The Golden Transcendence: Or, The Last of the Masquerade [NOOK Book]


Beginning with The Golden Age, continuing with The Phoenix Exultant and now concluding in The Golden Transcendence, The Golden Age is Grand Space Opera, an SF adventure saga in the tradition of A. E. van Vogt and Roger Zelazny, with perhaps a bit of Cordwainer Smith enriching the style. It is an astounding story of super-science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the excitements of SF's golden age writers in the suspenseful and ...
See more details below
The Golden Transcendence: Or, The Last of the Masquerade

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99 price


Beginning with The Golden Age, continuing with The Phoenix Exultant and now concluding in The Golden Transcendence, The Golden Age is Grand Space Opera, an SF adventure saga in the tradition of A. E. van Vogt and Roger Zelazny, with perhaps a bit of Cordwainer Smith enriching the style. It is an astounding story of super-science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the excitements of SF's golden age writers in the suspenseful and passionate tale of a lone rebel unhappy in utopia.

The end of the Millennium is imminent, when all minds, human, posthuman, cybernetic, sophotechnic, will be temporarily merged into one solar-system-spanning supermind called the Transcendence. This is not only the fulfillment of a thousand years of dreams, it is a day of doom, when the universal mind will pass judgment on all the races of humanity and transhumanity.

The mighty ship Phoenix Exultant is at last in the hands of her master; Phaethon the Exile is at her helm. But the terrible truth has been revealed: he is being hunted by the agents from a long-lost dead star, the eerie and deadly Lords of the Silent Oecumene, whose super-technology plumbs depths even the all-knowing Earthmind cannot fathom.

Humanity will be helpless during the Golden Transcendence. Phaethon's enemies plan to use the opportunity to destroy the population of the Inner System, man and machine alike. To do this, they must take control of Phaethon's beloved starship and turn her unparalleled power to warlike uses. Phaethon's memories are incomplete - but he knows a spy for the Silent Ones is already aboard. And when the all-encompassing Mind of the Golden Transcendence wakes - who will it condemn? Which future will it chose? Are Phaethon's dreams of star-flight about to revolutionize the Golden Age into an age even more glorious than gold, or will they kindle the first open war fought across the immensity of interstellar space?

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Readers of the first two volumes in the trilogy, The Golden Age and The Phoenix Exultant, will know what to expect next: jargon-rich, high-tech shoot-'em-ups alternating with jargon-rich, high-flown debates about the meaning of life, the limits of logic, the nature of consciousness and so on. Although Phaethon and his enemies command unthinkably potent weapons, the real life-or-death battles are fought with words. The stakes are truly vast. Phaethon's antagonist notes that their duel is but the ''opening stages of the conflict to determine who shall control the dwindling resources of a dying cosmos 45,000 billion years from now.'' — Gerald Jonas
Publishers Weekly
A movie based on Wright's modernized space opera could easily appeal to fans of The Matrix: both contain a charming bulletproof last-best-hope-of-mankind protagonist, sociological philosophy debated by hyperintelligent computers and fanatically purposeful people, and exciting (but relatively unimportant) action scenes. Many of the flatter descriptions might translate well to the screen, and the long, meandering discussions would be more tolerable with the addition of body language and vocal inflection. Such a film would, however, lack the grand polysyllabism that sets the tone of this volume and its predecessors, The Golden Age (2002) and The Phoenix Exultant (2003)-language both deeply literary and deeply essential. Wright's fondness for a well-turned phrase is genuine-he never repeats himself-and he's clearly taken the time to study the science and mythology that underlie his tale of a visionary wanderer returning to the utopia that has rejected him. Unfortunately, the author is so excited by his ideas that he pours torrents of them onto the head of the unsuspecting reader, a shower that leaves one more bedraggled and bewildered than refreshed. Once Wright starts parceling out his fascinating concepts a bit more stingily and decides whether he's writing fast-paced space opera or sociopsychological treatises, his work will really shine. Until then, most readers will have to take notes just to keep track of everything that's going on. (Nov. 19) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Seeking his lost memories and his missing starship, Phoenix Exultant, Phaethon Prime of Rhadamanth travels through the solar system despite the opposition of a collection of embodied organic and machine minds. Set in a distant future of postmachine technology, Wright's conclusion of the panoramic drama that includes The Golden Age and The Phoenix Exultant explores the issues of personal immortality, transcendence, and the future of humanity in a nonhuman existence. The author's exuberant prose presents a kaleidoscopic array of visual and sensual images that result in a breathtaking voyage into the inner workings of consciousness and memory. Intelligent and insightful, this volume is recommended for most sf collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A movie based on Wright's modernized space opera could easily appeal to fans of The Matrix....  Such a film would, however, lack the grand polysyllabism that sets the tone of this volume and its predecessors ... language both deeply literary and deeply essential."

