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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Collapsium

Copyright 2000 by Wil McCarthy

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this on the 18th January 2003.

Our future stellar civilisation is a monarchy presided over by Her Majesty Tamra Tamatra Lutui, the Virgin Queen of Tonga, and in fact the Virgin Queen Of All Things. It's a universe of extended lifespans, of wealth and prosperity, based on the untold power provided by the miraculous properties of material collapsium.

Our hero is Declarant-Philander Bruno de Tomaji. He is the creator of collapsium and this creation has made him so very, very rich. He is the erstwhile favourite of the Queen, but is now self-exiled to his own little planet where he researches the properties of collapsium and searches for the end of time.

His rival is Marlon Sykes, an almost equally talented engineer and inventor. When Marlon's latest construction, a ring of collapsium around the sun, goes disastrously wrong, Bruno is called upon to save civilisation.

But even after saving humanity, Bruno cannot return to his previous isolation so easily. He will discover that he is caught in a deadly battle with a powerful and competent enemy, a battle to the death, with both his own life and human civilisation at risk.

I was very dubious about this, the book cover and the cover's review suggested something entirely too light-hearted. I was even more dubious after having read what were clearly two short stories and having started on the third of what was - according to the back cover - a novel.

However, it all turned out very well indeed. It is a novel and it's an exceptionally enjoyable one.

McCarthy's writing is bright and sparkling, humorous and romantic. It's a romp through an age where technological development has allowed the rebirth of the scientist-engineer who could make most everything that he could design.

The novel is not just bright and humorous, it's also exciting. I was enthralled by the fight scene in the room of robots. Heck I even read that part twice.

Loaded on the 28th February 2003.
Cover of The Collapsium
Cover art by Stephen Youll

Reviews of other works by Wil McCarthy:
To Crush The Moon