on 17 September 2006
McCarthy's sequel to `The Collapsium' is somewhat disappointing since it lacks some of the wit and panache of its gloriously original predecessor.
Set some years after the events of `The Collapsium', `The Wellstone' explores some of the more unexpected ramifications of a society where immortality has become the norm.
The Queen of Sol and her consort Bruno, now have a son; Bascal Edward de Towaji Lutui, a rebellious youth (and talented poet) who has, with some dismay, foreseen his destiny of being forever a Prince and never ascending to the throne.
Tired of his parents' dismissal of his concerns as childish whining, he incites rebellion amongst the disaffected youth. Having subsequently been confined to an artificial planette (an asteroid-sized world endowed with standard Earth gravity and an atmosphere through a process best explained by the author within the original text) with his entourage of supporters and sycophants, he manages to cobble together a spaceship and escape.
The science is just as stunningly inventive as in the previous novel, but the novel suffers in that one can never really feel any empathy for the Prince. One feels he should be, if not a loveable rogue, then a likeable maniac, but his charms remained somewhere off the page.
Also, by concentrating solely on the Prince's escape and eventual capture it severely reduces the plot to a linear exercise, as compared to `The Collapsium' which contained multiple diversions, revelations and surprises.
However, McCarthy is such a good writer that this is still an eminently readable and polished piece of work. One wonders if there is a veiled comparison to the current British Monarch and her King-in-waiting. It would be nice to think so, but I can't really see Prince Charles inciting a youth rebellion and heading off across Middle England on a hijacked bus, although I would be vastly impressed if he did.
on 27 March 2006
A wonderful story coupled with truly wonderful ideas and their consequences on a familar society. This book is hard science fiction but this time McCarthy has done it magnificently, with the science in concise and fascinating batches that could appeal to anyone, and large stretches of riveting plot to keep you engaged.
I love hard-sci-fi, and for a change so did my Girlfriend! Buy this book and lend it to all your friends, they'll thank you for sure!
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2003
I really liked THE COLLAPSIUM, but this sequel is even more fun and leaves me hoping for more. The ending is open enough for another sequel.
While THE COLLAPSIUM had a "Tom Swift" type quality, this one is a boy's adventure story retold for adults. While satirically light hearted, it does have a disturbing underlying theme reminding me of THE LORD OF THE FLIES.
This adventure is quite independent of THE COLLAPSIUM and just as enjoyable whether or not you've read the earlier book.
The conflict between the main two characters fuels the book. Like THE COLLAPSIUM, the themes of immortality and of cloning duplicate selves are thoroughly examined, especially in light of the psychological effect on human nature. This time, it's the effect on young people being raised with expectations of immortality that's spotlighted.
Highly recommended to all science-fiction fans, and to those periphally interested in the genre.