Publishers Weekly


"Set forth with such effortless intelligence and confident verisimilitude that the author might be a denizen of the remote future, reporting back to us in the distant past."

Kirkus Reviews

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429915595
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Golden Age , #3
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 415,066
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

John C. Wright, a journalist and a lawyer turned SF and fantasy writer, lives with his wife and son in Centreville, Virginia.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt




Personality and memory download in progress. Please hold all thoughts in abeyance until mental overwrite is complete, or unexpected results may obtain.
Where was he? Who was he?
Information unavailable--all neural pathways occupied by emergency noetic adjustment. Please stand by. Normal thinking will resume presently.
What the hell was going on? What was wrong with his memory? He had been dreaming about burning children as he slept, and the shadow of aircraft spreading clouds of nano-bacteriological agent across a blasted landscape.…
This unit has not been instructed to respond to commands until the noumenal redaction palimpsest process is complete. Please hold all questions until the end; your new persona may be equipped with proper emotional responses to soothe uncertainties, or memory-information to answer questions of fact. Are you dissatisfied with your present personality? Select the Abort option to commit suicide memory-wipe and start again.
He groped his way toward memory, to awareness. Whatever the hell was happening to him, no, he did not want to start all over again. It had been something terrible, something stolen from him. Who was he?
He had the impression he was someone terrible, someone all mankind had gathered to ostracize. A hated exile. Who was he? Was he someone worth being?
If you elect to commit suicide, the new personality version will be equipped with any interim memory chains you form during this process, so he will think he is you, and the illusion of continuity will be maintained.…
"Stop that! Who am I?"
Primary memories written into cortex now. Establishing parasympathic paths to midbrain and hindbrain for emotional reflex and habit-pattern behavior. Please wait.
He remembered: he was Phaethon. He had been exiled from Earth, from the whole of the Golden Oecumene, because there was something he loved more than Earth, more than the Oecumene.
What had it been? Something inexpressibly lovely, a dream that had burned his soul like lightning--a woman? His wife? No. Something else. What?
Thought cycle complete. Initiating physical process.
"Why was I unconscious?"
You were dead.
"An error in the counteracceleration field?"
Marshal-General Atkins killed you.
The last soldier of Earth. The only member of the armed forces of a peaceful utopia, Atkins commanded godlike powers, weapons as deadly as the superhuman machine intelligences could devise. Strangely enough, the machines refused to use the weapons, refused to kill, even in self-defense, even in a spotless cause. Only humans (so said the machines), only living beings, should be allowed to end life.
There was a plan. Atkins's plan. Some sort of plan to outmaneuver the enemy. Phaethon's exile was part of that plan, something done to bring the agents of the Silent One out of hiding. But there were no details. Phaethon did not know the plan.
"Why did he kill me?"
You agreed.
"I don't remember agreeing!"
You agreed not to remember agreeing.
"How do I know that?"
The question is based on a false-to-facts supposition. Mind records indicate that you do not know that; therefore the question of how is counterfactural. Would you care to review the thought index for line errors?
"No! How do I know you are not the enemy? How do I know I have not already been captured?"
Please review the previous answer; the same result obtains.
"How do I know I am not going to be tortured, or my nervous system is not being manipulated?"
Your nervous system is being manipulated. Damaged nerves are about to be brought back to life temperature and revitalized. Would you like a neutralizer? There will be some pain.
"How much pain?"
You are going to be tortured. Would you like a discontinuity?
"What kind of discontinuity? An anaesthetic?"
Pain signals must be traced to confirm that the pain center of your brain is healthy. Naturally, it would be counterproductive to numb the pain under these circumstances, but the memory of the pain can be redacted from your final memory sequence, so that the version of you who suffers will not be part of the personal continuity of the version of you that wakes up.
"No more versions! I am I, Phaethon! I will not have my self tampered with again!"
You will regret this decision.
Odd, how matter-of-fact that sounded. The machine was merely reporting that he would, indeed, regret the decision.
And, just as he blacked out again, he did.

