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The Lord of the Sands of Time (Novel) Paperback – July 21, 2009
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About the Author
Born in 1975 in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, Issui Ogawa is rapidly becoming known as one of Japan's premier SF writers. His 1996 debut, First a Letter from Popular Palace, won the Shueisha JUMP Novel Grand Prix. The Sixth Continent (2003; forthcoming from Haikasoru in 2010), a two-part novel about settlement on the moon, garnered the 35th Seiun Prize. A collection of his short stories won the 2005 Best SF Poll, and "The Drifting Man," included in that collection, was awarded the 37th Seiun Prize for domestic short stories. Other works include Land of Resurrection, Free Lunch Era, Fortress in a Strange Land, and Guiding Star. Ogawa is a principal member of the Space Authors Club.
Top customer reviews
In <i>The Lord of the Sands of Time</i>, humanity in the future has been decimated by a faceless enemy alien menace. Whoever the adversary is, they have unleashed monstrous creations that are designed for one purpose: to kill humanity. Humanity has tried everything it can think of, from talking, to even surrendering, and the enemy will not respond.
Eventually, the earth is lost and humanity is driven to the stars where they previously had some exploration. At this point, mankind begins breakthroughs to defeat the enemy and begins to gain hope. But there is a catch. Both humanity and the aliens have utilized breakthroughs in time travel. Now humanity attempts to destroy the aliens in the past and the aliens send their weapons (called ET's, though a different abbreviation) to stop humanity from progressing enough to oppose them.
In the midst of this, breakthrough technologies allow the creation of very human-like Artificial Intelligences (AI's) called "Messengers". Their task, to develop a connection to humanity before being sent backwards in time on their mission.
We meet several of these messengers and their leader of sorts, another AI called "Cutty Sark", through the point of view of our main protagonist, Messenger "O" - short for "Orville". Orvill, like his brethren, must suffer much heartbreak, some of it seen and much unseen but alluded to, in their mission. It leaves a really sad taste when considered. The only good part is that this is a happy ending, and with a definitive victory, unlike <i>All You Need Is Kill</i> which is another Japanese work of a similar premise.
Despite my reference to an open ending, it was a happy one, but it was rather abrupt and there wasn't enough of a celebration given for my taste. Also, there was a hint of more than memories (and that's all I'll say on that to avoid major spoilers). But in the end, though bittersweet, it was a happy ending.
As for the deaths, well, Tolkien in fantasy or David Weber in sci-fi would be reminiscent of the death toll. That added both to the sadness when reading the story as well as the happiness and joy at the good ending. At the same time, there was a sort of combination bitter and triumphant taste in my mouth. The forces of humanity are victors and will extract a price from the enemy, but given what you learn of the motives of enemy, revenge seems like a pointless and sad effort that increases the overall evil.
This really was something to think about in terms of heroes, villains, victory, ethics in war, so on. I will also say that the way the action and narrative was split between the main story in early common era Japan, and other timelines, was actually quite effective. There was none of the disjointedness that such plot devices sometimes can fall victim to.
A really enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
Wish there was a sequel to this to learn about Omega.
Most recent customer reviews
(A story set in Japan before the emergence of samurai? Oh, Issui Ogawa. That explains it.Read more