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The Quantum Rose (The Saga of the Skolian Empire) Mass Market Paperback – February 18, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The beautiful young noblewoman Kamoj Quanta Argali rules a declining province on a distant planet that has lost the high technology of its original colonists. To save her people, Kamoj has contracted to marry Jax Ironbridge, the moody, unpredictable ruler of a prosperous land. Then a mysterious stranger from another world proposes a marriage that neither honor nor law will allow Kamoj to refuse.

The Quantum Rose is the sixth novel in the acclaimed Saga of the Skolian Empire, following the novels Primary Inversion, Catch the Lightning, The Last Hawk, The Radiant Seas, and Ascendant Sun. This intelligent, entertaining series combines space opera, hard SF, future history, military SF, and romance in a rare and potent blend. The Quantum Rose is an interplanetary adventure, but the space-opera and hard-SF elements are less prominent, as the plot focuses on a compelling and complicated love triangle, the clash of very different cultures, and an approach to war that SF has almost never considered.

A Nebula Award finalist, Catherine Asaro has won the Analog Readers' Poll, the Sapphire Award, and the Homer Award. In addition to the Saga of the Skolian Empire, she has written the near-future SF novels The Veiled Web and The Phoenix Code. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The sixth volume in the Saga of the Skolian Empire (Primary Inversion; The Radiant Seas; etc.) is a freestanding page-turner as a romance, with a hard science framework. It begins in an idyllic forest bathing pool on the backwater world of Balumil. Kamoj Quanta Argali, attractive young female governor of a poor province with decaying traces of millennia-old technology, notices the mysterious off-worlder, Havyrl Lionstar, watching her dress. Retreating in consternation, she also attempts to hide fromDand thus offendsDher lifelong fianc , Jax Ironbridge, overbearing governor of a wealthier neighboring province. Soon Havyrl (brother of previous protagonists in the series) blunders into outbidding Jax for marriage with Kamoj. Jax objects violently and reclaims Kamoj by force, puzzling the off-worlder, whose presence by then is entangling the provincial governors in the imperial politics of the wider universe. The gender-role elaboration in the maneuvers that follow will seem overdetailed to some readers, but fascinating to others. To Havyrl and his staff, Balumil is a rediscovered colony; hence they spend a lot of time explaining to Kamoj the significance of the quasimagical remnants of technology in her culture. Desperate for clues to understanding the wider universe as her planet's isolation ends, Kamoj proves to be as brainy as she is beautiful. Agent, Eleanor Wood of Spectrum. (Dec. 18)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Saga of the Skolian Empire (Book 6)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; 1st edition (February 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812568834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812568837
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,204,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Catherine Asaro: Renassaince Woman

Propped against the bookcase in Catherine Asaro's home office is the framed diploma of her Harvard Ph.D. in chemical physics. Nearby, dangling from the doorknob, is a bag stuffed with the tights and leotards she wears when she pulls herself away from her writing for ballet classes. A former professional dancer, this California native has little time for the ballet barre these days. Instead, she's fielding speaking offers and meeting deadlines for her novels.

Winner of the Nebula (R) Award for her novel, THE QUANTUM ROSE, and her novella, "The SpacetimePool," Catherine blends exciting adventure, science, world building, romance, and strong characterization into her fiction. Her latest publication is The Nebula Awards Showcase 2013, for which she served as editor. Her latest books are the novel Carnelians (Baen) and the anthology Aurora and Four Voices (ISFiC Press). Her story "The Pyre of New Day," which appeared in the anthology The Mammoth Book of SF Wars, was nominated for the Nebula Award. She also writes thrillers, including ALPHA and SUNRISE ALLEY.

Catherine's short fiction has appeared in Analog magazine and various anthologies, including "Walk in Silence," "A Roll of the Dice," and "Aurora in Four Voices," which all won the Analog Readers Poll for best novella, and were nominated for both Nebula(R) and Hugo Awards. Her novella, "The Spacetime Pool" (Analog, March 2008), is currently up for the Nebula(R). Catherine has also published reviews and essays and authored scientific papers in refereed academic journals. Her paper,"Complex Speeds and Special Relativity" in the The American Journal of Physics (April 1996) forms the basis for some of the science in her fiction. Among the places she has done research are the University of Toronto, the Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She was a physics professor until 1990, when she became a consultant and writer.

