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Kaleidoscope Century Mass Market Paperback – September 15, 1996


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Product Details

  • Series: Kaleidoscope Century (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (September 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812533461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812533460
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.7 x 4.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,278,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A stunning evocation of humanity's violent downward slide, Barnes's fourth SF novel is set on Mars during the early part of the 22nd century, in a universe chimerically similar to that of his first, Orbital Resonance. The novel consists primarily of a series of escapades undertaken by narrator Joshua Ali Quare, whose violent career path under the aegis of the Organization, a successor group to a super-efficient amalgam of KGB/Communist Party, is the ultra-leftist equivalent of many Heinlein protagonists. Born in 1968, Joshua had been recruited by the KGB in the late 20th century, which infected him with a virus that incapacitates him in a near-coma every 15 years, from which he awakens, rejuvenated, 10 years younger each time, but nearly amnesiac. Joshua has been ruthless in pursuit of his missions, most of which have concerned scientific discoveries. Like others around him, he has lost almost all human feeling: he voices only the occasional expression of regret after "serbing" a sorority or defiling his father's grave. The environment Barnes creates is appalling: Josh and his cohort-in-crime, Sadi, appear to delight in their repeated antisocial actions and attitudes. Josh spouts such homilies as "if you don't want a brain to think the wrong thoughts, the surest way is to put a hole in it." Whether or not one is put off by the pervasive cynical mentality, as a picture of the degradation of society in the 22nd century, the novel is gripping.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In Barnes's latest, a tailored virus allows a man to live for centuries.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I'm amazed that Hollywood hasn't already made a movie out of this.
DickStanley.
The sex, however, just seems gratuitous at times, making Josh a wholly ambivalent character whom the reader can never actually like.
Daniel Jolley
Kaleidoscope Century is another excellent story in which Barnes effectively creates a world that feels authentic.
BringData

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Glenn H. Reynolds on July 27, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a tour de force in every way; a consistent and sensible future-world, interesting action, and characters who hold your interest. But there's the problem (it's not a flaw, because Barnes did it on purpose). The characters are so damned repulsive that by the end of the book you feel unclean. Ugh. And it doesn't help that, in a wholly unadmirable way, it's at core a love story. It's truly a masterpiece in terms of craft, but it's not beach reading. At least, not if you want to enjoy the beach.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unfortunately, most of the customer reviewers missed the entire point of this book. Even more unfortunately, to correct them requires spoiling the flash of excitement and pleasure when the reader realizes what is going on here.
This is a very Heinleinesque - high praise! - story of The Man Who Learned Better. Yes, it's very grim, because the world described is not merely dystopian, but apocalyptic.
Now for the clues, for those who didn't get it, or didn't finish it (stop here if you haven't read it yet!):
1) This is a time travel novel.
2) The reason the main character remembers different events differently is not that his records are faulty, but that he has experienced them multiple times, in different timelines.
3) The characters aren't merely unlikable - one of them is a psychpath!
4) The first time around, things were terrible, because the psychopath was the one who was travelling in time and arranging things to her liking.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a VERY good story about a VERY evil man. How do you become emotionally invested in a main character who is a rapist, murderer, KGB spy, and all around selfish bastard? The answer is here. I have no idea how an American KGB spy is made but chances are the answer is in this book.
It is the story about how Josh became a spy for the wrong side and did their dirty work--and let me assure you, the work is about as dirty as you will ever read. You become emotionally invested when you find out his father was an abusive drunk and his mother was a commie activist nut. No wonder he is such a basket case! In fact, this story would be a good text book in a "How to make an anti-hero" writing class.
The main story details his search for security (since he had none growing up). He never looks beyond himself. He has no love of communism, certainly no love of capitalism and not much love period. He is out for himself and the rest of the world can go to hell.
If the story interests you so far then read the book. It's a dark, fascinating, downward spiral into depravity. Quite frankly, you hate the main character but you keep reading to find out what happens to him at the end of the story. If, so far, this is not your kind of story, then don't read it. It's doubtful you will like it.
Not knowing much about John Barnes, I find it interesting that later on he worked with all-American Buzz Aldrin on some other projects making him a truly complex writer. Five stars for showing me something I've never seen before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Filmguy on March 25, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Barnes' second novel in the Century series (unofficially titled the Century series, the books include Book #1: Orbital Resonance, Book #2: Kaleidoscope Century, Book #3: Candle, and Book #4: The Sky So Big and Black) is a harrowing and often unflattering depiction of an all too possible future in which one man, Joshua Ali Quare, wages a War of Self against circumstances that constantly threaten to kill him or destroy his identity in one way or another.
The first thing that must be addressed in this review is the other reviewers failure to understand the complexity and depth of the protagonist of this story, much as the other characters in this novel fail to truly understand him. Joshua Ali Quare's personality and actions, like every other human being that walks the face of this planet, are formulated by a combination of influences from environment, upbringing, and his own innate sense of self. His parents were fringe elements, his mother an african-american communist activist, his father a hard drinking "good old boy" white criminal with a violent streak and a gift for an eloquent turn of phrase. He is recruited by his mother's communist friends to act as a spy for the KGB/Organization within the U.S. military. As awful an act as this must seem to many readers, Josh tells us himself, "I grew up knowing that the United States had to fall eventually." This is not a patriotic American child. This is the child of revolutionaries, and he shows the resilient, pragmatic approach to life that revolutionaries have. He does commit despicable acts of murder and rape, but most of the time when he does these things he is under the influence of powerful psychotropic drugs. That he is a revolutionary terrorist is not to be disputed.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is, simply put, amazing. Barnes' vision of the future is dark and twisted, with a good bit of humor thrown in for good measure. Barnes also manages to take very technical theoritcal science ideas and put them into laymans terms and make the whole idea believable. As I said before, Amazing. Five Stars. Buy it. Today if you can.
As for the Reagan Foster Hinckley joke that one of the other reviewers didn't get, it goes like this: Ronald Reagan, former president of the United States from 1981 until 1989 was shot by John Hinckley, a madman who was in love with Jodie Foster, and was trying to prove it by killing the president. Hence Reagan Foster Hinckley.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

