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ISBN# 0312848706. Published April 2002 as a hardback by Tor books.
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Read part of the first chapter of the book online!
Nick Gevers of Locus Magazine interviews the first-time novelist (itself a significant statement) and reports: "John C. Wright has seized the attention of much of the SF world. Reviewers have spoken of him as equivalent to William Gibson and Gene Wolfe in potential importance, and there is substance to these assessments." Read the entire interview.
Questions on heroics, education, philosophy, the Wright Brothers, and where did the word "Oecumene" come from? Read the interview here.
In which the author's embarrassing past as a Dungeons & Dragons player are revealed to a shocked and disbelieving world. Read another interview here.
Read yet another interview with the author by the author. I tried to ask myself hardball questions.
A recent interview. Some soft ball questions from an admirer.
From Publishers Weekly:
This dazzling first novel is just half of a two-volume
saga, so it's too soon to tell if it will deliver on its audacious promise.
It's already clear, however, that Wright may be this fledgling century's
most important new SF talent. Many millennia from now, his protagonist
Phaethon disrupts the utopia of the Golden Oecumene to achieve "deeds
of renown without peer." To write honestly about the far future is
a similarly heroic deed. Too often, SF paints it as nothing more than
the Roman Empire writ large. Wright recognizes that our society already
commands many of the powers the Romans attributed to their gods; our
world will be almost unimaginably magnificent and complex, and they will
be able to reshape their own minds as easily as they engineer the heart
of the sun. To make their dramas resonant today, the author uses echoes
of mythology both classic (like his namesake, Phaethon is punished for
soaring too high) and contemporary (SF fans will enjoy nods to modern
masters Wells, Lovecraft and Vance). And he wisely chooses simple pulp-fiction
plots to drive us through the technological complexities of Phaethon's
world. The hero's quest to regain his lost memories, learn his true identity
and reach the stars is undeniably compelling. As a result, having to wait
for the next volume is frustrating. Wright's ornate and conceptually dense
prose will not be to everyone's taste but, for those willing to be challenged,
this is a rare and mind-blowing treat.
(Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.)
The Golden Age is Grand Space Opera, a large-scale SF adventure novel in the tradition of A. E. Van vogt and Roger Zelazny, with perhaps a bit of Cordwainer Smith enriching the style. It is an astounding story of super science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the excitements of SF's golden age writers.
The Golden Age takes place half a million years in the future in our solar system, an interplanetary utopian society filled with immortal humans. Within the frame of a traditional tale-the one rebel who is unhappy in utopia-Wright spins an elaborate plot web filled with suspense and passion.
Phaethon, of Rhadamanthus House, is attending a glorious party at his family mansion to celebrate the thousand-year anniversary of the High Transcendence. There he meets first an old man who accuses him of being an impostor and then a being from Neptune who claims to be an old friend. The Neptunian tells him that essential parts of his memory were removed and stored by the very government that Phaethon believes to be wholly honorable. It shakes his faith. He is an exile from himself.
And so Phaethon embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system--Jupiter is now a second sun, Mars and Venus terraformed, humanity immortal--among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms that are partly both, to recover his memory, and to learn what crime he planned that warranted such preemptive punishment. His quest is to regain his true identity.
The Golden Age is one of the major, ambitious SF novels of the year and the international launch of an important new writer in the genre.