Catherine also has two music CD's out and she is currently working on her thirds. Her first CD, Diamond Star, is the soundtrack for her novel of the same name, performed with the rock band, Point Valid. She appears as a vocalist at cons, clubs, and other venues in the US and abroad, including as the Guest of Honor at the Denmark and New Zealand National Science Fiction Conventions. She performs selections from her work in a multimedia project that mixes literature, dance, and music with Greg Adams as her accompanist. She is also a theoretical physicist with a PhD in Chemical Physics from Harvard, and teaches part time in the physics department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

In Catherine's youth, the arts were her focus. She studied ballet from age of five, trained in classical piano, and spent hours curled up with books. She successfully pursued London's Royal Academy of Dance syllabus through the first professional level and enrolled at UCLA as a dance major. Then she discovered she loved math and science. "I hadn't studied it much in high school, but at UCLA I ended up taking a lot of science and math," she remembers. "I struggled at first and sometimes I felt like I had no clue. Then one day I read the chapter in my chemistry book on quantum theory--and I was hooked. It felt more right than any other subject I had studied." She went on to earn a BS with Highest Honors from UCLA, a masters in physics from Harvard, and a doctorate in chemical physics, also from Harvard.

Catherine attributes her ability to entertain a broad reading audience in part to her upbringing. "My father is one of the four scientists who postulated that a comet hitting the earth caused mass extinctions, including the demise of dinosaurs. My mother was a student of English literature who loved to write, so from the beginning I was influenced by both the sciences and arts." While pursing her degrees, Catherine continued to dance, founding the Mainly Jazz Dancers and Harvard University Ballet. Perennially on deadline, she now focuses more on her writing than research, but she often speaks on the intersection of science and art at venues such as the Library of Congress and Georgetown University.

Catherine is also proud to coach the Howard Area Homeschoolers, whose students have distinguished themselves in numerous national math programs, including the USA Mathematical Olympiad, MathCounts, and the American Regional Mathematics League. She has served two terms as president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA).

Born in Oakland, California, Asaro grew up in El Cerrito, north of Berkeley. A challenger of rules since her childhood, she explores the boundaries of genre fiction in her novels. "It's like stretching different muscles for dance class," she says, adding that dancing and math aren't as dissimilar as people may think. "There is a beauty in seeing a math problem come together just as there is in performing a ballet. And the discipline it takes to do ballet well is similar to that needed to do math." But no matter what the style of her novels, she writes from the heart. "The flashy adventure is fun," she says, "but the characters mean the most to me, both as a reader and as a writer."

