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The Chronoliths Paperback – March 1, 2011
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“One of the most impressive bodies of work in contemporary science fiction -- The Chronoliths stands with his best.” ―The New York Times
“Superb.” ―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Born in California, Robert Charles Wilson grew up in Canada. He is the author of many acclaimed SF novels including the Hugo Award–winning Spin.
Top customer reviews
A quick read, but the ride goes on. What if you could change the future by inserting a menssage into the past? Yes, I know it's been done before. But the author does it so well, and leaves enough mystery to make this work very well. Our characters are complex, and the narrative is just disjointed enough to make you believe.
You truly do get that sense of impending doom as each monument arrives. And the reactions of the world's population seems to be caught up in that ebb and flow. I also enjoyed that our hero was essentially a layman, so he can talk about the concepts, without getting bogged down in the mathematical details.
A streamlined story, and a tale well told.
This was a pretty high-concept book, and the style was more literary than I’m used to seeing. In some cases, however, I felt it was more literary than it needed to be. Specifically, the author got into a habit of telling events out of order – not because of any time travel, but just because he felt like it. That got a little old, but it was not prevalent enough to make me stop reading.
So, all in all, it was okay. I liked the concepts involved, but the telling of it was not to my taste.
This mystery is layered with two others: Who is or will be Kuin, and why is our narrarator even involved, and in a central way?
The author creates interesting characters, a slightly dystopian world, and an episodic style to hide, in plain sight, the solution to the time travel mystery. Along the way, the story is compelling, interesting, and hard to put down. I would give this 4.5 stars, for solid writing and a good story. (Like most time travel mysteries, the end resolution is slightly hokey. I think this is part of the basic problem, which is that time travel does not exist, and therefore is pretty hard to make into believable science fiction...)
The dystopian nature of the novel is a bit irritating. We are supposed to believe that computing power falls off, and that the general society is more poor, and somewhat sad sack. This could have been better connected to the millenarian movements that sprung up around this Kuin -- is he a savior, inevitable, what? Instead, they seemed a bit dreary. It is almost as if the author wants doomsday a bit too badly. Technological change, enhancement, progress on some fronts, are actually enhanced by conflict and war. This novel makes it appear as though the opposite is the case, that a downward slide is to be expected.
That said, the book was short, interesting, fun to read, and raised good questions about what the future holds, and what would happen if the American feeling of becoming inevitably better off were faced down with large huge monuments to a future warlord... Good read.