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.
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.,
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.
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").