Copyright © 2003 by John C. Wright
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae 9
1 The Ship 17
2 The Silent One 40
3 The Silent Oecumene 54
4 The Duel 69
5 The Defeat 89
6 The Falsehoods 107
7 The Earthmind 130
8 The Truth 161
9 Reality 174
10 Nothing 189
11 Beyond the Reach of Time 217
12 The Revolt Against Reason 231
13 The Transcendence 243
14 The Golden Age 262
15 The Age Is Done 281
16 And Ages Yet Unguessed Come 300
17 The Young Woman 318
Appendix Naming Conventions and Historic Aeons 338
Read More Show Less


"The Golden Age is aptly titled--it evokes the best of the golden age of science fiction. Transcendence, big ideas, slam-bang action--it's all here, in the first significant debut of the new millennium."
-Robert J. Sawyer

"Bursting with kaleidoscopic imagery, Wright's first novel chronicles the quest of a far-future everyman in his journey of self-discovery. Reminiscent of the panoramic novels of Arthur C. Clarke, Iain Banks, and Jack Vance."
-Library Journal

Praise for The Phoenix Exultant

"A delightful whatchamacallit: Whiz-Bang Space Opera, Laser Samurai Adventure, Socratic Spaghetti Western, Virtual Spa Masquerade, Paranoid Identity Soap oh hell, just read it. It's fun."
--Patrick O'Leary

"John Wright is a stunning new talent. His vivid worlds are filled with wonder and dread, tension and hope. If the future looks like this, our descendants are in for a wild time."
--David Brin

Praise for The Golden Age:
"[A] dazzling first novel. It's already clear that Wright may be this fledgling century's most important new SF talent. This is a rare and mind-blowing treat."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Wright wrings new surprises from a familiar SF scenario. . . . [An] extraordinary feat of invention and plotting . . ."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A satirical novel of ideas with interludes of action reminiscent of pulp fiction . . . an intelligent, good-natured caper."
-The New York Times

"It is a major novel, magnificently written, dazzlingly imaginative . . . the launching pad for an illustrious creative career. . . . The Golden Age is replete withriches and wonders, technical and conceptual. John Wright is clearly a very significant talent."
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2004

    A little drawn out

    Ok, now the downlow. Great story and excellent premise. The discussions on future technologies and their impact have resonance with today's issues. But it feels alittle JRR Tokien in that the plot moves slowly and all ends are tied up completely if not nicely.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2003

    strong futuristic tale

    For all practical purposes humanity is immortal, but with the Millennium ending, the Transcendence begins. Anything sentient in the solar system whether the creature is biological, mechanical, technological, or hybrid briefly merges into one super mind. These end days will judge the merit of all species to determine who will survive the Transcendence. <P>Phaethon the Exile has regained control of the Phoenix Exultant, but he has no time to rejoice, as the Lords of the Silent Oecumene, beings of a dead star system, hunt him for they need his ship. The invader¿s plan to destroy any sentient being in the Inner System, but need to use the superpower of the Phoenix Exultant to achieve this objective. As Phaethon struggles to stop his deadly foe, he wonders if he wastes his time as he has doubts about his future. He ponders whether the Lords of the Silent Oecumene, if inside the Transcendence range, will be judged and why risk his life now when he may be condemned by the final verdict? <P>The final tale in the Golden Age trilogy is a cerebral story that leaves the audience pondering many, perhaps too many, concepts. The author rightfully believes his fans will intelligently consider philosophical issues such as the meaning of life, when is war the right answer to a conflict, what is truly humanity, and whether it is religious or science in origin how will you and your species stand up in a life or death judgment, etc. The exciting action grips readers, but readers will think about the messages that make this novel and series transcend most science fiction books attaining the golden status of powerhouse. <P>Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)