What would happen if Odysseus met Captain Ahab in the Fortieth Century? Only Captain Ahab is a beautiful woman named Steel who owns her own starship, and Odysseus is an unemployed actor named Mohandas who’s stuck on the backside of a backwater moon because he won't pay his taxes. Everybody—almost everybody—lives forever, and there’s a telepathic Internet that allows the entire population of the galaxy to communicate at will and even experience the world from another person’s perspective.
|Publisher:||Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||15 Years|
About the Author
John Patrick Lowrie was born in Honolulu and raised in Boulder. At 16 he left home to make his way as a singer/guitarist/flautist/ trombonist in a rock ‘n’ roll band, sleeping in parks and communes. After surviving the draft, he graduated with highest distinction from the Indiana University School of Music and for a few years managed to make a living as a composer and guitarist in his acoustic fusion duo, The Kiethe Lowrie Duet, garnering critical acclaim. He then decided to become an actor because the pay was better and the work was steadier (truly!). He and his wife, Ellen McLain, now reside in Seattle where they divide their professional time between acting in live theater and voice-acting for computer games and radio dramas.
Read an Excerpt
Ignorance covers humanity like a thick wool blanket, with tiny pinpricks of knowledge peeking through here and there. Whenever we manage to connect a few of the dots to form a picture we think we're pretty hot stuff, and I guess we are. I mean we've never met anyone who can do it better, but I can't decide if that really means we're good at it — or if it's just a very slow track.
I've been around a long time; you'd think I would have learned something. I don't know. A man starts acting funny when he's run out of options. Thinking becomes a strangely bloated yet pointless exercise. I hadn't worked in ten months. I hadn't paid my rent in two. The woman I'd been shacked up with had gotten tired of my scales before I did and by the time I got tired of them I was too broke to have my genome reworked.
Actually, the scales were probably the start of this current decline. I'd tried to deduct them as a professional expense. I'm an actor, among other things, and I figured if full body scales didn't constitute a costume, what does? The SRS disagreed and popped me for four thousand DCU, blocked my net access when I didn't pay, and told Shaughnessy that if she tried to lift with me aboard they'd impound her ship and arrest her for cultural pollution.
I guess they didn't like the show.
So Shaughnessy explained to me how much she liked my work and what a great asset to the production I was and how much she hated to lose me but these things happen and if I could get this straightened out and hop the next ship to Heaven (which was where the tour was going next) and by the way did I know any actors on Heaven? You know, just someone to fill in until I hooked back up with them. I told her I'd never been to Heaven. At that point it looked like I had as much chance of seeing Heaven as a 14th century heretic.
I went down to the port to see them off. I don't know why. They punched a hole in the sky and kept on going and I stayed behind.
There is something about watching a starship lift off when you were supposed to be in it that is almost indescribable.
So there I was in New Spanaway, a city that is a textbook victim of imperial planetary economics: a pre-fab metal and plastic blister plopped down in the middle of the jungle on the wrong side of Vesper, which is actually a pretty nice globe. Vesper as a whole has a good balance of trade, big tourist business; you've probably heard of it if you've done any traveling in the home worlds. It's the third moon of Golgotha, a huge super-Jovian gas giant that was one of the first extra-solar planets to be discovered, back around the end of the second millennium. Of course, everyone around here claims it was the first to be discovered, but who believes a bunch of hundred-and-fifty-kilo, bio-engineered SyndicEnts? I mean, you don't disagree with them, but you don't necessarily hang on their every word, either.
But we happy denizens of New Spanaway were far removed from the pleasure palaces and tourist traps; they're all in the other hemisphere, where Golgotha's cream and rust banded immensity fills half the sky. No, there's only one place to go in your off-hours in Spam-town and I was in it, looking for a way out.
