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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Captivating ideas, prose and pace... which falls apart by the second sentance., 24 July 2008
This review is from: The Golden Age (Golden Age (Tor Paperback)) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you are considering buying this book, BROWSE THE SAMPLE PAGES and don't just rely on the glowing editorial books. You'll either love (as most do) this book or hate it and consider it a complete waste of time (as I did).

Wright cloaks his story behind long strings of almost meaningless words. "Noumeal" instead of "mental", for example. On top of this, the Author is Overly Fond of Using Capitals, which Lends a Presumptuous Air to his Work. This gets Very Irritiating, Very Quickly. As does his insistence on using very big numbers to lend a sense of grandiosity to the story. Using big numbers was impressive in the days of Doc E. E. Smith and the Galactic Lensmen. Nowdays it is just looks silly.

Some of the ideas in the book are interesting, perhaps even original. However, they are inconsistently mixed in with anachronisms that make no sense in a futuristic context. For example:

- Why does a society that is set in at least 5000AD (the protagonist is 3000 years old) still use the British legal system ? There is a court scene replete with barristers and case references. Surely any SF author worth his salt would not think that English case law is not the ultimate evolution in human legal history?

- Why are there still fashions based on geography (eg European clothing fashion) when most of the story is based in a virtual world and independent of location?

- Why does time move *faster* in the real world than the virtual? The main character decides to take a break from the virtual, and does so by unplugging. He has time to walk around before returing, to find that all the independent entities in the virtual world was exactly as he left them. If anything, the virutal world should move faster than the real world (due to processing power) and independent entities should not be "frozen" every time someone unplugs.

Perhaps answers to these questions appear later in the book. I could only read a third of it before giving up- I simply fould the inconsistencies and the prose too painful wade through to find out. Nor am I by any means an overly picky reader- I am a voracious consumer of science fiction, and revel in anything from grand (Ian M. Banks, Peter Hamilton) to classic (Asimov) to cheesy space opera (McMaster Bujold) to boys-own-adventure (Timothy Zahn).

This was in all seriousness the worst-written book I'd tried to read for years.
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Initial post: 11 Jul 2013 11:10:51 BDT
R. Fisher says:
* There is a court scene because despite being so far in the future the novel is still about humans, and they still have disputes, which (this being a non-violent society) are solved with debate. It is not out of place for the setting of the novel.

* "European" fashion is clearly a typographical error. In a preceding paragraph the author is talking about the people of the Jupiter moon Europa. It should read "Europan".

* Time does not move faster in the virtual world. This is a reading comprehension failure on your part. In that scene the protagonists asks to "freeze the scene". The other participants in the conversation agree. Later it is even described what they were off doing while the scene was frozen. The author is well aware of the possible effects of different experiences of time by different people. For example, in a later scene one character breaks social convention by using his wealth of processing power speed up his thinking and sees everyone else moving slowly. There is no silly mistake here.

The author has built a consistent world that follows known laws of physics and economics, as far as I can tell. For sure the writing style might not be to everyone's taste but the specific criticisms here are erroneous.
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