The Golden Age
John C. Wright
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The Golden Age is Grand Space Opera, a large-scale SF adventure novel in the tradition of A. E. Van vogt and Roger Zelazny, with perhaps a bit of Cordwainer Smith enriching the style. It is an astounding story of super science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the excitements of SF's golden age writers.
The Golden Age takes place 10,000 years in the future in our solar system, an interplanetary utopian society filled with immortal humans. Within the frame of a traditional tale-the one rebel who is unhappy in utopia-Wright spins an elaborate plot web filled with suspense and passion.
Phaethon, of Radamanthus House, is attending a glorious party at his family mansion to celebrate the thousand-year anniversary of the High Transcendence. There he meets first an old man who accuses him of being an impostor and then a being from Neptune who claims to be an old friend. The Neptunian tells him that essential parts of his memory were removed and stored by the very government that Phaethon believes to be wholly honorable. It shakes his faith. He is an exile from himself.
And so Phaethon embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system--Jupiter is now a second sun, Mars and Venus terraformed, humanity immortal--among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms that are partly both, to recover his memory, and to learn what crime he planned that warranted such preemptive punishment. His quest is to regain his true identity.
The Golden Age is one of the major, ambitious SF novels of the year and the international launch of an important new writer in the genre.
aviator goggles, and a long white scarf. The penguin’s stubby wings were spread, its bullet head thrown back, its little beak cutting the air. A contrail of vapor issued from its little webbed feet. “Oh, come now, Rhadamanthus! This blends?!” The penguin cocked it head. “It is a bird, young master.” “Realistic images or none at all! That’s the motto of our manor. Penguins do not fly!” “Hmm. I hate to say it, young master, but neither do young men.” “Buta contrail?” “Ah, sir, you may check
drowning them in light and fire. Helion spoke: “My last hour is about to begin again. I must enter the redaction and let myself be tortured to death by fire. I will die, and I will have no memory that this is but a simulation. I will think it is the real and final death. Only when I wake do I recall what all this pain was for. “Daphne, please believe my motives are not entirely selfish; I want to recover my fortune, yes, I have worked uncounted years for it, and I am Helion, and it is mine,
perhaps no strength to sustain the belief in that great dream which once shook the worlds and empires of the Golden Oecumene to its rotten base; nor would you believe in what high esteem I and my comrades still hold you, despite your treasonous weakness of will. But believe this: You are trapped in a labyrinth of illusion; and yet the scruples, or the folly, of our foes allows you one hope of escape, one weak chink, a loophole, in an otherwise all-embracing prison wall. “You must come with me
coincidence that he earned so much advantage by the Hortator’s most recent deliberations.” Gannis should have looked angry at the accusation, but instead he threw wide his arms and laughed. “I am complimented that you think me cunning enough to have arranged these recent debacles! Not so. I fear that mere dumb luck has saved the Jovian Engineering Effort once again. Do you recall when bad investments by my overself brought me to such penury that I was asked to leave my peerage behind? Why, yes,
to no more than a brighter star.” Phaethon was wary again. “I will undertake no such long journey without clearer proof that your master and I were the partners and comrades you claim.” “Remove the locks on your brain space; I will transmit your lost self to you. Your thoughts will be restructured, and the satisfaction of your doubts will seem, at that moment, clear. We have a copy of your memory. Your life is in our hands; we are trying to return it to you. All you need do is open your mind,