In this grandly scaled space opera from bestseller Williams (Hardwired), swashbuckling computer scientist Aristide explores pretechnological "pocket" universes in search of interesting "implied spaces," the unintended regions that come into existence between deliberately designed structures. Then he uncovers evidence of a dark collective that's kidnapping people and sending them to pockets where a virus co-opts their minds and turns them into willing spies and assassins. Evidence implicates one of the Eleven planet-sized quantum computers, somehow corrupted in spite of its "Asimovian safeguards." Armed with a wormhole-edged broadsword and accompanied by his sidekick, Bitsy, an avatar of one of the Eleven in the form of a talking cat, Aristide finds himself hunted, brainwashed, killed and resurrected more than once before he learns the truth. Williams tells the tale with enthusiasm and a crisp, dry wit well suited to this entertaining blend of high adventure, intrigue and postsingularity technology. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Implied Spacesby Walter Jon Williams
Aristide, a semi-retired computer scientist turned swordsman, is a scholar of the implied spaces, seeking meaning amid the accidents of architecture in a universe where reality itself has been sculpted and designed by superhuman machine intelligence. While exploring the pre-technological world Midgarth, one of four dozen pocket universes created within a series of
Aristide, a semi-retired computer scientist turned swordsman, is a scholar of the implied spaces, seeking meaning amid the accidents of architecture in a universe where reality itself has been sculpted and designed by superhuman machine intelligence. While exploring the pre-technological world Midgarth, one of four dozen pocket universes created within a series of vast, orbital matrioshka computer arrays, Aristide uncovers a fiendish plot threatening to set off a nightmare scenario, perhaps even bringing about the ultimate Existential Crisis: the end of civilization itself. Traveling the pocket universes with his wormhole-edged sword Tecmesssa in hand and talking cat Bitsy, avatar of the planet-sized computer Endora, at his side, Aristide must find a way to save the multiverse from subversion, sabotage, and certain destruction.
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In a distant future where artificial intelligences care for humans' needs and death is curable, computer scientist-turned-swordsman Aristide, along with his talking AI cat, Bitsy, explores the pocket universes created by machine intelligences, searching for the implied spaces-pieces of sculpted reality created out of necessity to support these worlds' architecture. On a primitive pocket world called Midgarth, he encounters evidence of a plot that could destroy civilization, and his travels suddenly take on a desperate importance. The versatile author of Voice of the Whirlwind and other hard sf and cyberpunk novels now uses the trappings of fantasy to explore some of science's most sophisticated ideas. Ever surprising, ever provocative, Williams's latest sf adventure belongs in most sf collections.
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Here Williams has written a beutiful homage to Zelazny, and nobody seems to recognize that fact. Both the expository style (No exposition to speak of) and the use of the name of one of Zelazny's most famous character (Francis Sandow of "the isle of death" and "To die in Italbar") referenced here as Franz Sandow, lead a dedicated reader towards Zelazny. It's a fun read, not the least for the plethora of society changing ideas, as well as the relationship between Aristide and Bitsy, the cat-shaped avatar of the an AI minds. Good Stuff.
Implied Spaces is an incredibly detailed voyage through a multi genre world, shot through with barbs at our own pop culture. It starts with Aristide, a man who comes off like the all knowing NPC at times, traveling through a desert world inhabited by trolls, ogres and other fantasy creatures. With his magic sword and his talking cat Aristide joins a motley crew turning against a large band of thieves and their blue skinned priest overlords who have been attacking caravans and plundering supplies for months. Did I mention that this is a science fiction novel? Aristide, it soon turns out, is overly knowledgeable because this fantasy world is actually a constructed world, part of a larger multi-cosim where humans have advanced to the point of being able to 'save' their personalities and memories, much like we save games on memory cards. The ability to reincarnate themselves into new, healthy and highly adapted bodies at will has lead to quite lengthy life spans. Complications arise when the strange blue priests in the world co-created by gamers and anachronists wield the same power as Aristide possesses in his sword, a curious ability to say the least. In fact, the ability leads directly to the more modern world, where Aristide and his allies discover that someone, or something has been funneling humans from the unwired worlds elsewhere and reprogramming them as mental slaves. Call them zombies or pod people, someone, or something is building an army. This barely scratches the surface though. Implies Spaces is packed with incredible amounts of detail. In the first few chapters the long description in nearly painful detail seems a little odd, but by the time the story stretches into an expansive multiverse the sheer amount of detail makes the story absolutely solid. Aristides himself is an interesting tool used to establish the limits of the world. Given his position as an aged, respected and highly intelligent member of society unlike many other books on the market Aristide doesn't have to figure out motives or plots, the reader eventually learns to trust his leaps of logic and suspicions as true. Of course, considering that A.I.s with brains the size of planets exist in these worlds Aristide's intelligence is quite challenged. The depth and detail of this book simply cannot be explained in a simple review. Expanding through both social and hard science fiction, as well as touching on mystery and fantasy, Implied Spaces is an impressive tale that's surprisingly human at its core.