- Hardcover: 264 pages
- Publisher: Night Shade Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1597801259
- ISBN-13: 978-1597801256
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Implied Spaces Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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Computer scientist turned wandering swords-man Aristide travels the accidental spaces in the artificial universes of a postsingularity existence in which memory backups are standard and a matrioshka cluster of computers runs the worlds’ workings. On Midgarth, where he has been traversing a desert full of common spiders and ants, he discovers a group of priests involved in a plot that could take down all civilization because of one man’s existential crisis. Williams takes on the artificial-world topos with great style and characterization, enlivening it with spectacular philosophical conversations between Bitsy, avatar of one of the matrioshka brains, and Aristide. Between the implications of living in a world in which death is a minor inconvenience but the loss of time can change relationships forever, and the implications of the theory upon which the yarn’s impending doom depends (a take on the nested multiple universe concept) and the ways in which different experiences can change a person, even starting from exactly the same baseline, Implied Spaces is a thoughtful work of world building and an engaging mystery. --Regina Schroeder
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Top customer reviews
The story follows Aristide, a swordsman, who runs into a mystery in a land of wizards, giants and trolls. The land is a strange one with a melange of fantasy tropes and a sun that apparently doesn't move, requiring that time be kept with hourglasses. Adventures happen and Aristide, it turns out, has a magic sword that makes people disappear, which seems to surprise the trollish and other weird denizens of this fantastic land. Aristide also has a talking cat, which seems to be as much of a surprise as the magic sword. There is a battle between Aristide and his companions and a cult of evil wizards who can also make people disappear, a talent that seems to puzzle Aristide.
After the reader gets used to the idea that Williams is actually writing a fantasy story, Aristide returns to civilization via a wormhole, and we find that the fantasy land is one of many universes created by humanity and their eleven great matrioshka array super-computers. We then are introduced to a super-science fiction world of nanotechnology, wormholes and a technology that records memories that can be reloaded into nanotechnologically designed replacement bodies in the event of death.
But Aristide has a mystery to solve. Where did the wizards get the ability to make people disappear?
The story then takes off as we are treated to visions of world building - the fantasy land was actually a Dyson sphere, which is why the sun never moved, and Aristide gets his body modified into an amphibian form so he can follow-up on the mystery by visiting a designed ocean "world" that is shaped as a tube with the living space on the inside and a wormhole channeling the sun's energy at one end, with the result that a person on this world can look up and see the ocean, islands, and storms "hanging" overhead.
We also see the dark side of this future. "Viruses" that can reprogram the mind, battles involving 40 million men, all of whom die, and possibly the ultimate endpoint of all weapon development. As Aristide observes, "you mean we've gotten to the point where we are hurling hostile universes at each other?" You will understand that reference when you read the book, and you will see that it isn't a metaphor.
So, the book definitely has a "gosh-wow" sense of wonder going for it.
The plot of the book progresses in a fashion that keeps the reader engaged. The "Deus ex" of chance is kept fairly well hidden, although why Aristide should run into a particular minor character on three different worlds in three different contexts is one place where the "willing suspension of disbelief" was challenged.
As other reviewers have noted, "Implied Spaces" has a resemblance to Williams' "Aristoi" novel, at least with respect to presenting the dark side of technological progress. I didn't find that to be a negative; in fact, it makes me want to re-read "Aristoi."
I also liked the coinage of the term "Sword and Singularity" to describe the sub-genre of this book.
All in all, I felt that I got my money's worth of entertainment value, and I have no hesitation in recommending it. In fact, I did recommend it to my 13 year old daughter, who particularly liked the talking "cat," "Bitsy."
The book is set in the far future. Humans have settled many planets in the universe. They have created worlds that seem to be a combination of computer and alternate realities. If you can think of it you create that world and go there physically. Yet people are the same no matter the time. Someone is trying to take control of everything and our hero is trying to find out who and to stop them. I can't tell you more without spoilers but it was a fun read.
I mean, what else does a book possibly need?
Well, some tidy plotting, imagination, a good pace, and something recent wretched releases have caused me to value much more highly these days, good writing.