John C. Wright, Author . Tor $25.95 (350p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0756-9

A movie based on Wright's modernized space opera could easily appeal to fans of The Matrix : both contain a charming bulletproof last-best-hope-of-mankind protagonist, sociological philosophy debated by hyperintelligent computers and fanatically purposeful people, and exciting (but relatively unimportant) action scenes. Many of the flatter descriptions might translate well to the screen, and the long, meandering discussions would be more tolerable with the addition of body language and vocal inflection. Such a film would, however, lack the grand polysyllabism that sets the tone of this volume and its predecessors, The Golden Age (2002) and The Phoenix Exultant (2003)—language both deeply literary and deeply essential. Wright's fondness for a well-turned phrase is genuine—he never repeats himself—and he's clearly taken the time to study the science and mythology that underlie his tale of a visionary wanderer returning to the utopia that has rejected him. Unfortunately, the author is so excited by his ideas that he pours torrents of them onto the head of the unsuspecting reader, a shower that leaves one more bedraggled and bewildered than refreshed. Once Wright starts parceling out his fascinating concepts a bit more stingily and decides whether he's writing fast-paced space opera or sociopsychological treatises, his work will really shine. Until then, most readers will have to take notes just to keep track of everything that's going on. (Nov. 19)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Mass Market Paperbound - 414 pages - 978-0-7653-4908-8
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