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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Smashing Debut Novel
I've since read John Meaney's second novel, "Paradox," (set in this same universe, far in the future) and although he only gets better, both in terms of his storytelling and the dizzying reach of his ideas, this book remains a favorite. An intricate interwoven plot follows three fascinating, dissimilar characters as they collide with their various destinies, and...
Published on 5 Sep 2001

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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great tech, but where's the style?
I bought this book off the back of a review in SFX magazine which praised it as a real up-and-coming writer, but I have to say that I was woefully disappointed by it. Many have commented on the imagination present in the book, and it is true that the book has it in spades, and Mr. Meaney must be respected on that count.
But (and it's a big but), the book is...
Published on 30 Aug 2000


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Smashing Debut Novel, 5 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
I've since read John Meaney's second novel, "Paradox," (set in this same universe, far in the future) and although he only gets better, both in terms of his storytelling and the dizzying reach of his ideas, this book remains a favorite. An intricate interwoven plot follows three fascinating, dissimilar characters as they collide with their various destinies, and the writing itself is far superior to that found in most sf, always excepting those most skillful few in whose company Mr. Meaney now finds himself. I recommend it (and also "Paradox") highly, and I am on the edge of my seat awaiting another John Meaney novel.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great tech, but where's the style?, 30 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
I bought this book off the back of a review in SFX magazine which praised it as a real up-and-coming writer, but I have to say that I was woefully disappointed by it. Many have commented on the imagination present in the book, and it is true that the book has it in spades, and Mr. Meaney must be respected on that count.
But (and it's a big but), the book is absolutely awful on three counts:
1. Characters. The characters are paper think cardboard cut-out Japanese types, with all the standard names (Akira? Ken? Ryu? - Streetfighter 2 was a major inspiration source?) and the standard trappings of Western ideas of what the future Japanese would be like. The main protagonist is a samurai warrior woman, for example, lonely but noble on a quest. Nothing new there then. And the main antagonist is evil evil evil, right down to his cold black heart. There's no real insight into the characters' minds, just the things that they say to themselves. They also have very little by way of interesting dialogue. In what could have been a promising setup for the cyberpunk-style debate on the future, what we have instead is a poorly scripted action adventure. If this story had been in the hands of Iain Banks, for example, then you would have seen much more character depth.
2. Plot. The story is really really jaded. There's this bad guy character (Raphael), who has "vampire code" that basically lets him eat other people's brains. He's sort of a cartoonish American Psycho of the future, self indulgent, but one of those characters that thinks through his evils on the page so the reader can see them. In otherwords, he's irritating as hell to read.
Then there is the story of the samurai woman on the hunt for her missing son, Testuo (Kaneda. Akira!) and the two become entangled as the bad guy goes on the hunt for the good guy's brains. That's really all there is to it. It's the stuff of cheap comic books.
3. The writing. The thing that really annoyed me the most about this book is the writing. Where Meaney is at his strongest is when describing technology, but where he's at his weakest is more or less everywhere else. His dialogue is weak and uninteresting. He uses the word "rictus" far too much. His style is straight third person with character thoughts appearing in the "he thought, she thought" manner, and with everything being very obvious, very irritating as a result. There's no style to the text at all, which makes it very dull to read.
Frankly, I'm stunned that this book was shortlisted for a prize, because if it is the sort of book that receives high praise these days, then the world of sci-fi is in serious trouble - doomed to remain in the doldrums of funky technology and not really growing as a writing field. I can only hope that things get better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent post-cyberpunk SF, amazing stuff for a first novel, 24 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book immensely.
One of the nicest realizations of the cyberpunk/post cyberpunk genre I've come across, basically the story of an evil genius who goes around killing off the elite and doing very nasty things with their minds.
The balance was just right, with no theme overpowering any other. The tech was interesting, without getting annoying, as often happens in this kind of novel.
There are some extremely evocative pieces of haiku on the chapter headings that give the book a really interesting flavour.
The prose style was completely transparent, with no irritating writer-tricks to bring you back to reality. The dialogue was excellent, too. People spoke realistically, with contractions and the occasional "Err..."
The exposition was also nicely handled, simple direct explanations, with no irritating maid-to-butler sessions a la Stephen Baxter.
Reasons it lost the fifth crown:
A lot of this has already been done in 'Aristoi', by Walter Jon Williams
The plot was a little busy for my taste, two shades more contemplation and a few hard decision would mave made it almost perfect.
Also, the plot could have been a little more interwoven, I found the whole series of events just a little too simple. Of course, a sequel could build on this very nicely indeed...
All in all, I heartily recommend it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Boooooring., 20 Nov 2012
This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
Awful, awful awful.

Love sci fi, but not this. Weak characters, hackneyed plot and appalling prose. Need I say more?
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5.0 out of 5 stars The modern day Asimov, 13 Sep 2011
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Dung (Atherstone) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
Judging by the number of his books that are out of print (including this one), Meaney has not yet been recognised as (in my opinion) one of the greatest living Science Fiction writers. I consider myself truly lucky to have an untouched pristine and signed first edition of this book (I bought a cheap second hand version to actually read). I have been reading Sci-Fi for just under 50 years and have read books by most of the perceived greats. Witers from 50 years ago now seem dated but no author has made a greater impression on me since I read the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly ambitious, excellent first novel., 4 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
This is a very stylish, very ambitious novel of post-humans, similar to 'Aristoi' by Walter Jon Williams, but with a much darker, more obviously cyberpunk edge. David Langford's blurb above covers the storyline so I won't bother... It's well written, interesting, unusual and well plotted. Aside from a couple of too convenient plot points (and that's forgivable in a novel!) this is an excellent book. I'll be buying his next one in hardback.
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad attempt at a first novel, 12 July 2001
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This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
Well, what can I say. John, if you are reading this, then for a JAVA trainer, you make a pretty good sci-fi author. Or is it for a sci-fi author, you make a reasonable trainer!
For all others, this is an extremely well written book, that you can see has come from someone with a grounding in the IT industry. Excellent characters, despite what other reviews may say, and a plot that, whilst occasionally a bit predictable, managed to hold my interest right through to the end.
After reading To Hold Infinity, then you can be sure that I will purchase his other book(s) and am thoroughly looking forward to them.
Cheers John, and get writing that third book. We are waiting!
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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read!, 27 Nov 2000
This review is from: To Hold Infinity (Paperback)
A really fresh approach and enjoyable enough to read twice - I look forward to the next one!
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To Hold Infinity
To Hold Infinity by John Meaney (Hardcover - 5 Sep 2006)
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