The Cusanus Game

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Overview

Biologist Domenica Ligrina fears her planet is dying. She might be right.

An atomic disaster near the French-German border has contaminated Northern Europe with radioactivity. Economic and political calamities are destroying the whole planet. Human DNA is mutating, plant species are going extinct, and scientists are feverishly working on possible solutions. It becomes increasingly apparent that the key to future salvation lies in the past. In 2052 a secret ...

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Overview

Biologist Domenica Ligrina fears her planet is dying. She might be right.

An atomic disaster near the French-German border has contaminated Northern Europe with radioactivity. Economic and political calamities are destroying the whole planet. Human DNA is mutating, plant species are going extinct, and scientists are feverishly working on possible solutions. It becomes increasingly apparent that the key to future salvation lies in the past. In 2052 a secret research facility in the Vatican is recruiting scientists for a mission to restore the flora of the irradiated territories. The institute claims to have time travel. When Domenica’s sometime-lover tells her that he knows her future but that she must decide her own fate, she enlists despite his ambiguous warning. 

The Middle Ages hold Domenica spellbound. She immerses herself in the mysteries, puzzles, and peculiarities of a culture foreign to her, though she risks changing the past with effects far more disastrous than radiation poisoning. Perhaps there is more than one Domenica, and more than one catastrophe

In the tradition of Stanislaw Lem and Philip K. Dick, Wolfgang Jeschke's The Cusanus Game is a novel of future disaster in Europe by the grand master of German science fiction

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/26/2013
In the year 2052, the world is collapsing after a nuclear disaster in Germany that lethally irradiated parts of Europe and accelerated the ongoing social breakdown. Domenica Ligrina is a young botanist living in Rome, now a violent, nearly abandoned borderland of cultural clashes. She is offered a mysterious job by the Papacy that could restore Europe’s obliterated flora, and soon she learns that the work involves retrieving seeds from the Middle Ages—specifically the age of her hero, the scientist cardinal Nicolaus Cusanus. This is only one piece of a vast convoluted puzzle spread across both her life and the multiverse that constantly drops paradoxical hints from past, future, present, and alternate todays. “What is reality?” the story asks, and the answer is predictably complex and far-reaching. Jeschke’s epic is a mind-expanding SF thriller that will grab readers and shake them up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“An extraordinarily ambitious novel combining the best of the thriller, the historical novel, and detailed science fiction. . . . Outstanding.”

—L. E. Modesitt, Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Imager Portfolio and the Recluce Saga

“In this new novel, Wolfgang Jeschke again reflects magnificently on the nature of our pasts and futures.  Always an ambitious, ironic writer who escapes the traps of triviality, this long awaited new work is no exception, presenting an unanswerable truth: so much of our present and future is shaped by the past—so much so that creative futures are overtaken and sink into pasts.”

—George Zebrowski, Campbell Award-winning author of Brute Orbits

“An epic that combines the cerebral satisfactions of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose with a ripping, gripping, time-tripping vision of a near-future apocalypse.”

—James Morrow, Nebula Award-winning author and editor of the SFWA European Hall of Fame

“Wolfgang Jeschke’s The Cusanus Game brings us an insightful European writer of well known abilities. His sensibility reflects another way of looking at our future possibilities, and his crafty eye picks up matters American sf can miss. I recommend Jeschke because we need to see science fiction as a world literature, and he is one of its first rank practitioners.”

—Gregory Benford, New York Times bestselling co-author of Bowl of Heaven

“A virtuoso performance, so complex and well constructed that it can stand beside the best time travel stories, a tour-de-force that turns artifice into high art.”

—Franz Rottensteiner, Science Fiction Writers, on “The King and the Dollmaker”

“Philosophical fiction as well as science fiction, ambitious, challenging, the master-work of a long creative career.”

—Tom Shippey, bestselling author of J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century

“One of the most important science fiction writers of Europe today.”

—Michael Kandel, international award-winning translator of Stanislaw Lem

 

Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
First novel to appear in English translation from Czech-born German writer/editor/publisher Jeschke since The Last Day of Creation (1984). By 2052, economic and political meltdown threatens the entire planet. A nuclear disaster in Germany has rendered huge swathes of Northern Europe uninhabitable; vital plant species are becoming extinct. Nanotechnology may be creating more problems than it solves. A top-secret research program sponsored by the Vatican--now relocated to Salzburg--known as the Rinascita Project aims to preserve the future by exploiting the past. Time travel, it seems, may be possible using solitons, standing temporal waves that susceptible persons can ride from present to past and back; the kicker, though, is that multiple branching realities result. Botanist Domenica Ligrina, one of the Rinascita recruits, proves extraordinarily sensitive to the solitons, and what she fears are hallucinations may be an ability to sense other realities and other Domenicas. Her destination is the 15th century, where her task will be to gather specimens of the extinct plants. As she studies the period, she becomes fascinated with German philosopher, theologian, jurist and astronomer Nicolaus Cusanus. In the past, meanwhile, Nicolaus receives strange reports of a highly educated witch who claims to have seen the future. And what of the mysterious creature known as the angel? Is he the mathematical genius from the future who may, or did, or will, invent time travel? It's impossible to summarize how Jeschke weaves both the theory and practice of time travel into rich, vivid overlapping narratives and characters that appear, collapse, reappear and metamorphose much as the alternate realities do. Sometimes, however, the narratives get bogged down in superfluous detail. A remarkable and utterly convincing work whose construction mirrors and illustrates the concepts it so meticulously and logically develops out of respectable scientific ideas.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765319081
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 695,882
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

WOLFGANG JESCHKE is a German science fiction author and editor.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Cusanus Game is like every movie or television show about ha

    The Cusanus Game is like every movie or television show about hard science fiction you’ve ever seen. There is a distant future where things have gone to hell. There are time travelers, there are cross timelines, there is an oppressive government that is trying to purify the races. There is an elitist church faction with seemingly unlimited funds and questionable motivations. I was both surprised and disappointed by Cusanus Game. I found the beginning of the book much too drawn out and the changes in perspective often lead to not knowing exactly what was going on for half or quarter of a chapter. The book uses multiple points of view and even in those points of view there are some changes in perspective here and there. This was very disorienting and while I certainly understand why the author did it. This kind of thing should be seen as a lesson to other authors who want to do this and perhaps teach them that when the voice changes it should be predictable or obvious from the chapter heading. Such as George Martin’s names under his chapter numbers.

    I certainly appreciated what Cusanus Game was trying to achieve, I just feel that it took far too long to get there. As someone who was writing about this book for review; I had to continue reading even when the pacing slowed to a crawl. Most readers won’t be in that position.


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