I saw her in the mirror over the bar when she came in from the verandah. She would have been hard to miss. She was over two meters tall, long limbed and slender, and covered from head to toe in sleek silver fur that lengthened into a thick mane on the top and back of her head. Her eyes were large, almond-shaped and the color of emeralds — no cornea visible, just these two liquid pools of green fire split by black cat- pupils. If she wasn't rich, she must have been at one time. The fur job alone must have set her back a bundle, and I didn't even want to think what the eyes cost her. She wasn't wearing much more than I was, not a surprise in the tropics when a person's spent that much on her skin, and I should know. But what the hell was she doing here?
The contrast between her relaxed, fluid grace and the utilitarian rust of 'Burbs place was one of those images that can throw into focus the ironies of an entire socio-economic power structure. She walked past the playpens on her way to the bar, passing through humid shafts of mid- afternoon sunlight that read her body contours like a laser scanner. I tried to look at the bottom of my glass and think about something else.
'Burbs didn't stare at her; I'll give him that. But then, I don't think 'Burbs had hormonal or pheromonal reactions anymore. He hadn't had them removed or anything; they'd just eroded away naturally. Her polychrome nails clicked on the teak counter top as she sat down like — like she owned the guy who paid the guy who paid the guy who made the stool.
"What'll it be?" 'Burbs' voice was like the town he inhabited, a victim of economics. Hers wasn't.
"Give me what your scaly friend is having." I looked at her reflection in the mirror. Not just because she'd referred to me. Her voice made me think of warm honey flowing over brass. It reminded me of a singer I'd been in love with. A long time ago.
"He's no friend of mine." Nice guy, 'Burbs. He turned away to fill a glass with the home brew I'd been living on for too long, turned back to set it down in front of her.
"He have a name?" More honey. It made the scales on my arms stand up slightly; I could feel air under them. 'Burbs looked at her like he was convincing himself that he was too old and too mated to care that she wanted me instead of him.
"I'll ask him." He glanced down the bar at me. "Hey, Lizard, you gotta name?" I actually look more like a pangolin than a reptile, but when one of the regulars started calling me Lizard a couple of months ago I let it stick. The number of phonemes it shared with "loser" resonated with my current bout of sardonic fatalism.
"You couldn't pronounce it," I said into the glass. I was playing for time. In my present state I couldn't believe that a beautiful, rich, or even ex-rich, woman would care if I was breathing, let alone want to know my name. I figured she was from the System Revenue Service, or worse yet, from Planetary Tectonics, here to kick me off the dole and into a job in the 'works, where 'Burbs lost his voice and his right arm and probably his pheromonal reactions.
"Not very friendly, is he?" She didn't look at me as she said it, didn't even look at my reflection, and I tried not to look at her. That voice was really getting to me. Take away the fur, the eyes, the body contours, even the possible wealth, and the voice alone would have been enough to make me curl up in her lap. I started to wonder if she had backup outside, if I could squeeze through the window in the can and sprint down the alley before she called her goons. And where the hell would I go then? "Better get him another one of these," she said as she tapped her nails on the glass.
She was buying me a drink? Who was this femme? 'Burbs looked at her like she might be dangerous, then he looked at me like I was a slightly embarrassing skin condition, then back at her. We were the only ones in the place besides a couple of SyndicEnts wired into la-la land in the playpens. She was obviously ready to get down to business. She placed her palm on the softly glowing square inlaid in the teak in front of her. Whatever the readout was on 'Burbs monitor, it must have impressed him; he shrugged, filled another glass and sent it down the bar to me.
I stopped it with one hand, turned my head and looked squarely at her, checking out the verandah in my peripheral vision as I did so. There was the beef, all right, the size of a small mountain. Looked like a Primate 3, or maybe even a 4, I couldn't really tell; it was backlit by the sun outside. Jesus, Allah and Vishnu, what had I wandered into?
It started to rain, one of those wonderful tropical afternoon cloudbursts where the sun shines right through the fat drops, turning them into millions of fire opals. It didn't seem to bother her pal outside. He didn't move. I hoped the drumming on the roof masked the pounding of my heart.
