'s, post-human characters, wormhole technology, mass drivers using wormholes as weapons, and technology capable of affecting the most fundamental elements of reality.

As Keanu Reeves famously once said: "Whoa!"

The book is philosophical, comic, action packed, thoughtful and stunningly well written. I've been a fan of Williams work for a long while, and he hits all cylinders here. This novel is precisely for people who can read good fat fantasy, and yet strongly appreciate the High-tech SF of, say, Charlie Stross.

Highly Recommended.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By S. Carpenter on August 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just wasn't that impressed with this book. While it had some interesting ideas, they were kind of a hodge-podge of technologies thrown together without any rhyme or reason. Want AI, it's there. Want wormholes and bubble universes, got that too. Functional immortality, check. Nano tech, sure thing. Heck, we even got zombies!

I also found the characters very one dimensional. While the hero has a back-story, it's slightly implausable. I could get over that if there was any type of inner conflict to explain why he does what he does. After all, he's the oldest human alive, there have to be SOME inner deamons to drive him. The other characters, including the love intrest, were so paper thin I had trouble remembering who they were.

It's always hard to build tension in a book where the characters are immortal, but it can be done. In this case though, even during a multi-universe war, there's always the knowledge that the worst that can happen is he'll be restored from a backup minus a few months memories. Not excatly the right motivation for a white-knuckle thriller.

Overall, this book misses on both the small and the large scale. However I'm glad to see books like this out there. After too many years of sequels and fantasy taking over the sci-fi label, it's good to see authors taking up the challange of 'real' science fiction again. In this case it's a miss, but not a horrible one, just not to the level of some of the masters of the genre.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Guy Ivie on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Mr. Williams ever since discovering "Voice of the Whirlwind," but "Implied Spaces" goes a long way toward making me stop looking for his books in the future. Too reminiscent of "Aristoi" in a number of places but not done as well; too many different SF tropes (including borrowing an idea from John Barnes' "Meme Wars" stories) that left me feeling like I was on a whirlwind bus tour that gave a smattering of everything but not enough of anything; no character development to speak of; narrated by someone who comes across as fairly numb to what's happening around him. There is no excitement and no tension here. I wish I had waited for this book to show up at the library, and that's where my copy is headed.
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