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The Collapsium (2002)

The Collapsium (2002)

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3.76 of 5 Votes: 1
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055358443X (ISBN13: 9780553584431)

About book The Collapsium (2002)

Humanity has discovered Collapsium and Wellstone, substances that have made possible immensely powerful computers, teleportation and even immortality. “Faxes” allow the creation of any conceivable thing, from food to servitor robots to spaceship components. “Fax gates” allow teleportation and even duplication of people. The inventor of said substances, Bruno de Tovaji, is now living in self-imposed exile on his own asteroid in the Oort Cloud. Here he conducts experiments aimed at “seeing” the end of time. One day he receives a visitor, the Queen of the Solar System, who is also his former lover. Apparently there is trouble in paradise. A grandiose ring around the sun, aimed at reducing communication lag among disparate locations, is under construction. But it is slowly falling into the sun. This starts a long series of adventures aimed at putting an end to what turns out to be the scheming of a mad saboteur.I had high hopes for this book after the first fifty or a hundred pages. Interesting universe, grand designs, all the stuff you could find in a good Larry Niven yarn. Unfortunately it all became very tedious as the story went on. And on. And on. I kept waiting for the really interesting stuff to start but it was all a bit petty and small. Yawn.This is hard science fiction. Very hard. The science content is all in there. And yet I often felt as if the author was plucking solutions to his problems out of thin air. One of the basic principles of science fiction is that and author must stay within constraints that he creates within his universe. Unfortunately, McCarthy keeps coming up with new ideas that neatly solved the posed problems. McCarthy also completely misses the opportunity to explain his society or give a decent guided tour of something apart from deep space structures. What is London like nowadays anyway? Surely a page or two exploring these things would have served the story well, and made it a bit less sterile. And that’s the main gripe I have with this book. It is all a bit sterile and bland. Mankind’s achievements are falling apart around him and de Towaji is pondering his love life. Seriously…

Ciencia ficción hard envuelta en un ropaje fantasioso, no fantasía de guerreros y magia, si no la de los cuentos de hadas. La fórmula funciona, no al 100% pero funciona. Pero por ejemplo a pesar que las explicaciones de los elementos más hard han sido sacadas a un apéndice, sigue habiendo partes sobre física gravitacional y cuántica bastante densas. No que me moleste, pero no se si será digerible para todo tipo de lector.En cuanto a la historia propiamente dicha, pues las 3 partes en q se divide la historia son un poco autoconclusivas en si mismas, lo q le quita (ligeramente) continuidad a la lectura. Pero bueno, me gustó el concepto y la parte hard, lo encontré bastante lejos de los ya reiterativos libros sobre naves espaciales con "salto warp" y viajes temporales del tipo q no explican mucho cómo realmente se producirían. Claro que acá el avance tecnológico es tan diferente de lo q conocemos que más parece magia q otra cosa.

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The first half was a bit of a merry go-round of a story. It seemed to go round in circles going nowhere.Problem occurs, help sought, problem fixed.The problem- the Collapsium, a highly dangerous project that will put a ring of crystals, composed of tiny black holes, around the sun that would increase the efficiency of transferring data and people.The Collapsium comes into danger of falling into the sun a handful of times, and seems to be fixed by ideas that come from the brain of one Bruno de Towaji.Sounds exciting, but it's not. He fixes it largely by staring into space, grumbling a bit, making a fool of himself at parties, and then coming up with a brilliant this'll fix it speech before disappearing off to his own little planet to work.That's the first half of the book, poss more.If you can get beyond that that's where things get good.The Collapsium's problems are not an accident at all, but and act of malicious intent, but who could possibly benefit from destroying the Queendom and everything in it?Well, those would be called spoilers.There are some intriguing little concepts in this book, such as the fax machine, that can make anything you want, from food to clothes, and as an added benefit it can transport you to other fax machines across the Queendom. Not only this but you can clone yourself and program those clones, or even save copies. Thus death has been eradicated.If I were judging this book on the first half I'd give it a two, maybe a three, cups of tea.Taking the second half into account I'd give it a 4, which is cemented in place by the list of terms and descriptions of how plausible each of the seemingly impossible sounding technologies actually are.There were a few interesting characters, and you get to see a hear LOT about the high society, but the everyday is only vaguely mentioned here and there. I wonder what a world of immortals would be like. Alas, you never find out.
—J.R. Barker

A lot of science fiction literature takes a somewhat negative view of scientific progress, 'cautionary tales' that point out the problems with scientific inquiry. I enjoy a lot of stories like that, but, when that type of story becomes too dominant within the genre, you end up with a very pessimistic view of things - I once heard an author refer to Michael Crichton's entire publishing history as "Here's a great scientific idea - AND HERE'S HOW IT WILL KILL US ALL."Fortunately, there are also books like The Collapsium, which take the view that the ultimate problem isn't science; if anything, it's people, who are going to be the ones to use science to evil ends. Fortunately for us, people are also the solution to all of our problems, because they're capable of incalculable acts of greatness and determination. Hanging between the two is the act of being human, the definition of which has been a driving force throughout all artistic endeavours since the dawn of humanity.This was my first exposure to McCarthy's writing style, and I fell in love with it right away. At first it seems kind of flat and workmanlike, but then he has these brilliant little moments of wonderfully crafted literature in the middle of it, like the stars themselves puncuating the vacuum of space. The more I get into it, though, the more I realized that it isn't flat at all, but that there's a lot more subtlty going throughout it. I found myself rereading several passages mid-paragraph to make sure I got all of the nuance within it.I enjoyed this book so much that I feel kind of bad that I only got it out of the library; I'll have to get a copy for my bookshelf some day.

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