I looked back at her reflection and met her eyes. Her pupils had dilated in the semi-darkness of the bar and were almost round now. They were enormous. Looking into them gave me the strangest sensation — a kind of dynamic equilibrium, like I'd just stepped off a cliff and there was nothing left to do but enjoy the ride and hope for the best.
"Go ahead and drink it. It's paid for."
Which is more than could be said for the three I'd already had. I stared into those bottomless eyes for a moment, then dropped my gaze to the brew in front of me so I could think. You see, I was still entertaining the fantasy that I was a free agent, and I was already discovering that thinking was not something I did well while I was looking at her. I opened my mouth to say something like, "What's your game ..." or "How did I get so lucky ..." but opening my mouth was as far as I got. She wasn't from the SRS or any of the syndicates; those organizations for the advancement of human degradation might do a lot of things to you, but buying you a drink in the local dive wasn't one of them. The theory that despite her dazzling appearance and apparent wealth she just couldn't find a boyfriend and was irresistibly drawn to me was just as easy to discard. I knew that somewhere there was a devastatingly incisive verbal riposte that would unmask her and leave her utterly at my mercy, but I couldn't come up with it.
"I understand you've been off the net," she said, "for almost a year. How do you keep so healthy?"
I met her eyes in the mirror again. Bad choice. "Exercise," I croaked without thinking, "and I watch what I eat."
She smiled easily and slipped off her stool, leaving her brew untouched. Three steps brought her next to me. My nostrils filled with her and my pulse rate went up. "Innovative," she said, then looked over her shoulder at 'Burbs. "Do you hide the good stuff in the back?"
'Burbs said, "Whadya need?" And she replied:
"How about a bottle of eighty year-old brandy?"
"Brandy? I don't think I —"
"Why don't you go check?" All without taking her eyes off me. 'Burbs stared dumbly at her back for a minute, then got the idea and disappeared. She put her arms around my neck, brought her lips to my ear and breathed, "Where can we talk?" I thought furiously as the chills went down my spine. She wanted privacy? This was a factory town. The Trades like to know what's going on with their "employees." I thought some more.
"You been to the beach?" I asked.
She smiled and my pulse went up again. "Sounds nice."
"Meet me at the monorail in half an hour."
"I can hardly wait." She kissed my jaw line, smiled again, turned and swayed outside into the rain and sunshine. The mountain followed her up the Alley. I turned back to the bar and looked at myself in the mirror.
'Burbs came in after a minute carrying a bottle of something. He looked at me, looked around the place, and said, "Whadja do to her?"
I continued to look at my reflection as I drained the glass in my hand. Then I turned to him. "Why do they call you 'Burbs?" I asked.
"Why do they call you 'Burbs?"
He looked at me for a moment. "I dunno, 'cause I grew up in the 'burbs, I guess."
"Which 'burbs did you grow up in?"
He put the bottle down. "You know, the 'burbs."
I looked at my empty glass. "You don't even remember what planet you started on, do you?"
He began to wipe down the bar. "What are you tryin' to be cute?" he said.
And a spear of empathy touched my heart as I realized that he didn't.
I walked out into the Alley, turned my face to the sky and let the rain beat on me for a while. I guess I was hoping it would clear my head. Paradise Alley was actually outside of New Spanaway proper, welded and glued and lashed together out of anything the "retired" could salvage from the 'works or the jungle. Gold light burnished the wet metal surfaces of the shops around me, the harsh, industrial lines softened by an occasional clump of bamboo or dumbcane or shefflera pushing through the cracks in the black plastic paving blocks.
