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The Chronoliths Paperback – 1 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765325284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765325280
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.2 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"In his quiet way, Robert Charles Wilson has produced one of the most impressive bodies of work in contemporary science fiction . . . The Chronoliths stands with his best."--"The New York Times" "Superb."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Charles Wilson was born in California and grew up in Canada. He is the author of many acclaimed SF novels, including "A Hidden Place, The Divide, Gypsies, Bios, Darwinia, "and "The Chronoliths." His work has won the John W. Campbell Award, the Aurora Award, and two Philip K. Dick Awards. He lives near Toronto. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MD Healey on 23 Mar. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have come to The Chronolits with huge expectations: it's been hailed as a masterpiece of modern sci-fi, mentioned by Time magazine as the notable book of the year, and so on.

And yet (or perhaps because of those expectations), the book has been a he anti-climax for me.

There is nothing wrong with it as such: in fact both the science element in the science-fiction and the speculative element in the speculative fiction is developed brilliantly.

The idea that time travel of sorts (i.e. sending objects from the future into the past) can be used to influence the events between the sending and the appearance of the object is an eminently original take on time travel and explores philosophical implications of knowledge about future inevitabilities.

The world building, although subtle and without much exposition, is very skilfully and the mood of millennial gloom and millennial madness is brilliantly caught.

So why am I giving this, clearly above-average book, only the average number of stars?

Wilson has been praised for character development, and I think the main character is exactly where the problem for me lies with Chronoliths: it seems to me that the author aimed for an Everyman figure caught in the vortex of non-causal inevitability.

This worked, but in addition to that, for some reason the main character and the narrator is rather inexplicably (or was I too thick to understand the subtleties) guilt ridden, miserable and depressingly depressive.

He feels guilty for the failure of his marriage (even though it was his wife who left him and divorced for an event he had absolutely no responsibility for).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been working hard to read a lot of the ARC's I received at Book Expo America and have read and reviewed three. But on a recent trip, I finished one and had only my trusty backup emergency paperback in my bag. It was The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson, recommended to me by my friend Christopher (who also turned me on to Illium).

Christopher is 2 for 2; I could not put this book down. And he made me use the Internet to connect the dots of my long ago Physics degree and go back and refresh my old brain on manifolds and their relationship to quantum mechanics (yeah, I know...geek boy).

The Chronoliths tells of massive monuments that spring up instantaneously, the first one in Thailand, observed by our main character Scott. All of them have inscriptions of a battle won some twenty years in the future by a warlord named Kuin. Another springs up in the middle of Bangkok, causing devastation. The monuments are named Chronoliths, and begin showing up all over Asia, apparently foretelling the path of conquest of this future warlord.

The science is, of course, how can these monoliths be sent twenty years back in time, and how to stop them. Because as they appear with alarming regularity, mankind begins to believe that there is no way to stop them and society sees itself as doomed. A former college professor of Scott's, Sue Chopra, believes she can first predict and then stop the Chronolith's from forming, with some string theory / M-theory constructs:

I did not then and I do not now understand the physics of the Chronoliths, except in the pop-science sense.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having thoroughly enjoyed `Spin', I was keen to read more of Wilson's work. However, perhaps my expectations were too high. Like `Spin', the narrative is primarily character based with the science fiction providing the plot lines; this is a good thing and made for a readable tale. The apocalyptic, gloomy atmosphere is superbly handled, but the tau-thingy science lost me, I couldn't really see the purpose of the Chronoliths in the first place (why would a future warlord bother to send monuments back in time?) and the ending was a rushed & baffling damp squib (reading the last couple of chapters twice didn't help at all). Perhaps I am being a little harsh and maybe I missed the point as, on reflection, the post-non-war recovery and the application of the tau-thingy stuff to star travel is a reaffirmation of the old ` it's an ill wind...blah...blah' adage. I definitely like Wilson's style, however, so I've just ordered `Blind Lake'. Watch this space...
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