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Count to a Trillion Hardcover – 13 Jan 2012

8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: TOR (13 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765329271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765329271
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.3 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,089,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"It's a pity the word 'awesome' has been misused to the point of meaninglessness: it would once have been an ideal description of "Count To A Trillion." Instead, I'll say that the novel came perilously close to overloading my capacity for wonder, burning out all my 'gosh' circuits--and Ive been reading science fiction assiduously since 1954. Mr. Wright is a major figure in the recent renaissance of space opera, the kind of writer who is equally at home with hard science and poetry, the kind you read slowly and carefully, and very happily. Count to a trillion, as slow as you like: you'll be done long before you forget this story, or its Texan gunfighter hero, a child-abuse survivor yearning with all his heart for a cartoon future of hope called The Asymptote." --Spider Robinson, author of "Very Hard Choices""Spectacularly clever... in weaving together cutting edge speculation along the outer fringes of science. Highly impressive."--"Kirkus" "R.A.Lafferty meets A.E.VanVogt in a cakewalk through a future full of anti-matter, alien artifacts, transhumans, an Iron Ghost, a Texas gunfighter, and a Space Princess. Well worth the price of admission." --Michael Flynn"Wright is at his best.... Appealing to readers interested in glimpses of the unfathomable immensities of our universe." "--Publisher's Weekly" "An awe-inspiring book, brave and full of wonder. Count to a Trillion pokes grand fun of humanity and post-humanity alike."--Brenda Cooper, author of "Reading the Wind" "An elegant stylist and a true visionary, Wright will delight hard sf fans with his exuberance, while his characters and plot keep the action fast and furious." --"Library Journal""This is much more than a space opera, and fills your mind with intriguing, startling possibilities. John Wright's novel is bursting with ideas, blending mythology, machine and human evolution, mathematics, space travel, and much more. The hero, Montrose, is caught in the crosshairs of deadly, highly unusual foes--and his fate could very well determine the fate of everyone on Earth. Ultimately this is about human survival and potential, the future of mankind across a trillion star systems." --Brian Herbert""

About the Author

JOHN C. WRIGHT lives in Centreville, Virginia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Seel VINE VOICE on 19 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John C. Wright's new novel is a space opera set in the 2240s, featuring a dystopian future Earth and an antimatter star 50 light years away. The automated starship which visited found a strange, partially-decipherable monolith and potential free-energy for the entire planet for hundreds of years if the AM could be mined.

The hero of the tale is Menelaus Illation Montrose, a gun-slinging attorney in the backwater which is future Texas, after the global biowar. Montrose is a math genius who takes an experimental IQ-enhancing nanoware potion as he joins the first manned expedition, an act which scrambles his mind for the duration of the mission. Most of the tale is set after the starship returns with its antimatter cargo: devastating consequences follow.

This is a strange book to read, bringing to mind all those criticisms that SF is all head and no heart. Wright is widely read and intelligent and deploys legions of physics buzz words (Lie Groups, Grassman algebra, Hilbert spaces) to convey super-intelligence. The plot is complex and time-shifts around.

The problem, as usual, is with characterisation. The personalities of the main characters and their motivations don't really invite empathy or identification - sometimes even comprehension. All the characters are constructs, well-made and complex to be sure, but not real enough to engage and involve. In the end this is a clever intellectual exercise but still cold and people-by-numbers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gibbs on 30 Oct. 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As usual with JCW, the book is full of interesting ideas, mostly drawn from political theory (and especially game theory), applied to the problem of hierarchies of power and intelligence in a galaxy-wide civilization (which his protagonists are just discovering) constrained by light-speed, rather than relying on magical wormholes and the like. That last constraint is becoming popular in modern sf (see also Greg Egan, Alastair Reynolds)and does have the proper mind-boggling effect. The problem, as other reviewers have said, is that the protagonists either have no character at all or characters that arouse no sympathy, interest or belief. It becomes a chore to slog through the foul language and fouler actions of his hero, the post-apocalyptic Texan gunslinger turned mathematical genius, just to enjoy the political theory. And that theory, though engaging, is also very implausible!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mark A. Laborda on 4 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I quite enjoyed this book, it has unusual plot themes which makes it interesting but some passages get a bit wearing and I wished he would get on with the plot. Some parts I thought he tried too hard to be plausibly technical and I speed read some of these parts. The 'enemy' were a bit vague too, not actually coming for another 8 thousand years and right at the end it was revealed that there are actually 3 levels of 'enemy' each one vaguer than the rest. I will probably get the sequel but only out of curiosity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mcdowella on 15 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an old-fashioned SF novel of ideas, where the ideas and the world-building are the focus of the story, not the plot or even the characters. I think the central idea is in the title - "A man might not have the patience to count to a trillion, but the number is real whether he counts it or not". Similarly, the far future is real whether you consider it or not - and a civilization which travels between stars slower than light will be planning journeys that could take tens of thousands of years - what changes might the Earth see in even a fraction of that time, or prompted by the results of those journeys? How could a civilization arrange for bargains made over that period of time to be kept? There's a lot of mathematical name-dropping, which I find slightly suspect because of an argument for the existence of fundamentally alien logics with which I disagree, but the author does succeed in asking questions and making you think about ideas.
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