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Paradox: Book I of the Nulapeiron Sequence (Bk. 1) Hardcover – March 11, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In British author Meaney's impressive second SF novel (after To Hold Infinity), the first of a trilogy, young Tom Corcorigan, born poor on the corrupt far-future world of Nulapeiron, receives a dangerous data-crystal from a doomed Pilot, one of the legendary travelers who can traverse the "mu-space" between planets. The crystal slowly teaches Tom how to negotiate complex algorithms of time and mu-space. When an Oracle (a member of Nulapeiron's ruling elite) capriciously deprives Tom of his mother, he finds solace in the crystal, which reveals the Pilots' secrets through episodic tales of old Earth. In his quest for vengeance against the Oracles, Tom survives many horrific rites of passage, including the loss of an arm. Tom not only becomes capable of manipulating perceptions of time but also helps unleash a revolution that unbalances the status quo on Nulapeiron. Intriguing ruminations on the nature of time mesh well with Meaney's fine plotting and his excellent world building.
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"Paradox's ingeniously stratified universe is reminiscent of Dune…" Grade: B+ -- Entertainment Weekly March 11, 2005

"…[a] rich, complex, baroque novel…recognizable from the outset as a unique milestone in the SF field… A landmark work…" -- Paul Di Filippo;Science Fiction Weekly/ March 6, 2005

"The Evening Chorus" by Helen Humphreys
From a writer of delicate and incandescent prose, "The Evening Chorus" offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart. See more

Product Details

  • Series: The Nulapeiron Sequence
  • Hardcover: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; First Edition edition (March 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591023084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591023081
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,627,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm John Meaney (aka Thomas Blackthorne), writer of hard SF, gothic SF/dark fantasy, and near-future thrillers. Having studied physics and computer science, I've been an IT consultant and taught software engineering on three continents. Nowadays, I hide in a Welsh valley and write full-time.

I've trained in martial arts since I was a kid, primarily shotokan karate. I'm a trained hypnotist, so don't look into my eyes... And I adore cats.

Customer Reviews

I look forward to the next book in the series!
Thomas Kanik
John Meaney's prose is very energetic, though sparse, with sentence fragments serving to describe scenes for which other authors would require entire paragraphs.
This is a definite must read for science fiction lovers because it brings a new twist to some of the old cliches.
C. Chui

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mortal Peril on February 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Paradox is a great read. It's one of those books you pick up and can't put down - I read it in one day (finishing very late at night) and spent the next morning camped out in front of a bookstore in Galway so I could get To Hold Infinity. I'm ecstatic that it's finally been released in the US.

The book follows the stories of two wonderful characters- Tom Corcorigan, a boy growing up in the far-future underground world of Nulpeiron, and, entwined within Tom's story, Karyn McNamara, a young woman training to become a Pilot in a near future Earth. In many ways, this is the usual story of a boy with extraordinary gifts and how he rises through a society with harshly defined social levels, but Tom's character and the world itself make the book much more. The Nulpeiron specific language used is generally straightforward, and the detail apparent in the world gives it a wonderful depth and realism.

Some of the ideas brought up about time, space, and fate do require a little thinking from the reader, but Meaney manages to keep things understandable enough that you don't get lost. Personally, I rather liked puzzling through some of the ideas he presented. It's nice to find a book that both makes you think and is fun to read.

I wouldn't recommend this book to someone new to science fiction, but if you've read a bit (and especially if you're a fan of authors like Greg Bear), definately read this one. It's worth it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By K. Maxwell on March 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the world of Nulaperion society is quite literally stratified by how far underground you live. The top layers are the home of a varied and wealthy aristocracy - all their whims either catered to by their advanced technology or the classes of the lower strata's in their domains.

Tom Corcorigan is the 14 year old son of a lower level market trader. A person of no significance in their world till a fleeing, almost mythical, pilot gifts him with a data crystal that will quite literally change his life and fortune when he one days goes up-strata.

This novel presents a complex world where the ability to understand complex mathematical formula is highly prized and in conjunction with leaps in biological engineering is the basis of much of their advanced technology. Tom's journey takes you through a world of striking poverty and wealthy extravagance and a world on the edge of revolution though many do not realise it.

I have to say I enjoyed this novel, even though I don't really understand all the concepts and jargon the author uses. By the end of the book I really felt for Tom and felt attached to him and I'm looking forward to book 2 in this trilogy very much. This novel is a bit more hard SF than I normally read but I'm glad I picked it up to read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Kanik on April 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is my first review! I am a relatively new reader of science fiction. The last book (and one of the first science fiction books) I finished was "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. That said, "Paradox" is a terrific story, and highly recommended.

I won't go into details of the story itself, as previous reviewers have done a good job describing it. The characters were strong and believable. I found that in many ways, I could identify with the lead character Tom Corcorigan. I also enjoyed the story within the story of Karyn McNamara, and how it was an effective part of the overall story. By the end of the book, I felt like I had an attachment to Tom, hoping he would succeed in his efforts. I also felt the story provided the needed closure at the end, and it was not done in an excessive manner.

Meaney writes in a way that is accessible to newer readers like myself. I enjoyed the short chapters and what I call "readable English" - Meaney does not ramble on, and he's not too heavy on the techno babble or needlessly long and obscure words ones finds in a dictionary or thesaurus. I thoroughly enjoyed the science and physics here; it was a relevant part of the story and just enough to get you thinking, but not so much as to overburden the reader.

I look forward to the next book in the series!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. Butler on February 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Someone should really mention the highly fragmented nature of this book--the elephant in the middle of the room nobody's talking about. It's more like a collection of excerpts than a novel--which I'd be first to praise if it worked, but it doesn't. The excerpts constantly shift characters, settings, and timeframes. It's as if the author loved writing the beginnings of chapters so much that he simply started a new one every couple of paragraphs. Frustrating? Oh yeah. I got the odd impression Mr. Meaney considers maintaining a certain level of reader confusion as a top literary goal.

I've got a ton of hard SF under my belt and if an author can write above my comprehension conceptually then I'll bow to his superior brain and read his book twice (Gibson's Neuromancer comes to mind, and some of Egan's stuff). But there has to be a critical mass of detail before I can even determine if this is the case, and Meaney constantly falls far below this threshold. Some tasty concepts and technology are mentioned, but left stranded--not only unexplored, but undefined to the point where I couldn't suspend my disbelief even though I wanted to. It's a shame because he really does have a fascinating world here. Now if he could just WRITE ABOUT IT instead of attempting to impart it through some kind of weird mental inductance where explaining anything EVER is some kind of literary sin, well, then I'd be impressed.
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