My thirty-first commercially published novel came out in September 2013. I've published about 5 million words that I got paid for. So I'm an abundantly published very obscure writer.

I used to teach in the Communication and Theatre program at Western State College. I got my PhD at Pitt in the early 90s, masters degrees at U of Montana in the mid 80s, bachelors at Washington University in the 70s; worked for Middle South Services in New Orleans in the early 80s. For a few years I did paid blogging mostly about the math of marketing analysis at TheCMOSite and All Analytics, and lately I've been covering tech, especially space, stories in the Government section of Information Week. If any of that is familiar to you, then yes, I am THAT John Barnes.

There are also at least 60 Johns Barneses I am not. Among the more interesting ones I am not:
1. the Jamaican-born British footballer who scored that dramatic goal against Brazil
2. the occasional Marvel bit role who is the grandson of Captain America's sidekick
3. the Vietnam-era Medal of Honor winner
4&5. the lead singer for the Platters (and neither he nor I is the lead singer for the Nightcrawlers)
6.the Australian rules footballer
7. the former Red Sox pitcher
8. the Tory MP
9. the expert on ADA programming
10&11. the Cleveland-area member of the Ohio House of Representatives (though we're almost the same age and both grew up in northern Ohio) who is also not the former member of the Indiana House that ran for state senate in 2012 (one of them is a Democrat, one a Republican, and I'm a Socialist)
12. the former president of Boise State University
13. the film score composer
14. the longtime editor of The LaTrobe Journal
15. the biographer of Eva Peron
16. the manager of Panther Racing
17. the British diplomat (who is not the Tory MP above)
18. the conservative Catholic cultural commentator (now there's an alliterative job)
19. the authority on Dante
20. the mycologist
21. the author of Marketing Judo (though I have an acute interest in both subjects)
22. the travel writer
23. the author of Titmice of the British Isles
24. the guy who does some form of massage healing that I don't really understand at all
25. the corp-comm guy for BP (though I've taught and consulted on corp-comm)
26. the film historian,
27. the Pittsburgh-area gay rights activist (though we used to get each others' mail)
28. the guy who skipped Missoula, Montana on bad check charges just before I moved there
29. the policeman in Gunnison, Colorado, the smallest town I've ever lived in, though he busted some of my students and I taught some of his arrestees
30. the wildlife cinematographer who made Love and Death on the Veldt and shot some of the Disney True Life Adventures ("Hortense the Presybterian Wombat" and the like) or
31. that guy that Ma said was my father.

And despite perennial confusion by some science fiction fans and readers, I'm not Steve Barnes and he's not me, and we are definitely not related, though we enjoy seeing each other and occasionally corresponding (not often enough).

I used to think I was the only paid consulting statistical semiotician for business and industry in the world, but I now know four of them, and can find websites for about ten more.

Semiotics is pretty much what Louis Armstrong said about jazz, except jazz paid a lot better for him than semiotics does for me. If you're trying to place me in the semiosphere, I am a Peircean (the sign is three parts, ), a Lotmanian (art, culture, and mind are all populations of those tripartite signs) and a statistician (the mathematical structures and forms that can be found within those populations of signs are the source of meaning). The branch in which I do consulting work is the mathematics and statistics of large populations of signs, which has applications in marketing, poll analysis, and annoying the literary theorists who want to keep semiotics all to themselves.

I have been married three times, and divorced twice, and I believe that's quite enough in both categories. I'm a hobby cook, sometime theatre artist, and still going through the motions after many years in martial arts.

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