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#CBR4 Maneuver #43 – The Evolutionary Void

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Evolutionary Void

Profile: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Science Fantasy

Summary: Taken from the back cover, “Exposed as the Second Dreamer, Araminta has become the target of a galaxywide search by others equally determined to prevent – or facilitate – the pilgrimage into the Void.  An indestructible microuniverse, the Void may contain paradise, but it is also a deadly threat.  For the reality that exists inside its boundaries demands energy drawn from planets, stars, galaxies – from everything that lives.

Meanwhile, the story of Edeard, the Waterwalker, continues to unfold.  With time running out, Inigo, the first Dreamer, must decide whether to release Edeard’s dangerous final dream.  And Araminta must choose whether to run from her responsibilities or face them down, with no guarantee of success or survival.  But all these choices may be for naught if the leader of a rival faction enters the Void.  For it is not paradise she seeks there, but domination. ”

After Action Report:

Okay, I’m not sure if I wasn’t paying attention to book two, but The Evolutionary Void definitely jumped the tracks a bit and careened off into the nebulous science fantasy genre.  Not that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with science fantasy, but the effect is sort of like going to a Star Trek convention, passing out on the last day and waking up to the cosplay contest of an anime con.  Not unpleasant per se, but definitely disconcerting.

Where book two, The Temporal Void, was mostly about the events within the Void, and by extension Edeard’s story, book three takes us back outside to resolve the ongoing problem of the Living Dream pilgrimage.  The majority of the narrative is spent picking up plot threads from the first book that were left withering to make room for the copious number of dream chapters in book two.  I should note that I started Evolutionary Void almost two full years after reading the first two books, and spent a substantial amount of time trying to remember who the hell everyone was with mixed success.  Most of the protagonist groups have finally aligned against the forces of the Living Dream or the Accelerator Faction, but haven’t necessarily teamed up.  All that aligning means less in the way of Ludlum-esque chases and more pseudo-scientific technobabble along with a fair portion of posthumanist philosophy.

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#CBR4 Maneuver #42 – Metaplanetary

Target: Tony Daniel’s Metaplanetary

Profile: Science Fiction, Science Fantasy

Summary: Taken from goodreads.com, “The human race has extended itself into the far reaches of our solar system — and, in doing so, has developed into something remarkable. The inner system of the Met — with its worlds connected by a vast living network of cables — is supported by the repression and enslavement of humanity’s progeny, nanotechnological artificial intelligences whom the tyrant Amés has declared non-human.

But the longing for freedom cannot be denied. And now a line has been drawn at Neptune’s moon Triton, where those who oppose Amés and his fearsome minions await the foretold return of a mysterious man of destiny and doom who has vanished into the backwater of the Met. But resistance will only ensure the unspeakable onslaught of the dictator’s wrath — a rage that will soon ravage the solar system and plunge all of humankind into the fury of total war.”

After Action Report:

Metaplanetary and I have a bit of an odd history.  I picked up a copy of the paperback in a tiny bookstore in Acadia National Park back in 2002.  After reading the whole thing in basically two days, I desperately wanted to find the sequel, with the rear cover promised had come out already.  Of course it hadn’t and it would be another there years before Superluminal would see the light of day, and in the meantime I forgot about the whole thing.  Going back to Metaplanetary hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations, but the book is still a solid piece of soft science fiction/science fantasy with one of the most interesting core concepts I’ve come across.

Metaplanetary attempts to be told as a pseudo-scholarly war record assembled by an off-screen narrator.  The chapters progress through the events leading up to a war between the Inner and Outer solar system regions, with each chapter containing the personal recollections of various involved individuals.  These narratives are punctuated by scholarly documents attributed to various in-universe authors, describing the history, politics and technology of the setting.

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