Too Like the Lightning

Too Like the Lightning

Book - 2016
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From the winner of the 2017 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Ada Palmer's 2017 Compton Crook Award-winning political science fiction, Too Like the Lightning, ventures into a human future of extraordinary originality

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endlesseconomic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life...

Publisher: New York, NY : Tor, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780765378002
0765378000
Branch Call Number: SF
Characteristics: 432 pages ; 25 cm.

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JohnK_KCMO Oct 16, 2017

Revelatory world-building: this novel belongs on every list of best world-building in SF! A near-perfect blend of scifi & philosophy. It's intellectually vigorous & challenging, stylistically unique, with a sprawling cast of compelling characters in complex political relationships. This is visionary work. But it's also one of those clever ideas that never lets you forget how clever it is. The unique writing style never quite stops feeling like a gimmick. It achieves greatness but tries a bit too hard to get there. Hopefully the author's next book will be a bit less self-conscious, more truly confident in itself.

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c_anderson
Feb 03, 2017

This is one of the best science fiction books I've read! Highly recommended.

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elanamaa
Jun 05, 2016

If you read this book without knowing anything about the author, you might still be able to guess that she's a professor of history and also an avid science fiction fan. Flying cars! A moonbase! Entire pages of dialogue in Latin! (Translations provided). It's dense, meaty, and brain-engaging, and I want the sequel immediately.

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Hailcheese
Mar 16, 2017

Hailcheese thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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