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To Hold Infinity Paperback – 2 Apr 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 529 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group) (2 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553505882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553505887
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 738,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

John Meaney's short stories in Interzone magazine gave him a reputation in SF circles for being highly promising. The promise is fulfilled in his debut novel To Hold Infinity, which has all the authentic flash and dazzle of cutting-edge SF. It's set on a colony world whose aristocracy of "Luculenti" are genuinely superior to the common herd, thanks to built-in brain enhancements which provide all-senses net communication and multi- tasking processing power. The implications are nicely explored, with characters manipulating the market and buying/selling companies during fleeting pauses in conversation. An utterly hissable serial-killer villain exploits fellow-Luculenti's permanent Net links to assimilate their minds using vampire software and steal their add-ons for himself--his mind is multiplied by hundreds of these "extra brains", while the legal limit is three. Others sense that something's wrong, and tough heroine Sunadomari Yoshiko from primitive old Earth becomes entangled in the invisible, multi-levelled struggle for people's souls. When the now megalomaniac killer goes too far in public, the hunt is on and Yoshiko will be the bait ... The book glows with biological and nanotechnological wonders, strange weapons and surprising perspectives. It is deservedly shortlisted for the 1999 British SF Association Award. --David Langford

From the Back Cover

Devastated by her husband's death, Earth-based biologist Yoshiko Sunadomari journeys to the paradise world of Fulgar to see her estranged son in the hope of bridging the gulf between them.

But Tetsuo is in trouble. His expertise in mu-space tech and family links with the mysterious Pilots have ensured his survival. So far. Now he's in way over his head - unwittingly caught up in a conspiracy of illegal tech-trafficking and corruption, and in the sinister machinations of one of Fulgar's ruling elite: the charismatic Luculentus, Rafael Garcia de la Vega. When his home is attacked, Tetsuo flees to the planet's unterraformed wastes, home to society's outcasts and eco-terrorists.

So Yoshiko arrives on Fulgar to discover Tetsuo gone...and wanted for murder. Ill at ease in this strange, stratified new world seething with social and political unrest but desperate to find her son and clear his name, she embarks on a course of action that will bring her face to face with the awesome, malevolent mind of Rafael...

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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!
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By A Customer on 5 Sept. 2001
Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The "sense of wonder" is often invoked as a special benefit of science fiction. Too often this can mean huge machines and vast distances with little humanity to play out against them. This book is about realistic people, even though they live in a strange world and in some cases have strange powers. There is a villain, who must be stopped and caught, but he isn't a cardboard psychopath who just lives to hurt people: he has a believable purpose and modus operandi. In the end Meaney does arrange for him to be stopped, and very elegantly: his greatest strength turns out to be his greatest weakness. I hope the author can produce other books of this calibre.
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
I read this because I had met John Meaney at the 2014 Eastercon in Glasgow where he was Guest of Honour and liked his personal style. I have put off actually getting a copy of one of his books because I didn't want to be disappointed in books which may not measure up to the man. In fact this is a excellent first novel which goes into detail (in some minor places perhaps too much) of what trans-humanism may be like and how it would impact against the existing base humans in a transhuman lead society. There is an interesting mix of nano technology and bio-tech with some brain programming thrown in throughout. It has a hunt for a lost son, a voyage of discovery (for both main characters) a serial killer, interesting side and supporting characters, all of who are filled out and none are ciphers. In fact you could even say that there were a voyage of discoveries for the main, fairly elderly, very strong and capable female lead who also manages to show how vulnerable people can be which confronted with unexpected events (such as a mugging). I felt that it moved a bit into fantasy towards the end of the book which took the edge off of the hard tech novel for me, but that's probably just me. I recommend it and I will be reading his later novels soon.
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