on July 18, 2015
I first bought this book back in 1989 when it came out, and recently pulled it down for a re-read.
I dare say it's held up quite well and I found myself continually telling myself "just one more chapter". This is a novel of the invasion of the solar system several hundred years in the future. Mankind has spread out among the planets of the solar system and makes its home in the most inhospitable places with the help of "molmacs"....molecular machines, basically what we'd call nano-tech today. Populations have greatly decreased and most folks live in "estates" of various kinds, maintained by their molmacs and have evolved their own technologies. There's not a lot of sharing, there ARE a lot of petty battles, and the Earth itself is in pretty bad shape--it wasn't maintained very well once we invented molmacs and moved out into the solar system.
Enter the Gryphons, one of the races of the Galaxy who want to subsume all people into "The Pattern". This is basically a molmac-generated state of mind that makes people compliant with the wishes of the Gryphons. Naturally our heroes don't take to this very well.
The book moves along very quickly from its initial setup and all is eventually explained in the end. The conclusion is satisfying though there's clearly room for a sequel which (I'm guessing) the author never wrote. The characters are interestingly developed and the molmac technology is both fascinating and a little terrifying. It's quite a good read.
Recommended for folks who enjoy novels of the far future, nanotech, or just an interesting twist on the standard "alien invasion" novel.
on September 17, 2007
Back in print is this fine book. In the fairly distant future, a peaceful Solar System is invaded by the Gryphons, who have developed a (much) faster than light drive, hitherto thought impossible. This is a well written adventure, and a compulsive page-turner. It has several remarkable features:
1. Very well written. Not as much of that around as there should be.
2. The sort of adventure Heinlein would have loved: a small group of individuals take on a monolithic power in the name of freedom. But, to my mind, more sophisticated than most Heinlein, without the juvenile philosophy and the chest beating. Sorry, but you know what I mean.
3. This was one of the first books to really imagine a future dominated by nanotechnology, just about the same time as "Blood Music". It is early enough that nanotechnology is called "molmechs", the nomenclature still being up in the air. Unlike "Blood Music", its pathbreaking role is often overlooked. This is sad because in this book, nanotechnology is the foundation of daily life.
4. This book, at least in its beginning, is just about the only true Libertarian Utopia I have come across in SciFi. Technology allows each individual to live as autonomous power, doing whatever they want, making love or war on the neighbors as they see fit.
on May 8, 2003
I am not a sci-fi fan, so it takes something really interesting to grab me. This one did and held me with excellent description and "show, not tell" narrative. Sucks even "non sci-fi" reader in, so you forget you're reading and find yourself "experiencing." The plot doesn't even matter because the writing just sweeps you along like a piece of debris in outer space. Sort of like a Star War thing. Good literary adventure to go on.