I turned my head and looked down to the edge of town and beyond. Out from under the brooding, black base of the thunderstorm the sky was blue and the rainforest brilliant green, patched here and there by the lighter green of nutriCrop fields, sloping down and down to the thousand meter cliffs of Nohili Point. And beyond that to the sapphire sea and the twin, verdant fangs of Lehua and Nihoa, patiently defying the waves. Prime was low in the sky now; there were probably no more than six or eight hours until nightfall. Its nearly horizontal rays shone right under the thunderhead, illuminating the rusted, chaotic tangle of piping, catwalks and cooling towers downtown that reached clear up into the base of the storm. Paradise Alley opened onto the southwest thoroughfare right across from the seemingly endless reduction yards, row upon row of towering condensers and evaporators stretching all the way to the perimeter. I started walking toward them. Even with a rainbow forming in the distance, this place was a bad idea.
Right at the corner a traveler's palm had managed to make a home for itself and somebody had carved something in the basket weave of fronds just above the trunk. It said, "Free the Spam-town 70,000."
I was thinking I might be able to make it 69,999.
The first tube I came to dropped me out of the weather and into the corrosion-streaked labyrinth of the underground. I descended past the employee residential levels to the Mall: a fairly wide thoroughfare lined with various company stores. Spam-town was really just a huge tectonic management plant surrounded by a Gordian knot of auxiliary and support facilities. You were never very far from the 'works, but here on the Mall you were literally walking under a cannonade of colossal conduits, slanting up from the magma sink under the center of town heading for the huge heat exchangers that could be seen from anywhere on the surface.
I passed the dark entrance to the auditorium where I'd given my last performance with Shaughnessy's touring company. Ten months or an eon ago. I cursed her name one more time and slipped down the narrow alley between a Reality outlet and the nutrition dispensary that I was living behind. The woman who ran it had seen the show and taken pity on me when she heard about my tax trouble. It turned out that pity hadn't been her only motivation. She'd offered me this place, at a very reasonable rate, or so it seemed at the time. I was hoping to slide in and out without seeing her.
My palm opened the lock on the steel door to the storage area. I'd jimmied it a few months back to allow myself an escape route without having to go in and out through the store. It was old and cheap, it hadn't been hard to reprogram. When the bolts threw I stood there for a minute, listening. She was a nice old bird and I really didn't want to see her right then.
Nothing. I slid the door back far enough to slip inside and padded between the racks of nutrients, supplements and pre-packaged meals to my digs in the back. Pulling back the sheet that served as a door, I stepped down into a couple of inches of water. Great. Living in the tropics, right next to something that dealt in thousands of degrees Kelvin in temperature differentials, you came to expect a little condensation, no matter how much insulation they used, but this was worse than usual. Something must have blocked the drain again. I didn't have the time or inclination to deal with it right then; I just hoped the moaning and banging of the magma sink would mask any noise I made.
I knew what I was looking for and it wasn't where I'd left it — a serious breach of etiquette on Sheila's part. She'd evidently been digging around in here again. It was her place, after all, but you really don't mess with another person's medicine bag.
I just had the feeling that I was going to say yes to anything Miss cat-eyes had in mind. I knew she wasn't from around here, and there wasn't a chance in hell that she was thinking of moving here, and that meant that whatever she had planned was going to happen somewhere else, which was fine by me. But I didn't want to leave without my past.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Dancing with Eternity"
Copyright © 2011 John Patrick Lowrie.
Excerpted by permission of Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
this book, from new author john patrick lowrie, is a page turner. not only does it succeed in its genre of science fiction, it is a multi layered treat, delving into ethics, morality, quantem physics, and love with insight and humor. this is such a page turner that i finished it in less than two days. my only hope is that lowry puts out another book soon, because he is an author with great skills and a strong voice.
