John C. Wright, a journalist and a lawyer turned SF and fantasy writer, lives with his wife and son in Centreville, Virginia.
In a future where humans, artificial personalities, and other exotic life forms coexist in the now-settled solar system, Phaethon, a scion of Radamanthus House, discovers that sometime in his past his memories had been locked away from him and that his familiar identity is a false one. Driven to discover his true history and his real name, Phaethon journeys across the solar system, seeking answers among human immortals, intelligent machines, and digital personalities among others. Bursting with kaleidoscopic imagery, Wright's first novel chronicles the quest of a far-future everyman in his journey of self-discovery. Reminiscent of the panoramic novels of Arthur C. Clarke, Iain Banks, and Jack Vance, this allegorical space opera belongs in most sf collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"Wright may be this fledgling century's most important new SF talent. . . . a rare and mind-blowing treat." -"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) ""The Golden Age" offers an intriguing and stunning look at future society - and its problems."--L. E. Modesitt, Jr. "Think Coleridge and Xanadu -- except this is no fragment, but a beautifully realized, sprawling space epic of an evolved humanized solar system teeming with artificial intelligences and life-forms. Wright wields a poetic vision that is at once intimate and intricate yet vast and dazzling." - Paul Levinson, author of "The Consciousness Plague"
This dazzling first novel is just half of a two-volume saga, so it's too soon to tell if it will deliver on its audacious promise. It's already clear, however, that Wright may be this fledgling century's most important new SF talent. Many millennia from now, his protagonist Phaethon disrupts the utopia of the Golden Oecumene to achieve "deeds of renown without peer." To write honestly about the far future is a similarly heroic deed. Too often, SF paints it as nothing more than the Roman Empire writ large. Wright recognizes that our society already commands many of the powers the Romans attributed to their gods; our descendants' world will be almost unimaginably magnificent and complex, and they will be able to reshape their own minds as easily as they engineer the heart of the sun. To make their dramas resonant today, the author uses echoes of mythology both classic (like his namesake, Phaethon is punished for soaring too high) and contemporary (SF fans will enjoy nods to modern masters Wells, Lovecraft and Vance). And he wisely chooses simple pulp-fiction plots to drive us through the technological complexities of Phaethon's world. The hero's quest to regain his lost memories, learn his true identity and reach the stars is undeniably compelling. As a result, having to wait for the next volume is frustrating. Wright's ornate and conceptually dense prose will not be to everyone's taste but, for those willing to be challenged, this is a rare and mind-blowing treat. (Apr. 24) Forecast: Intellectual SF fans should make this a cult favorite akin to Vernor Vinge's Marooned in Real Time or Greg Egan's Permutation City. If the novel finds a wider readership, it will be because, like William Gibson's work, it reflects and inspires current developments in virtual reality and AI. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.