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Centuries of self-imposed isolation have transformed Nulapeiron into a world unlike any other - a world of vast subterranean cities maintained by extraordinary organic technologies. For the majority of its peoples, however such wonders have little meaning. Denied their democratic rights and restricted to the impoverished lower levels, they are subjected to the brutal law of the Logic Lords and the Oracles, supra-human beings whose ability to ...

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Centuries of self-imposed isolation have transformed Nulapeiron into a world unlike any other - a world of vast subterranean cities maintained by extraordinary organic technologies. For the majority of its peoples, however such wonders have little meaning. Denied their democratic rights and restricted to the impoverished lower levels, they are subjected to the brutal law of the Logic Lords and the Oracles, supra-human beings whose ability to truecast the future maintains the status quo.

But all this is about to change.

In a crowded marketplace a mysterious, beautiful woman is brutally cut down by a militia squad's graser fire. Amongst the horrified onlookers is young Tom Corcorigan. He recognizes her. Only the previous day she had presented him with a small, seemingly insignificant info-crystal. And only now, as the fire in the dying stranger's obsidian eyes fades, does he comprehend who - or what - she really was: a figure from legend, one of the fabled Pilots.

What Tom has still to discover is that his crystal holds the key to understanding mu-space, and so to freedom itself. He doesn't know it yet, but he has been given a destiny to fulfill - nothing less than the rewriting of his future, and that of his world...

Spectacularly staged, thrillingly written and set in a visionary future, Paradox places John Meaney at the forefront of science fiction in this new century.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Paradox, the first installment of British author John Meaney's Nulapeiron Sequence trilogy, is a cerebral science fiction thriller of the highest order. In a subterranean world where an elite few rule over an oppressed and often brutalized populace, can one impoverished young man topple the entire system -- and attain revenge -- with just his intellect?

When Tom Corcorigan, a resident of one of the lower (and poorer) underground strata of the planet Nulapeiron, is given a strange data-crystal by a mysterious woman with obsidian eyes, his purposeless existence is forever changed. The woman turns out to be a Pilot, one of the legendary navigators of the mu-space pathways between worlds, and her few words to Tom are as understated as they are prophetic: "Life is a mortal pilgrimage, my friend." When his mother is abducted shortly thereafter by an all-powerful Oracle (whose ability to truecast the future has kept the status quo for centuries) and his father is killed, Tom sets out on an improbable quest to somehow murder a man who knows the future.

A substantial novel in every sense of the word, Paradox incorporates numerous scientific disciplines and concepts (quantum chaos theory, fractal calculus, organic technology, etc.), profound existential analysis, various martial arts philosophies, and even the timeless insights of Sun Tzu. Published in England in 2000 and shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association's Best Novel Award, Paradox had to wait five years for its U.S. release. Why did it take so long for American publishers to discover the man that Robert J. Sawyer calls "one of the most original voices, and most insightful thinkers, the genre has ever produced"? The book's title is self-explanatory. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
In British author Meaney's impressive second SF novel (after To Hold Infinity), the first of a trilogy, young Tom Corcorigan, born poor on the corrupt far-future world of Nulapeiron, receives a dangerous data-crystal from a doomed Pilot, one of the legendary travelers who can traverse the "mu-space" between planets. The crystal slowly teaches Tom how to negotiate complex algorithms of time and mu-space. When an Oracle (a member of Nulapeiron's ruling elite) capriciously deprives Tom of his mother, he finds solace in the crystal, which reveals the Pilots' secrets through episodic tales of old Earth. In his quest for vengeance against the Oracles, Tom survives many horrific rites of passage, including the loss of an arm. Tom not only becomes capable of manipulating perceptions of time but also helps unleash a revolution that unbalances the status quo on Nulapeiron. Intriguing ruminations on the nature of time mesh well with Meaney's fine plotting and his excellent world building. Agent, John Parker at MBA Literary Agents. (Mar. 8) FYI: This book was shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel in 2001. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The first installment in a thoughtful, intricate far-future trilogy from British author Meaney (Paradox first appeared in 2000 in the UK). Planet Nulapeiron consists of a single vast, multitiered city dug-though it's not clear why-deep into the crust. Lords and Ladies rule, assisted by Oracles, barely human creatures whose consciousness exists simultaneously in both past and future; they can predict disasters that they're unable or unwilling to avert. Young Tom Corcorigan lives on a low level with his craftsman father, Davraig, and beautiful, drug-addicted, dancer mother, Ranvera. While prowling the depths, Tom encounters a beautiful Pilot, one of a legendary group who travel to the stars via the fractal-dimension of mu-space. This Pilot, who likes Tom's poetry, gives the boy a powerful crystal data-module before dying at the hands of the local militia. In secret, Tom activates the module: it tells him the story, 1,300 years in the past, of Pilot Kathy McNamara and her efforts to rescue her lover, Pilot Dart Mulligan, who becomes lost in mu-space. An Oracle, meanwhile, beguiles Tom's mother and takes her away-after predicting that his father will die within 50 days. When Davraig dies, on schedule, Tom enters school-but soon, tricked into appearing to be a thief by his schoolmates, he's sold to Lady Darinia as a servitor-after losing an arm as punishment. Sustained by his hatred and thirst for revenge, Tom trains his mind and his body, rises rapidly through the ranks, and eventually becomes a Lord himself. Only one problem remains: how might he kill a being that knows the future? While making no claims to originality: fast-moving, distinctive, and sometimes spectacular.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591024972
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/26/2006
  • Series: Nulapeiron Sequence Series
  • Pages: 495
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Meaney is the author of four novels - To Hold Infinity, Paradox, Context, and Resolution, the latter three titles constituting the Nulapeiron Sequence. He also has numerous short fiction publication credits. His novelette "Sharp Tang" was shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association Award in 1995, and To Hold Infinity and Paradox were on the BSFA shortlists for Best Novel in 1999 and 2001 respectively. His novella "The Whisper of Disks" was included in the 2003 Years Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection. The Times called John Meaney "The first important new SF writer of the 21st century." Meaney has a degree in physics and computer science, and holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate. He lives in Kent.

More on John Meaney can be found at:

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2014

    O below

    Ni shi riben ren, wo di ma?

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Decent and intriguing yet wandering storyline

    Although the story kept me intrigued and wondering what was going to happen next, it takes a long time, very near the end of the book for that matter, for the plot to manifest itself. In the mean time the storyline follows the protagonist, Tom, on a 14 year journey and his doings in that time, wherein he goes from rags-to-riches, and back-sorta.
    The technology and sciences were quite intriguing, although many things were never explained-you just have to get a feel for it as you read along, sorta like being dumped in a foreign country and learning the language over time.
    Speaking of foreign languages, I really enjoyed how Meaney interwove multiple languages into the story. Interestingly enough, of the few languages I speak and dabble in, I was able to understand quite a bit of the un-translated bits of languages he inserted in the story.
    Although this story is a not a traditional page-turner, it kept me going, if for nothing else than to find out what happens next, as well as when the true plot would be made manifest.
    Will I read the next installment, most likely. This one leaves you hanging.
    Osu, Neko-sama.

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