Appleseed

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"No one knows more about science fiction than John Clute. He has proven that over and over as a prize-winning critic upholding the highest literary standards for the genre and as coeditor of (and major contributor to) The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, both of them winners of the Hugo Award. Now, at last, he proves it in the best way of all with a starburst of a first SF novel. He very definitely practices what he preaches with his unique combination of literary SF and space opera that applies high style to ...
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Overview

"No one knows more about science fiction than John Clute. He has proven that over and over as a prize-winning critic upholding the highest literary standards for the genre and as coeditor of (and major contributor to) The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, both of them winners of the Hugo Award. Now, at last, he proves it in the best way of all with a starburst of a first SF novel. He very definitely practices what he preaches with his unique combination of literary SF and space opera that applies high style to saving galactic civilization. And, yes, Johnny Appleseed makes an appearance." "It is the dawn of the fourth millennium, and for trader Nathaniel Freer it is business as usual. Tile Dance, his ship, is in the safe hands of KathKirtt, an AI with two minds, and a loyal krewe of cybernetic and android helpers. His latest commission - to deliver a shipment of nanoforges to the planet Eolhxir - is routine enough. All seems okeydokey." But it is not. A virulent data plague is infecting the local spiral arm of the galaxy all the way from Old Earth. Universal darkness threatens the vast concord of living civilizations. And a trap has been laid that will draw Freer and his lover, Ferocity Monthly-Niece, into an eons-old conflict. His new contract is, in fact, far from routine, and Eolhxir holds the key to everything.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rarely has there been a space opera with such zeal for language, such a concatenation of ideas archaic and intergalactic and such irreverent reveling in humanity's stinky, steamy, singular sexuality. From the author's notes, which include a definition of the archaic mappemonde, to the novel's final sentence ("The War Against God dates from this moment"), Clute keeps the verbal pyrotechnics bright and the ideas flowing. Nathanael "Stinky" Freer captains his ship, the Tile Dance, through space with the aid of a conjoined AI. He spends his time making lucrative deliveries, learning stories that his ship's many faces act out for him, trying to avoid plaque (the darkness that's left when God eats the universe) and missing his deceased lady love, Ferocity Monthly-Niece. On a seemingly routine mercantile contract to the planet Trencher, he's nearly killed by the rampaging, cannibalistic, self-devouring alien, Opsophagos. On returning to his ship, Stinky discovers that he's somehow acquired two new AIs and that he has a stowaway: a topiary parthogenete, Mamselle Cunning Earth Link, who holds the key to the location of the planet where there are plaque-eating lenses. Opsophagos remains in hot pursuit as Stinky meets the mythic Johnny Appleseed, rediscovers his lady love and has a sexual encounter that just might save the universe. Clute (The Disinheriting Party) has produced a space opera that, though short on characterization, is brimful of both a love of language and the tropes of science fiction. (Feb. 1) Forecast: Best known for his SF criticism and co-authorship of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Clute is well placed within the field to ensure that this first novel gets plenty of attention. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Best known as the co-editor of The Science Fiction Encyclopedia, John Clute creates a literary triumph with this futuristic tale. Weaving allusions to other SF works throughout his creation, Clute provides a masterful setting sure to please die-hard readers of classic SF. Nathanael Freer is a trader hired to travel to the planet Eolhxir to deliver industrial nanoforges. On his ship Tile Dance, with the help of his AI companions, Freer travels to Trencher where the problems begin. Disruptions in data start to occur, a "data plague" begins to threaten the galaxy, and the lethal Opsophagos of the Harpe seems to be on his trail. Through the course of the novel, Freer discovers that Tile Dance has a crucial role to play in the universe and in his destiny, aiding in awakening Minds that will change Freer's reality forever. Named a New York Times Notable Book, this novel proves Clute adept at creating a high-tech world rich with artificial intelligence and philosophical underpinnings. The complex language instills a focus on Clute's use of words to highly involve the reader in Freer's world. The presence of "Uncle Sam" and "Johnny Appleseed" add character to the novel and enrich as well as contradict the humanity found within. Although a glossary at the outset would be helpful for the general reader, acknowledgements at the end of the novel list some of the sources of Clute's "borrowings" from other works. The complexity of the language, the numerous sexual references, and the use of so many allusions make this tale most palatable for the adult SF aficionado and the reader looking for a challenging and rewarding work. KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2001, Tor,337p.,
— Ginger Armstrong
Library Journal
Trader Nathaniel Freer and his space vessel Tile Dancer take a commission to deliver a shipment of nanoforges to a distant planet, only to discover that a data plague is threatening the galaxy, corrupting information and destroying sentient life both natural and artificial. When he encounters an enigmatic figure known as Johnny Appleseed, he becomes involved in an ancient and inevitable war. The author of The Book of End Times populates his latest novel with a host of characters humans, androids, and artificial intelligences as varied as their forms and motivations. Clute's prose blends hard sf with space opera in a kaleidoscopic adventure suitable for large sf collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First science fiction from the noted essayist and encyclopedist. In the far future, data plaque, a virulent plague that produces information seizure, threatens the galaxy. Interstellar trader Nathaniel "Stinky" Freer, whose ship Tile Dance is run by a quantum Made Mind called Kirtt, arrives at planet Trencher to take aboard a cargo of nanoforges destined for planet Eolhxir. He also ordered a new battle Mind, but instead got two, both testing loyal; one, Uncle Sam, has lain dormant for 1,000 years. Meanwhile, Insort Geront, one of the Care Consortia (they run generation arks, "rest homes in space," wherein humans can spin out their lives linked to computers) prepares to launch the War of the Lens. Led by Opsophagous of the voracious Harpe Kith, Insort Geront employ computer chips, which actually cause plaque. Lenses from Eolhxir can burn away plaque. Freer takes an Eolhxir native, Cunning Earth Link aboard; she has four breasts, a retractable head, and a lens-which Opsophagous detects. Tile Dance barely escapes Insort Geront's attack on Trencher, but soon, badly damaged and surrounded by hostile arks, has no choice but to head for Station Klavier-where, among other things, they'll meet Johnny Appleseed. (Don't ask.) Stir in tons of explication and lashings of weird sex. Set it down in prose that frequently stretches credulity into unintelligibility ("The theophrasts of the inner stars designate the masking of a Made Mind as a form of kenosis-the ultimately fatal incarnation of the divine into the progeria of mortal flesh").
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765303783
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/5/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 338
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

