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Implied Spaces Hardcover – April 1, 2008
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Holy crow, what a great book. It's not high literature, but it's full to bursting with big ideas and action. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Simulation Fiction
Conflict in a post-singularity society, with the greatest villain motivation ever.Published 5 months ago by Karl Gallagher
Space opera, in a milieu where lots of computing somehow makes pocket universes feasible. I like space opera, but this one had too many rabbits pulled out of hats. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Gregory F. Pfister
Surprisingly excellent, with good characters, nice twists, and many interesting ideas.Published 8 months ago by R. Parker
Nothing implied when it comes to Walter Jon Williams' talent and this volume is as good as it gets.Published 8 months ago by Max Pynchon
Humanity with power and abilities beyond imagination where every idea can come true. Still lurks in the heart of a few the idea that they know what is best for everyone. Read morePublished 8 months ago by michael creager
A hi-tech read that I, a highly UN-technical reader, still got through and enjoyed. It was a very different, sort of matrix-like future universe that captured my interest all the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ittlepookterville