Julian Comstock

Julian Comstock

A Story of 22nd-century America

Book - 2009
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From Robert Charles Wilson, the Hugo Award-winning author of Spin , comes Julian Comstock , an exuberant adventure in a post-climate-change America.

In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the sixty stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York. In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation's spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.

Then out of Labrador come tales of the war hero "Captain Commongold." The masses follow his adventures in the popular press. The Army adores him. The President is...troubled. Especially when the dashing Captain turns out to be his nephew Julian, son of the President's late brother Bryce--a popular general who challenged the President's power, and paid the ultimate price.

As Julian ascends to the pinnacle of power, his admiration for the works of the Secular Ancients sets him at fatal odds with the Dominion. Treachery and intrigue will dog him as he closes in on the accomplishment of his lifelong ambition: to make a film about the life of Charles Darwin.

Publisher: New York : Tor, 2009.
ISBN: 9780765319715
Characteristics: 413 p. ;,25 cm.


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Jul 11, 2019

Wilson's tale "Julian Comstock: a Story of 22nd Century America," is an excellent tale, Julian is based loosely on the story of Julian the Apostate the 4th century pagan reactionary Roman Emperor who attempted to disenfranchise the Christian eclipse of traditional Roman values and beliefs. Julian Comstock is a young man from a blue-blooded family connected to the ruling family of the Dominion. The "Dominion of Jesus Christ" is the new name for the United States and operates as a evangelical Christian theocracy. America and the world have exhausted their resources and oil and other resources are in short supply. The book is written from the perspective of Julian's close confidant Adam Hazzard, a poor but ambitious "snake worshipper" who hales from the more primitive parts of the Dominion. Adam's close observation of Julian and the events surrounding Julian's rise to power to create an atmosphere that feels very real, a familiar yet somehow alien world.

May 23, 2016

This book correctly captures the tone of a 19th Century biography. There is a certain lack of introspection, and a much different acceptance of death that is hard for a 21st Century writer to capture. I was very satisfied with the future history. It had hints of Robert A. Heinlein’s future history, what with the destruction of civilization and an American rise of a fundamentalist church. It evokes some of Turtledove’s alternative histories but rather a possible history.

Apr 18, 2011

One of the best books I've read in a while. Wilson is a tremendously imaginative writer and fantastic storyteller. One of the best recommendations I was ever given.

Nov 01, 2010

I read all books by this author but this one was the least pleasing. I was reading with an increasing frustration and couldn't accept that humanity would regress that much, although Julian himself believed we were the cause of their misfortune. I had the impression I was reading a novel from the 19th century, their lack of technology and resources were too depressing for me to believe it possible. I think humans will find ways to replace the main source of our welfare, oil, when it runs out but we have to start now.

Mar 24, 2010

Better than The Road by Cormac McCarthy but that's faint praise. It is on its face post-apocalyptic alternative history, but really not science fiction as it is billed. It is more an imagining of 19th Century America if it had gone the way of a Christian version of Iran, with a Taliban-like religious force vying for power with a despotic civil government, all told through the eyes of a charmingly naive country lad who by chance served to chronicle momentous historical events of this throwback future.

Dec 24, 2009

Not much SF in this one -- more of a dystopian novel about a not-so-distant future where we've exhausted our oil supplies and been through a population crash accompanied by technology loss and a more powerful clergy.

RCW focuses what scientific discourse there is in the book on ideas surrounding evolution: apparently a theme in his works, as Spin and Axis also latched onto this as a major part of their science.

The types of characters and their relationships were noticeably analogous to those in Spin, and had the book had similar pacing.

All in all, a good read.

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Dec 24, 2009

dida thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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