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The Bellinghman

#130 Robert Charles Wilson: The Chronoliths

Robert Charles Wilson: The Chronoliths

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (Jun 2002)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0812545249
ISBN-13: 978-0812545241
Category(ies): Science Fiction

OK, this was great. Set in 2021, or at least, starting in that year, there's a suspense as the reader wants to find out the who, what, why and how of the Chronoliths, giant structures apparently coming from twenty years in the future, and supposedly commemorating the victories of an as-yet-unknown conqueror named Kuin. Yet the focus of the novel isn't on society at large, even though the apparent inevitability of the coming changes, and the city-destroying effects of many of the Chronoliths, cause considerable upheaval. Rather, these changes are reflected through the eyes of Scott Warden, a person who was a Thailand beach bum when the first one arrived nearby.

As such, this is not a sensa-wunder novel - though it does contain that - but one that relies on the strong portrayal of its characters. This is something often missing in the rush to ideas that the genre has so long been prone to, but this novel also manages not to fall into the opposite trap of forgetting to have a story worthy of the field. Instead, it manages both - story and characterisation. And happily, it's not the disaster novel it could also have been.

Tags: books, reviews

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