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Ambassador of Progress [Mass Market Paperback]

Walter Jon Williams

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Sept. 26 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812557891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812557893
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,155,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece July 23 2007
By W. M. Shipman - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A blend of fantasy and science-fiction, with an emphasis on fantasy, Williams spins a story involving war, politics and ethics set against a fascinating cultural backdrop. The various societies Williams develops in the novel are fascinating -- almost characters unto themselves. I've read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi over the years, and this is easily one of my all-time favorites.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of Science Fiction May 11 2007
By Clayton D. Strand - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book has been around for over twenty years. Read today, though, it remains to me what it was then, one of the half dozen greatest science fiction novels.

Williams, almost alone among those who have spent their careers as science fiction authors, is able to gift his characters with familiar adult feelings, responses which have the feel of maturity, not adolescence, which is much more prevalent. His characterizations, though perhaps unique for their skill in the genre, are only half the picture though, his stories can be, as they are here, absolutely delightful, entertaining, witty without pretense or arrogance. He manages, with all this, to give a little history lesson which you must find for yourself, and challenges the reader to consider the world we have, and why it is what it is.

This is this author's best work, and considering the fellow wrote Hardwired, that is the highest praise.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unlike nearly any Sci-fi novel I have ever read. Aug. 7 1999
By Greg Hallock - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
But that is true of nearly all of WJW's work. There is sophisticated character developement, and some interesting plot twists. This book deals with racism and segragation in a fictional society, as viewed through the eyes of an outsider.
You are kept guessing through the whole book what the mysterious purpose of the outsider is, and whether the two groups of people are even truely Human. A good read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Williams Original - Rallying the Human Diaspora via Lower Technologies than Created the Diaspora in the First Place... Feb. 17 2013
By Robbster - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another excellent, thoughtful, and entertaining Williams novel. It only looses one star by comparison to other of Williams' works (especially his EXCEPTIONAL original 6) , but still very very good in it's own right.

I chose my title of this review to reflect what I saw as the central question explored by the book, and that is, how would one rally a diaspora of human-populated worlds to face an extinction threat after the technology by which the diaspora was created is no longer safe to use? And a related question; what might it be like to have to immerse ones self in the human cultures that evolved in isolation after the loss of said technology?

"Ambassador of Progress" explores these questions thoroughly and satisfyingly.

The "Ambassadors" arrive to their assigned world with a fairly rigid construct guiding their actions, and the book further explores the impossibility of crafting complete and effective "rules of engagement" for cultures that one has never seen! As in many other Williams books, human cultures are crafted with great care and in exceptional, internally-consistent detail.

There are a number of original (to me) plot elements here as well, as I've found to be the case in all the Williams works I've read. For instance, the theme of human diaspora among the stars is not new, nor is decline, nor ascension once again, but to this mix Williams added the rather profound and original condition that ascension MUST NOT reach the former level of technology. How interesting!

Well crafted as always, operating on many scales simultaneously, I can easily recommend Ambassador of Progress to those who may find these themes of interest or who just like a really well crafted story.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WJW does it again Jan. 13 2013
By Loris Paul Bemesderfer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Williams gives us another wonderfully written book full of fascinating sociology, great action, strong characters and situations that are clever and intriguing. I know of no author who is better at developing wildly different mindsets, bringing them together, and then watching the drama unfold.

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