Otherland 4: Sea Of Silver Light: Sea of Silver Light Bk. 4 Hardcover – 19 Apr 2001
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With Sea of Silver Light, Tad Williams completes his massive Otherland quartet, one of SF's more intriguing explorations of the eroding boundaries of the human and the non-human, the living and the dead. Otherland is a sequence that contains many secrets, and Williams plays fair by unpacking all of them in the final book. A group of adventurers, searching for a cure for comatose children, find themselves trapped in a sequence of virtual worlds, the only opponents of a conspiracy of the rich to live forever in a dream. Now, they are forced to make an uneasy alliance with their only surviving former enemy against his treacherous sidekick Johnny Wulgaru, a serial killer with a chance to play god forever.
Williams manages a vast cast of emotionally involving characters with considerable panache, but the real strength of the book is its endlessly questing intelligence; it is, among other things, an enquiry into the nature of story-telling as a way that human beings give structure to their perceptions of the universe around them. It is as story that Sea of Silver Light ultimately works so well--involving us in the gruelling descent of a vast mountain, the siege of an underground fortress, gun-battles in a nightmare Wild West. Williams never neglects to tell us how things feel. He efficiently ties up every plot strand and convincingly reveals every secret in this large complex plot. --Roz Kaveney
The breathtaking conclusion to one of the most exciting and imaginative SF/fantasy series of all time.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The answers are interlinked: it works, mostly, but it wavers severely, and mainly because of that overlong running time.
Things are spiralling out of control, both in the network and in the real world, and our various heroes and villains are fighting a losing battle against time, desperately trying to complete their tasks before everything ends...
...Or so we're told, repeatedly; but there's little sense of urgency communicated to the reader by chapter after chapter of characters slogging their way through a fading landscape. Much of this is little different from the episodic adventure/trudge of the previous two books. Sadly, the wonder evoked palls with each new virtual world (yes, yet more!), and you can't help but wonder why someone at the editing stage didn't whisper in Williams' ear about the law of diminishing returns. The prose is fluid and enjoyable enough - there's just far too much of it. Similar may be said of the characters; a third of them could be ditched without either the story or its themes suffering unduly. The exploration of the true nature of the Other is fascinating, but again, the same meditations could have been condensed without losing anything of value.
There is a huge and wonderful imagination at work here, and the near-future world Williams has created retains the power to enthral and amuse (the 'Netfeed' snippets at the top of each chapter remain one of the best bits of the book, especially the one for the final chapter).Read more ›
It has one of the best representations of a villain (Jongleur) I've seen in a science fiction book - believeable, understandable and completely loathsome, the kind of person you pray you'll never become. It has some very fine writing, including one particularly powerful scene that made me cry. And it continues its theme of 'if virtual life becomes indistinguishable from real life, how will we know what is real?'- to the point where some characters discover that they were searching for the unreal.
I would strongly advise that you read the other 3 volumes first, as this is really the last quarter of an extremely long (3000 page) novel, rather than part of a series. I would also say that this truly mammoth read is well worth it.
While by no means actively bad in itself, this book seems to have gone significantly astray from the foundation of that which went before, and the superb command of plot and character which characterised the earlier volumes simply isn't there any more in this one. The reader is given the very real feeling in some parts that the author himself has tired of the series (not unreasonable, given the seven yers elapsed from the beginning of the project), and simply wishes to get the book over with as soon as possible.
The denouments, when they come, of the mysteries which have been dogging our footsteps since the beginning, come across in the event as rushed and ill-planned, and some give the distinct impression of the author having changed his mind at the last minute.
I could go on, but that wouldn't really be the point. In itself, the book is fine; it sins only by omision, in failing to live up to its predecessors. Buy it, if only to find out the answers to your questions, but don't expect too much from the writing, and be prepared for disappointment.
From the moment you pick the book up, you are completely immersed. Tad Williams writes such complex stories that the denouement takes up at least 300 pages. Thats what's so addictive, you can feel the conclusion coming yet there's another few hundred pages to go.
When you finish any of Tad Williams' books, you have to come down again - the immersion is so complete. You almost start thinking as if you were one of the characters.
Juts one warning though - your arms will be aching by the time you've finished this!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favourite fantasy fiction series of all time. Weaves a total story with no flaws, I've re read this series more than once and know I'll go back to it again. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
From the beginning (book one) I was captivated by the diversity and scale of this story.
The characters and their alter-ego's are brilliant. Read more
"Sea of Silver Light" is just as riveting as the rest of the series! Tad Williams, as usual, demonstrates his mastery of the written word. Read morePublished on 7 Oct. 2013 by Tiki Kritzer Seger
Everything falls apart at the close of Mountain of Black Glass (Otherland #3), and now the unlikely heroes of the Otherland system are scattered far and wide in the heart of the... Read morePublished on 17 Aug. 2013 by Trish (I read too much!)
I liked the ending of this quartet - no hints given here. The books are incredibly long and you have to be patient and awake reader in order to keep things together while following... Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2005 by humanitysdarkerside
It's essential you read the first three books because the story is continuous. Tad Williams amazes you by his ability to bring together all the ingredients of the previous three... Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2003