John Clute, winner of the Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to SF and fantasy scholarship, was born in Toronto, Ontario, and for many years has lived in London, England.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong futuristic tale

    At the beginning of the fourth millennium galaxy trader Nathaniel Freer owns the space ship Tile Dance piloted by artificial intelligence KathKirtt, an essence with two brains. The crew consists of androids and cybernetic beings. On a routine run, the Tile Dance heads to Trencher to pick up cargo that they will next deliver to another planet Eolhxir. <P>At about the same time, a plague threatens to destroy computer data. The dangerous impact includes those aging humans that reside in outer space rest homes run by companies like Insort Geront, the firm producing the computer chips that causes the plague. Only lenses from Eolhxir can destroy the plague. Freer takes on board ship an Eolhxir native with a lens. Now the Insort Geront targets Freer and company for eradication so that their master plan to control a galaxy can go on unimpeded. Fleeing for his life, Freer meets Johnny Appleseed and others who join with him to stop this nefarious plot from succeeding. <P> John Clute destroys the myth that them that can¿t write write reference books. The award winning encyclopedist provides science fiction fans with a strong futuristic tale that never slows down as the audience goes for a hyperspeed journey into various elements of the genre. Nathaniel is a wonderful lead character who wants only to earn a living picking up and delivering cargo and women, but now deals with the galaxy wide conspiracy that has him trapped in the middle. APPLESEED stretches credibility at times, but then again that is the essence of science fiction, as Mr. Clute would know from his encyclopedia days. <P>Harriet Klausner

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