Reading, 1/21/9

Geodesica , Sean Williams with Shane Dix, Ascent (2005) and Descent (2006).

So a pair of books, a duology,  fitting because these two books boil down to the story of two people. Two novels to tell that? Well lots of subplots, secondary characters,  technology, philosophizing and well, much stuff to get through in order to tale this lover’s tale.

Melilah is the woman and Eogan is the man. Their story is the heart of the novel and their story really is a question – what does it mean to be human. But not only do those two characters delineate the question, there are many other characters in the story who are quite important and also explore the concept of post-human existance and whether or not humanity is tied to the physical body or is it a metaphyiscal idea that needs no corporeal presence. To discuss this Williams and Dix spend alot of time discussing and showing various examples of post human existence. Post human existence is what happens when we conquer, control, and then discard the human genome and take what forms we so desire or not as the case may be. What sort of societies will be created with what type of goverance, what techonologies will we discover both ancient, pre-human, and contemporary with the story.  The length of those discussions is one of the reasons that this is a duology, I think. Just so much ground to cover when discussing humanity’s future. BTW, there is a colony where no privacy exits at all, amazing idea, everyone truly is the star of there own tv show on that colony.

Anyway the two parts.

Ascent, pt 1., really is the stronger of two novels. Lots of great conflicts, technology, ideas, well defined characters and the pace is excellent. Just great hard science space opera. Complex characters in conflict with themselves, technology, in rebellion against the government, political intrigue, privacy issues, prolonged life issues, the importance of archeology! to a contemporary society that feels opressed, and on and on. Great stuff coming at you a mile a minute.

Part 2. , Descent. After the first part expectations were high. It just didn’t live up to Ascent. Everything that needed saying and doing in order to move the story to a good solid ending where the main characters resolve themselves in a believable manner got said and done. It just didn’t zoom like the first part. Oh there was some action but this was a book that worked the characters and their universe through the major issues that confront them. It got  a bit heavy, complicated and meandered a bit. Maybe the ambitious nature of the ideas got the better of the authors for a bit. But the novel rallied for a believable, satisfying ending that tied all the major threads together. I recommend part 1. and say that part 2. should be read just to see things through.


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