I initially thought this was going to be about the game Aurora - which is often referred to as “the Dwarf Fortress of space games”.
As it’s nom de guerre suggests, there’s a rather steep learning curve.
How could I miss a new novel from KSR? Immediately ordered the hardcover after reading the first sentence here. Won’t read the rest to evade any spoilers. I want to know nothing more.
Another one for the very long list to read after plowing through the huge pile by my desk.
I was an SF loving teen in the 70s, which had both “hard” SF which often hadn’t been thought through much and space colonization evangelism. Learning about the actual and really knotty challenges of space flight, much less colonization, was most sobering. It is good to hear that thoughtful and informed SF writers are starting to work those challenges into novels.
I’m just finishing this (about 95% done) and I felt strongly compelled to try and write something about it, but Cory has done a better job than I am likely to have managed. Strongly recommended.
This is an amazing book. A staggering idea presented on nearly every single page. It is an intense read,
not one for skimming or speed-reading…
Just bought it on Kindle. Very much looking forward to it. Another reason to not yet finish Cryptonomicon…
Yes, plausible challenges and clever solutions are some of my favourite aspects of SF. At the other end, wildly imagined extrapolations of current technology are also fascinating.
To people who might (like me) have learnt to be cautious with Cory’s book recommendations after a few disappointments, I want to say that this book is really as good as he’s saying it is. It’s beautiful, mind-expanding, heart-affecting science fiction that you will want to tell your friends about and keep around for future reading. I’m buying a copy for my dad for Christmas, which is just about the highest commendation I can make of a book.
Doubly agreed, although that shift feels a little like, “Wow, spaceflight is GREAaaaaoooooooolllly fuck how long did you say it’s gonna take us to get there?”
I heard him interviewed on the Coode Street Podcast about a month ago. This book is on my short list.
I’ve read only one of his books so far (The Wild Shore), but he strikes me as a very humane and thoughtful writer.
Sorry I read this book as a big screw you to everybody who enjoyed the Mars Trilogy. Apparently some people must enjoy science fiction where the main protagonist discovers that the primary theme of the book is impossible and goes body surfing instead, but not me.
I’ve read a lot of KSR’s fiction, even managing to enjoy some of it, though to my mind his writing is sometimes singularly lacking in joy. Strikes me that measuring a work of fiction of the future by perceived scientific accuracy is hubris, perhaps even misguided. The future is factually unwritten and its vanity that anyone’s understanding, even KSR’s, is immune from future correction, through the keenness and discipline of their thinking, is vanity. The mundane science fiction movement might be a better tool for seeking the superficial truth of accountants, than for grasping something greater. “There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.” Werner Herzog
It seems to have had almost no advertising. I heard about it before it came out but barely.
That seems like a bit of an extreme read of it. You really think KSR is giving you and other fans a big finger instead of, say, exploring other themes of interest to him?
It does flip the ideas of his old world building books upside down… Damn this book needs a spoiler thread.
A couple of books he praised quickly became favorites of mine, in particular Seveneves and 2312. Haven’t finished The Peripheral yet, though.
The Peripheral was wonderful!
I think he’s come to believe we’re more dependent, as evolved creatures, on our world and ecosystem than previously thought. It is a big theme in 2312 as well.