The Chronoliths

The Chronoliths

Book - 2001
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Scott Warden is a man haunted by the past-and soon to be haunted by the future.In early twenty-first-century Thailand, Scott is an expatriate slacker. Then, one day, he inadvertently witnesses an impossible event: the violent appearance of a 200-foot stone pillar in the forested interior. Its arrival collapses trees for a quarter mile around its base, freezing ice out of the air and emitting a burst of ionizing radiation. It appears to be composed of an exotic form of matter. And the inscription chiseled into it commemorates a military victory - sixteen years in the future.Shortly afterwards, another, larger pillar arrives in the center of Bangkok-obliterating the city and killing thousands. Over the next several years, human society is transformed by these mysterious arrivals from, seemingly, our own near future. Who is the warlord "Kuin" whose victories they note?Scott wants only to rebuild his life. But some strange loop of causality keeps drawing him in, to the central mystery and a final battle with the future.   The Chronoliths is a 2002 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel and the winner of the 2002 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2001.
ISBN: 9780312873844
Characteristics: 301 p. ;,22 cm.


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May 13, 2015

So many RCW books are excellent. This one may in some ways be my favourite. It's got some really interesting ideas behind it, the characters are uniformly interesting and believable. The book is by turns a heart-wrenching family drama and a sf thriller. Its imagining of the nearish future and beyond is so real and finely textured that it's hard to believe RCW hasn't been there. Highly recommended, (indeed with RCW books even the weaker few are better than much fiction out there, and the great ones like SPIN/BLIND LAKE/GYPSIES etc are superb). I might take issue with the reviewer below, I love the fact that the novel has a good ending, without having everything tied up in a tight package. I find nothing unclear, but not everything is completely resolved. Sort of like life.

May 03, 2011

The author of this book has a great concept: Monuments are sent back in time announcing future victories. The largest obstacle in such a concept is dealing with causality: which come first, the war, or the monuments? Were the monuments a result of the war or was the war a result of the presence of the monuments in the past? This important aspect was dealt with well, plausibly in fact, in a purely science fiction sense of course. A note on the writing style. It is written as if a story is being told decades after the fact, as if a diary is being read and events in the past being are being written about, discussed and even questioned. At first I found this odd, but after a little while is was nice, because you are not just presented with an event but thoughts about that event and future impacts and sometimes regrets over a path chosen. My only complaint would be closure. I don't feel it was completely closed. I had no problem with closure my self because I feel I understand how it closed... but it was not explicitly stated which *may* leave some readers a little confused at the end. I would have given this an extra star if not for this one minor short falling.

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