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The Collapsium Mass Market Paperback – November 26, 2002
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A handful of collapsons in low orbit had become--seemingly overnight--a nested cage of fractured spacetimes, one within the other like wooden babushka dolls, magical ones, straining at the very underpinnings of universal law. And orbiting right overhead!
Towaji and Sykes labor to save the Queendom and outwit the saboteur trying to wreck the Ring, all the while burdened by a byzantine and bureaucratic social structure with demands for party appearances, verbal sparring, and quick thinking. While those of us who aren't physics mavens might quail at some of the terms and ideas McCarthy casually uses, it's his characters and story that make The Collapsium a book to savor, a complex and layered story in the grand tradition of science fiction's masters. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I'll quickly mention points made by others before I center in on the immortality & "meaning of life" themes I've found here.
First, this is hard science fiction, but if like me you're no scientist, there is a way to read it and get the gist of the science without getting hopelessly confused.
Secondly, while the second half of the book is more serious with bad things happening, there's a playful perspective to the entire book that can be compared to fairy tales, or to "Tom Swift" solutions, or to glorious "pulp" science-fiction of the '30's and '40's. This might put off some readers and charm others.
However you react to the hard science and/or the allusions to
more faniful genres, don't overlook what is being said about immortality.
The novel's protagonist and antagonist are both among the first to embark into immortal life and are reacting to such a life's implications. As if immortality isn't enough to deal with, there's also the faxing of people creating copies of individuals who have the memories and personalities of the originals but go into divergent paths.
The principal character, after a long period of being the Queen's "Philander", has become a hermit buried in endless scientific research which will hopefully enable him to see the end of time. His opposite number, also for a time the Queen's "Philander", has a similar goal, but due to his immortality has become what could be thought of as a souless entity, with little regard for humanity.Read more ›
1) It IS a great appendix to reading the aforementioned novels. Besides having a scientific (sci-fi) appendix of its own that explains the (hypothetical) physics behind the technology, Collapsium is really kind of an appendix in its own right, and a decent enough reference to backgrounds of characters that are more fully developed in later novels.
2) It IS a book full of imaginative ideas. Sometimes overly so. Maccarthy's physics is solid, while his speculations on future physics span the full range of plausibility, from "maybe" to "no way!" - but all of it is imaginative, interesting, and good fun to think about.
3) It is NOT a particularly good novel in its own right. Really, the book consists of three somewhat independent and weak novellas: though ordered chronologically they do not share the coherence of ordinary chapters in a single book, and each presents an adventure of its own. The plot (or plots) are not all that engrossing, mainly because they all have a very simple "hero vs disaster" or "hero vs villain + disaster" linearity to them. And since these types of plotlines invariably end with a triumph of our hero, the intrigue is, for the most part, not there. Finally, as other reviewers have mentioned, the character development is somewhat lackluster.Read more ›
The world and characters are quirky and compelling. Never mind that the sun is going to be crushed into a black hole, I wanted to live here anyway. The author's love of the place is obvious and infectious. The story moves from court politics to murder to battles in space, heady sf fare with a hard strange twist, but the opening and closing scenes which bookend this action set it apart, as a work of genuine thought and depth. I've read it twice in six months, and still want more.
McCarthy creates a world where this does happen, and it so happens that a public works project goes awry, the consequence would be the death of the sun! Oops. It would be a spoiler to tell you what happens.
There are some disturbing aspects to this world that arises from very specualtive technology. For example, they have "fax" machines that can transmit a human from one place to another, a form of travel. But the device can also be used to create a complete duplicate of that person. With memories and everything, the duplicate has no idea that they are not the original. The problem is that the law is that the duplicate does not have any legal rights whatsoever. Imagine an enemy being able to steal a copy of you and torture that copy for their own amusement, then dispose of and then go get another. Would that bother you? Yikes.
Very much worth it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my first McCarthy book and what an all around surprise. First off, great writing, full of sharp wit and engaging observations. Read morePublished on February 8, 2014 by T. B.
ITS GREAT TO BE ABLE TO FIND THE BOOKS MY HUSBAND LOVES TO READ. NICE CONDITION FOR ITS AGE. WILL BE REREAD OVER & OVER.Published on May 12, 2013 by Wendlyn M. Carrington
I love when a book is written with a bit of remove, so that you're not terribly anxious about what's going to happen, but the plot is compelling and so it remains a page-turner. Read morePublished on March 4, 2012 by milkfilledandroid
I've been waiting for a long time to get a hold of this book since it's out of print here in Japan. But I'm glad they published it again. Read morePublished on January 28, 2010 by Amazon Customer
There's a lot of marketing done in the SF publishing world, where the marketing isn't reflecting the book properly. Read morePublished on February 3, 2009 by 2theD
Decent book. The plus side is that it is readable, but there are some serious flaws as well. First of, the book starts off like a collection of short stories but when it finally... Read morePublished on July 23, 2007 by Tom Steele
Don't get me wrong--this was a good book, I enjoyed reading it, and savored it up until the end. But apparently there are more books in this storyline, and I'm just not interested. Read morePublished on September 13, 2005 by ascetic
This truly is hard science fiction. Its good stuff. None of this Lois Mcmaster Bujold garbage, this guy actually understands what sci fi is. Read morePublished on August 13, 2005 by G. Nappi