On Vesper the third moon of Golgotha, the SRS informs Mohandas the actor that his scales are not considered a deduction and therefor he owes the government 4000 DCU. Not having the money, Lizard as the patrons call Mo is stuck in the jungle city of New Spanaway on a backwater world instead of heading to Heaven with the troupe. At a dive, a woman takes an interest in Mo. He assumes she is a System Revenue Service field agent arriving to collect or a Planetary Tectonics agent ready to kick him off the dole and into the dangerous "Works". Steel is neither as she offers him a position on her starship F.S. Lightdancer. Though he does not quite understand his duties, he accepts the opportunity to escape paradise. Thus begins the odyssey of Steel and Mo as they head roundabout to the most dangerous sector of the universe Brainard's Planet with stops at Earth, Circe and Eden; their quest is simply to save humanity. Dancing with Eternity is a complex, cerebral, yet exciting science fiction thriller that extrapolates present day trends to what could be in a couple of millennia. The story line can feel convoluted as the audience learns of the past lives of the protagonists while touring the universe with the pair and the crew. Starting with the first encounter in a dive that will feels like Rick's Bar in Casablanca, fans who relish something different in their futuristic outer space adventures will want to read John Patrick Lowrie's entertaining braining up Dancing with Eternity. Harriet Klausner
I'll just get right to it. My biggest complaint with Dancing with Eternity was the disconnect between the sexual politics and the Sci-Fi aspect of the book. Not that the two can't go together, I just could not decide which side the author was on: men are overly aggressive and to be blamed for all the wars that have been fought versus women are just as aggressive and every bit as much to blame for the state of the Universe in this 40th Century. Take a stand, make your case and let the reader figure out if your right, don't prevaricate. It is better to fail to convince your readers than to waffle all over the place.Because the author could not seem to take a stand, some of the debates between the lead characters were too long winded and did not really serve to advance the plot. Less annoying, the relationship between two of the female leads was obvious, right from the start. I hate spoiled surprises, but it fit the plot nicely, so it was not as detracting.One of the more intriguing things was the overall flavor of the narrator's choice of words and metaphors. Despite this being a Sci-Fi offering, at time I almost felt I was in a high tech Crime Noir story. Maybe it had to do with the beautiful sexy female lead, Steel, finding the main male lead, Mo, in a bar. Steel puts all the classic moves on Mo and Mo responds with all the classic lines.Overall, I can buy into this future, I just don't know if I want to live there. The science is plausible, but highly improbable, as are the history lessons we get along the way. While it is worth more than the effort involved in reading this book, I don;t think it will go on to become a classic of the Sci-Fi genre. I'll go a little above average for this one at three and a half stars.
This book was entertaining. I found some of the opinions about feminism to be a bit heavy handed and slightly out of place, when compared with the tone of the rest of the book. I was able to ignore this part of it and enjoy the rest of the story. As I was reading it I felt like I was reading a science fiction novel from an earlier era, one that attempted to imagine how society would change but could not really imagine the loss of that era's morals and values. So, it felt a bit old-fashioned to me. It was an interesting mix of cultures, religions and personalities.
It is not the best science fiction book written, but i did like it, and i would recommend it for people who want a humourous reading. It is a story combining action and discusssion problems of immortality and life and religion. I was captivated and read in two settings, so good was it. Good basic sciencefiction, with a humourous twist.
