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The Wellstone Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Queendom of Sol Series

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From Booklist

In the sequel to The Collapsium (2002), Radmer, who was once Conrad Mursk, takes it upon himself to fetch the senile and exiled Bruno de Towaji in a last, desperate attempt to save the Towaji children. But first McCarthy details Conrad's youth, following rebellious Prince Bascal de Towaji. That began with an escape from a summer camp for an immortal society's problem children. In the children's city of Denver, Bascal declared his intention to stage a rebellion and turn the programmable wellstone into trash. Of course, the rebels were captured and returned to camp. But with astonishing bravado, they escaped again, in a craft rigged from the head camp counselors' cabin and a wellstone sheet, with which they created a solar sail. Thereafter, they managed to crash-land on a neutronium barge. This may seem so much normal adolescent struggle, but its consequences promise to be immense. The cultural backdrop of a perfect world suits to a tee this story that revels in adventure and, though a sequel, stands quite solidly on its own. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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“Wil McCarthy is one of the best hard Science Fiction writers in the business.”
--Jack McDevitt
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; paperback / softcover edition (March 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553584464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553584462
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,786,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Prince Bascal is frustrated as the heir to the solar system-wide Queendom of Sol because everyone is immortal so he can never become the ruler. Currently the bored royal attends summer camp at a remote locale where "troubled boys" are exiled so that they can gain an appreciation for civilization after time in the wild. However, Bascal has had enough of the confines of Camp Friendly and with several other campers, he uses Fax Technology to escape to Denver on planet Earth.
Bascal and cohorts cause havoc until the Constabulary arrests them. His mother Queen Tamra lectures him on behavior of a future monarch, but Bascal points out he will never be the ruler. Having a taste of revolt and sneaking an earthling female Mary into his entourage, Bascal begins a revolution against the ruling party while the government bungles in their efforts to stop the wild bunch from winning the Fax Wars.
THE WELLSTONE is a wild futuristic satire that entertains while pushing the audience to think through to outcomes of current solutions to problems. The story line hooks the reader the moment Bascal and horde escape camp using Fax technology. Their subsequent adventures are fun to follow as if Wild In the Streets occurred across the Solar System. The key characters seem real enabling fans to believe in Fax Technology and immortality though wonder why we do. Will McCarthy provides a winner that will leave the audience applying his logic to modern day issues in order to estimate the outcome not just the output.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really liked THE COLLAPSIUM, but this sequel is even more fun and leaves me hoping for more. The ending is open enough for another sequel.
While THE COLLAPSIUM had a "Tom Swift" type quality, this one is a boy's adventure story retold for adults. While satirically light hearted, it does have a disturbing underlying theme reminding me of THE LORD OF THE FLIES.
This adventure is quite independent of THE COLLAPSIUM and just as enjoyable whether or not you've read the earlier book.
The conflict between the main two characters fuels the book. Like THE COLLAPSIUM, the themes of immortality and of cloning duplicate selves are thoroughly examined, especially in light of the psychological effect on human nature. This time, it's the effect on young people being raised with expectations of immortality that's spotlighted.
Highly recommended to all science-fiction fans, and to those periphally interested in the genre.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Wellstone is the sequel to Wil McCarthy's The Collapsium, set some time later. Tech called fax filters has led to practical immortality (or immorbidity), which is a problem for the children. What will they do when they grow up? Their parents aren't about to vacate their jobs, for the most part. Some of these kids turn delinquent as a result -- or perhaps they would have been that way in any case. A number of kids are being disciplined by confinement to Camp Friendly, a "summer camp" located on a tiny "planette". One of these kids is the POV character, a young engineer named Conrad Mursk. Another is the Crown Prince Bascal, the son of Bruno de Towaji (hero of The Collapsium) and the Queen. Bascal is extremely talented, a noted poet and a born leader, and he is very rebellious, as well as very spoiled. He incites the boys to an act of sabotage -- they escape via fax to Denver and release a dangerous substance that turns programmable matter to junk. They are soon captured, and Bascal's furious parents return them to Camp Friendly, with even stricter confinement (no working Fax gates).

But Bascal is not to be thwarted. With Conrad's sometimes reluctant help, with the help of a semi-accidental recruit, a teenaged girl named Xmary who was arrested by mistake in the earlier incident, and with the continued help of Bascal's less intelligent henchmen, he hatches another audacious plot. They use the properties of programmable matter to create "homemade" solar sailship from the planette, and they head for the nearest working Fax gate. But a surprise awaits them there ...

I thought this even a better book than The Collapsium. It lacks the previous book's almost insouciant inventiveness -- the "Tom Swift" nature I referred to above.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Wellstone is the second novel in The Queendom of Sol series, following The Collapsium. In the previous volume, Bruno foils a plot to destroy Sol, is crowned King of Sol, and replaces the fragmented and compromised Iscog with the Nescog, based on Sykes' designs for the Solar Collapsiter Ring. Of more importance, that which was lost was found, and he marries the recovered Tamra.
In this novel, a few decades have passed since the marriage; King Bruno and Queen Tamatra have a son, Prince Bascal. A born leader, he is most often found leading his companions into trouble. His parents have sent him to Camp Friendly on a miniature planet in the Kuiper Belt and he takes over the camp, terrifying the director and counselors, and then breaks out to return to Earth.
The prince has come back to Earth to start a revolution (which is a surprise to his fourteen male companions). They gather upstairs in a cafe outside Denver and start partying. The prince gains the confidence of a local girl, Xiomara Li Weng, and aspires to attain access through her to a network of young people in the Denver area. He is planning to trash the Queendom or, at least, the wellstone in it.
As the group is becoming organized, the Constabulary appears and place the escaped youngsters under arrest. At least, the cops think that they have all the escapees, but they fail to notice that one of the arrested boys is really a girl, Xmary, and so Feck is still at large. The revolution continues.
This story is told from the point-of-view of Conrad Mursk, one of the prince's companions. Conrad (as Radmer) is also the protaganist of the framing story, wherein he travels to a miniature planet to retrieve Bruno de Towaji to correct a problem with the "squeezed" Luna.
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