Profile: Science Fiction, Space Opera
After Action Report:
Count to a Trillion is a strange sort of novel. It seems primarily dedicated to avoiding any kind of resolution to any of the narratives it establishes and finding other literary ways to annoy me. Poor characterization, egregious technobabble and obnoxious timeskips are just a few of the book’s many sins. And yet, there is an interesting and ambitious concept at its core. Ultimately, I think the novel falls short of its goals, but it takes us on what could be the start of an intriguing ride.
Count to a Trillion opens an unspecified amount of time in the future. The Earth has been ravaged by non-nuclear global war and racial strife. These events have left the Indosphere and Hispanosphere in control of much of the world. Born in the relative backwater of the southern United States, Menelaus Illation Montrose grows up as a judicial gun-for-hire, but hides a unique secret: a phenomenal gift for higher mathematics. Pressganged into an once-in-a-lifetime expedition to examine an alien artifact orbiting a tantalizing source of free energy, Menelaus subjects himself to an experimental procedure designed to artificially enhance his brain to a posthuman level. The process drives him insane.