Dancing with Eternity is a first novel by John Patrick Lowrie. It's the far distant future and people mostly no longer die. Their memories and personality are constantly uploaded to a central storage area, and if one's body should fail, the personality is simply re-downloaded into a new one. As a side effect, there are no children, no permanent marriages or monogamy, and people are effectively immortal. As a result, most people have done many things, held many roles, lived on many planets. Our hero Mohandas ("Mo") is one of the oldest of the immortals, although he does not disclose that to those he knows. The novel starts with a bit of a cliche'd sci-fi noir opening - our down and out hero Mo is in a bar when a stunning woman comes in - albeit one with cat's eyes and head-to-toe fur, who makes straight for our hero, and proceeds to involve him in mysterious goings-on. Steel is the Captain of the starship LightDancer. Mo become powerfully attracted to Steel and quickly joins her crew and is outbound for another planet. Dancing with Eternity strong echoes Richard Morgan's amazing Altered Carbon, which explores the concept of downloading people into new bodies. Altered Carbon explores it in greater variety (e.g. gender reversal) and has a much more sharply defined central mystery. It's much darker than Dancing with Eternity, and the sex in Dancing with Eternity is mostly implied, in contrast to Morgan's explicitness. Dancing also echoes a lot of Heinlein, so lovers of "adventure science fiction" will enjoy it. The internal world building is good, and the future history as presented in the novel is entirely plausible. In particular the effect of being immortal on one's personality is explored at length. I found Lowrie's evocation of that not nearly as compelling as, for example, the depth of character of Lazarus Long in Time Enough for Love. I also found the back half of the book to be too much "they went there they did this" recitation - the plot tension and pacing was lost somewhat and the central mystery of the novel elongated unnecessarily. All in all it's a very good first novel - not as strong as Altered Carbon, or, say, Neuromancer, which set the bar for first-time science fiction authors, but still a fine outing and an enjoyable read. [I received a copy of Dancing with Eternity as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.]
Epic. Mesmerizing. Poignant. Suspenseful. Thought-provoking.Mo is stranded in a backwater planet, basically just drinking his way through his 18th lifetime, when he is approached by Steel, a gorgeous woman who offers him the opportunity to join her mysterious mission, and get off this planet. With full medical! Mo agrees, but details about the mission are not immediately forthcoming. They dribble out over the book with such rightness and evenhandedness; Mo learns necessary information when it becomes necessary for both him and the reader. This serves to keep the reader intrigued and guessing Steel's motivations, and what they hope to accomplish. Did I mention this takes place in the 40th century? They have virtual immortality thanks to a procedure called "re-booting", and Faster Than Light travel, which really opens up the possibilities for this narrative, and the author definitely took advantage of them. The journey spans the galaxy and probably about a century, and manages to be both fascinating and fast paced.I loved it. I kind of want to read it again, now that I know how it ends.
John Patrick Lowrie, probably best known for his voice acting roles in various modern video games, is, as it turns out, also an author. Lowrie, in his debut novel, Dancing With Eternity, proves that not only can he act, but he also has the literary skills to write, the knowledge of scientific principles to make it seem realistic, and the understanding of the genre to make it work.The story takes place in a distant future, where people ¿re-boot¿ when they get too old, getting a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth, or ¿) chance at youth. The narrator, Mohandas, meets with a mysterious ship¿s captain named Steel, who offers him a crew position on her ship. Down on his luck Mohandas, one of the oldest people in the known universe, is happy to accept, but soon realizes that Steel has more secrets than she lets on, and is forced to tag along on her quest that threatens the lives of the otherwise immortal humans at her side.I must admit that Lowrie writes readable fiction that is well plotted and evenly paced. The story flows from the words, and the words take you on an intergalactic journey through the cosmos. Not once does it feel rushed, nor does it feel like he couldn¿t figure out what to do next. The story naturally unfolds from the beginning, and ties up nicely at the end.My only issue with the story was that it seemed somewhat influenced, on some level, by Heinlein, whose writings I don¿t particularly like. Other than that, it¿s a solid story bound to be enjoyed by the fans of many types of science fiction.
If you read this book as a strictly futuristic adventure novel, you will probably be slightly disappointed. There are elements of the plot that are built up throughout the story, only to be anticlimactically abandoned. The characters in the story, rather than being idealized exemplars of perfection, are very human -- but in a way that readers may find difficulty connecting with, since they are humans living in a vastly different culture brought on by certain very important aspects of technology.If, however, you read it as a study of the mores and ethics of the society that would be formed from advanced, periodic, and above all EXPENSIVE geriatric treatment that provides virtual immortality, you will, like me, probably be amazed. The true theme, and the true strength, of this book, is expressed right in the title. It isn't about the quest, or the danger, or the adventure -- it is about how humanity would change given the ability to reverse aging, overcome death, and travel to the stars with ease.
