An excellent book. Munroe fully imagines a post-singularity world in which that singularity arrives not with a bang but a protracted, shuddering whimper. This a book that combines detailed projections--of technology, of culture, of morality--combined with a queer, concrete lyricism; forget Kurt Anderson; Munroe is the Tom Wolfe for the tech-equipped post-millennial set.
The ending, described in posts below, is a bit jarring, but, as far as I can tell, is part of an overall shift in the accepted form of the novel withing the science fiction genre (a similar denoument occurs in "Somebody Comes to Town, Somebody Leaves Town," a novel published contemporaneously). It will be interesting to see where it leads.
Possibly the most far-reaching novel ever written. Clumsy, perhaps, in places, but not didactic--the perfect companion to Shaw's Methuselah's Children on one end and Clarke's Childhood's End on the other, and far surpassing them both. Stapledon demonstrates an insight, ability to re-think the accepted (both culturally, biologically, and religiously), and scope that is nothing short of dazzling. Let this one carry you.
The book that started the Cthulhu mythos! What more reason do you need to read it?
If you read Stross, or Gaiman, or Bradbury, or practically any science fiction, this is a must-read to understand the development of the genre.
Sounds at first to be dated at best or clumsy and naively egocentric at worst--but is neither. What it lacks in the prosaic beauty and felicity so apparent in Forster's novels it more than makes up for with an insight that rivals that found in the best of H.G. Well's short fiction.
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