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The Golden Age (Golden Age (Tor Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – 24 Apr 2003

9 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 24 Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; New edition edition (24 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812579844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812579840
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,434,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Wright may be this fledgling century's most important new SF talent. . . . a rare and mind-blowing treat." -"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) ""The Golden Age" offers an intriguing and stunning look at future society - and its problems."--L. E. Modesitt, Jr. "Think Coleridge and Xanadu -- except this is no fragment, but a beautifully realized, sprawling space epic of an evolved humanized solar system teeming with artificial intelligences and life-forms. Wright wields a poetic vision that is at once intimate and intricate yet vast and dazzling." - Paul Levinson, author of "The Consciousness Plague"

About the Author

John C. Wright, a journalist and a lawyer turned SF and fantasy writer, lives with his wife and son in Centreville, Virginia.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
On the hundred-and-first night of the Millennial Celebration, Phaethon walked away from the lights and music, movement and gaiety of the golden palace-city, and out into the solitude of the groves and gardens beyond. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Claus Bornich on 8 Nov. 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
(There should be no spoilers here. Most of the information revealed is presented in the first few pages of the book)
It is the time of the masquerade hosted this time by the electrophotonic self-aware entity Aurelian. A sophotech of the Golden Oecumene. All posthumans and nonhumans of the Golden Oecumene have come to participate. Actual, fictional, composition-assisted reconstructions, extrapolated demigoddesses from imagined superhuman futures, lamia from unrealized alternatives and on the active channels of the mentality, recidivists returned from high transhuman states of mind.
The Golden Age is full of ideas, mythological references and wondrous sights and scenes. In fact so much it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. Especially the first part of the book can seem daunting but the pages turn faster and faster until it becomes impossible to stop. The story is about Phaethon Prime Rhadamanth Humodified (augment) Uncomposed, Indepconciousness, Base Neuroformed, Silver-Gray Manorial Schola, Era 7043 (the “Reawakening”) and a great mystery about his past that he cannot remember.
An absorbing tale is told of Phaethon’s one man struggle against society, posing interesting philosophical and moral questions. Although over dramatized at times it is an intelligent and beautiful look at a possible future of technological utopia. Foremost though it is a story about Phaethon.
I can’t wait to read the second part and then to read it all a second time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Incandescent on 9 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Golden Age is one of my favourite books of all time, along with its two sequels.

It's set in the distant future, after not one singularity, but several. Wright works very hard to try to imagine and describe what such a world would be like, which is a tall order as it would be incomprehensible to pre-singularity humans like ourselves. The most important difference though, is that human consciousness is now completely understood by science and can easily be copied, moved, transplanted, expanded or transmitted. People are no longer prisoners in their bodies.

The consequences and possibiities of this are gradually revealed throughout the Golden Age and its sequels as the main character, Phaethon (a shorthand form of his full name Phaethon Prime Rhadamanth Humodified (augment) Uncomposed, Indepconsciousness, Base Neuroformed, Silver-Gray Manorial Schola, Era 7043) quests to find out why part of his mind and his memory have gone missing.

A cracking story. A wonderful exploration of what-if ideas in the grand tradition of classic science fiction. And a rather odd main character who I became very fond of.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are three volumes, of which this is the first, but this is one long novel. I found it to be money and time well spent.

This is a far future tale set in what is almost a post-scarcity economy: humans have immortality thanks to mind recording; vast energy and computational resources; can tailor their sensory experiences however they wish; and can choose between living in their own invented universes, the real world, or anything in between. But the laws of economics still apply: the author realises that there is still scarcity of human effort and attention. Phaethon, the protagonist, is attempting to achieve “deeds of renown, without peer”, and it is a struggle.

There is artificial intelligence, the most advanced of which are self-aware computers called Sophotechs who have intelligence vastly superior to humans, and it is possible to argue that the existence of these would make humans redundant. But the novel constructs some clever economics that avoid this problem and give meaning to people's lives. It also constructs some unique and fascinating solutions to the problem of policing such a free society, and these solutions drive the plot along in a self-consistent way.

Instead of uniformity or warring factions, Mr. Wright has constructed a society where multiple alternate lifestyles exist in harmony, giving us a colourful and interesting world. Modification of one’s own memories is common practice, and this device is used to add intrigue. How does one tell what is real when one’s perceptions and memories may be altered? The answer is that since reality is objective, it is a matter of looking at the evidence and using reason. This is a work of rationalist fiction. There are no red-herrings.
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Format: Hardcover
3.5 Stars

John C. Wright is one of the big names in Singularity Sci-Fi, which is a topic of great interest to me. His The Golden Age series has met with a tremendous amount of critical acclaim. Hence, purchasing it was a bit of a no brainer.

For the most part, I found the novel tremendous exercise for the mind and would agree that this is quality “brain food.” The extrapolation from today’s trends with technology, the internet, video gaming, and so on seemed spot on. It’s a world for cybergeeks, no doubt about it.
But for the rest of us, not looking to lose our humanity along the way, I must say I found this future world rather cold and off-putting. And while you’ll find The Golden Age classified as one of the few examples of positive sci-fi, for me this was a dystopia as real as any I’d just as soon avoid. That may be all the more reason for readers who enjoy this sort of thing to jump in. But I found in between struggling to figure out what was going on, and trying to connect to the people, places, and things, I just wasn’t having that much fun. Which is why I went with the 3.5 stars. All the same, for any hard sci-fi fan, any Singularity fan, and anyone looking to author some books in these areas, this remains required reading.
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