I actually liked the back-cover blurb. The Odysseus-meets-Ahab bit, in particular, was what made me request this book from the early reviewer list. I'd say that's a fairly apt and concise description and the novel was interesting enough, but, somehow, ultimately disappointing. First, I had no real emotional connection to any of the characters, including Mohandas, the main character. While this is not a deal breaker, it is unfortunate. Second, the central mystery and dire threat of Brainard's Planet and the Plague, set up over the course of the first 31 chapters, is unceremoniously dumped near the end of the novel, with no real resolution, aside from an offhand joke about orgasms. I wouldn't call it anticlimactic, but it certainly wasn't all that it should have been.
It's the future, almost nobody dies, and people have an unhealthy obsession with changes that happened since the 20th/21th century. Nothing new for a SF book. Indeed the book starts out as a seemingly normal space opera, except that the both the FTL drive and the galactic internet seem to be powered by concentrated hippie ('human brains are so special they require special physics that allows for everything we need to magically happen'). When the characters end up on Eden, the planet where people still choose to die, the characters and events seem to become little more than a way for the author to give his opinion on what things immortality would do to society. There is also a subplot about a gender war, which again seems to be little more than an excuse to give his theories about feminism and gender roles.The Brainard mission is definitely the better subplot, with some very interesting discoveries, but in the end it cuts off rather abruptly to go back to Eden and talk some more.meh/5 stars.
great characters, lots of adventure, smart dialogue, thought provoking social issues...excellent!
Warning: this is not a common fantasy book about a dim witted female torn between two perfect immortal males. It is science fiction, not fantasy fluff - real science fiction and I liked it a lot. I read the book because I am a fan of John Patrick Lowrie as a voice actor, and I'm glad I did.
The book took a couple chapters to get going as it set the storyline and background, but after the initial set-up, it kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to read more. The storytelling is very solid and flows well, while surprising you with unexpected twists. It is a bit long, but well worth the read.
You will really enjoy this thought provoking adventure that takes you across time and space. Mohandis, the hero / narrator tells the story of a future where death is banished, religion is non-existent, and the economy of the universe is a complicated trade-off of slave labor and freedom, depending on what lifetime you're talking about. It weaves in thought provoking ideas of life and death, religious belief and what must do to survive immortality. It's a well thought out, adventure that goes from planet to planet and galaxy to galaxy.
Epic. Mesmerizing. Poignant. Suspenseful. Thought-provoking. Mo is stranded in a backwater planet, basically just drinking his way through his 18th lifetime, when he is approached by Steel, a gorgeous woman who offers him the opportunity to join her mysterious mission, and get off this planet. With full medical! Mo agrees, but details about the mission are not immediately forthcoming. They dribble out over the book with such rightness and evenhandedness; Mo learns necessary information when it becomes necessary for both him and the reader. This serves to keep the reader intrigued and guessing Steel's motivations, and what they hope to accomplish. Did I mention this takes place in the 40th century? They have virtual immortality thanks to a procedure called "re-booting", and Faster Than Light travel, which really opens up the possibilities for this narrative, and the author definitely took advantage of them. The journey spans the galaxy and probably about a century, and manages to be both fascinating and fast paced. I loved it. I kind of want to read it again, now that I know how it ends.
In Johns book Dancing With Eternity, you will find that calling this book imaginative is an understatement. The characters are of a depth that you can connect to them, or at least relate to them on a fundamental level. And the perspective of following the main character "Mo" or Mohandas ties you in and allows you to feel anchored as a member of the crew. Combine that with a healthy dose of humor, antics, and the envy that they can release their tension in a ways we never thought of without risk, and you have a really great book. This is a book you have to really read and follow with a careful eye, because if you blink you will miss out. But its worth every moment that it takes to read it and when your done you will find yourself realizing that imagination truly can go to the ends of the universe.