Visit Catherine Asaro Visit her at www.facebook.com/Catherine.Asaro

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Quantum Rose is more than simply a science fiction romance. Asaro devotes considerable time to issues of physical/sexual abuse, gender expectations, societal change in response to rapid introduction of advanced technology, and the responsiblity that those in positions of power owe their constituents.
When Analog serialized the first half of QR last year, depictions of the heroine's abuse (physical and later sexual) by her originally intended caused quite a stir. Rape is a motif that Asaro returns to repeatedly: Soz in "Primary Inversion", Tina in "CTL", and Kelric (too many times to list here). But here it is presented graphically, not as an isolated incident, but in conjunction with brutal physical mistreatment. Long-term abuse is an issue that we tend to down-play because it makes us uncomfortable. Too often we blame the victim rather than the abuser. It is to Asaro's credit that she forces us to look at the ramifications of such behavior for the victim.
Both the hero and heroine serve their respective peoples by acts of extreme self-sacrifice necessitated by desperate situations. Asaro tackles the question of, "When is enough enough?" She also explores gender expectations and how differing worldviews lead to conflict between cultures. She does this much more subtley than she did in "The Last Hawk".
The romance between hero and heroine is intense and satisfying. There is far less sex than in "Ascendant Sun" and "The Last Hawk", and it is portrayed much less graphically. The heroine's planet is believable, although the author should have paid more attention to language and naming practices.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a faithful Asaro fan who dutifully buys her hardbacks as soon as they come out. I expect to love her work, and so came to this book with high hopes. I was _really_ puzzled when I realized about a hundred pages into it that it was boring, meandering, confusing, and just plain sub-professional, writing-wise. I am only giving _Quantum Rose_ two stars as opposed to one out of respect for the author, who has done much better with other tales.
Please: if you haven't bought the book yet, consider holding off from doing so. It's not a page-turner, the plot is not compelling, and kudos to you if you can finish it. I could not, and I'm really sad about it.
I have to wonder if multiply-published authors get a free pass with their subsequent books, no matter how bad. I also am wondering if this book was written BEFORE some of the others, as I know Ms. Asaro has published other books in a different order than they were written in. I would not be surprised if she had written this book first, at the beginning of her writing career -- I KNOW she is currently a much better writer than this.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Ryan on April 20, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"...a science fiction author who is not only a talented writer but an accomplist scientist"; "A deeply romantic novel set in space that was also an allegory for quantum physics..."; and "Wow, what a fabulous story!" I had heard so many wonderful things about the Skolian Empire Saga (and its brilliant author) that I just had to give The Quantum Rose a try.
Catherine Asaro invented a universe in which humans had spread among the stars ages ago through time travel. Some colonies, such as the one on planet Balumil, had been lost to their parent civilizations long enough to forget their origins, regressing into a sort of dark ages as their ancestors' technology slowly faded. Kamoj Argali is a beautiful young ruler of a province on Balumil who is being forced by circumstances into marriage with another governor who could only be described as a sociopath. Without warning Vyryl Lionstar steps in and claims her away from her sad fate; he has fallen in love with her at first sight. In the days to come Kamoj learns some uncomfortable truths about not only her planets' people, but the civilizations beyond. Now, it looks as if Lionstar needs her to stretch her psychological endurance to its limits so that together they can save the Skolian empire together.
I got almost what I had expected from this novel. Yes, it is a romance. Yes, it is science fiction. Yes, it is an allegory for quantum physics, employing clever wordplays and terms to complete the analogy. There is plenty of adventure among the stars, interesting cultural speculation and psychology explored in The Quantum Rose. The problem is, although I am otherwise well-educated I have never taken a physics class in my life and I cannot remember much about high school chemistry.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By lb136 VINE VOICE on March 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Quantum Rose" is another winner in Catherine Asaro's provocative and compelling "Skolian Empire" series. This one doesn't advance the saga all that far-it's more of a gapfiller than anything else--but it has a kick to it. The tale starts out as yet another take on "the culture that the galactic civilization forgot, and which has regressed" and has gone medieval.
Sounds familiar? But be not afraid, Toto. We're not in Darkover any more. Asaro has a new angle on the old idea, filling it with romance, high tech, low tech, dance, horselike critters (two brands) telepathy, and oh yeah. Quantum physics.
There's enough action for the space opera fans; steamy romance for the romantically inclined; and hard science for those who like their science fiction to emphasize, well, the science (an early version of the first half, we're told, appeared in _Analog_).
At heart, though, the story is about growing up and taking charge, as young Kamoj, torn between two men, Vryl of the Skolians and Jax of her own world, eventually finds love in all the right places, and grows as a person. So, in the end, the story is more about the development of character than anything else. And how many genre novels can you say that about?
There's enough material here for a 1200-page by-the-numbers trilogy, but Asaro, with her lean, mean, prose style, doesn't waste our time--she keeps things down to a reasonable 403 pages (plus appendixes).
This is a must-have for Asaroistas although newcomers would probably be better off starting with _Primary Inversion_ , which led off the series, before they tackle this one.
All in all another example of what science fiction can be in the right hands.
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