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RADIX [Mass Market Paperback]

A.A. Attanasio
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1985
This is the story of a young man's odyssey of self-discovery, from dangerous adolescent to warrior, from outcast to near-godhood, in a far-future Earth dramatically changed from the one we know.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By halda
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There is no doubt in my mind that Attanasio is a sci-fi visionary. In a field that unfortunately is filled with pulp, bad fan fiction and shamless rip-offs (particularly the post-Herbert Dune books), this novel -- and the energy he devoted to it -- really shines. His ideas are challenging, sometimes frustrating, but always rewarding. There are very few books in this genre that I would ever consider "life-changing" or even worth re-reading. But Radix is one of them.
Whether your literary tastes run along the lines of sci-fi, fantasy or mysticism, this is a worthy addition to your collection. If this is your first foray into Attanasio or sci-fi, and since this is a hard volume to find, I highly suggest borrowing a copy first.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought about reading Radix because I like to pick out older and overlooked science fiction books and I have found some gems in the past, like David Zindell's Neverness and Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite. But this book nearly drove me crazy. It started out all right, with the protagonist Sumner Kagan gaining revenge against various gangs. Although it didn't hook me, it was enough to keep me reading. But once the novel introduced the voors, telepathic entities, it started going downhill into an endless stream of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. The plot, if it could be called such, veered off into a hundred different directions and I couldn't buy Sumner's development from fat, picked-on punk kid to Nietzchean superman. The novel might have been better if it just stuck to the pre-developed Sumner. And the climax and ending were so scattershot and confusing, I felt like I was reading Mad Max meets Monty Python meets Nietzche. Half the time I didn't understand what was going on. And when I did, it didn't interest me.
Reading this book was also an exercise in frustration, as a hundred different characters keep popping in and out. You need a score card to keep track. And terms. He sticks together so many words and phrases and similes that my eyes glazed over trying to read them. Psynergy, eo, Delph, godmind, voors, starglass. It's annoying to have to go back and forth trying to figure who's who and what's what. The only reason I even finished this book was because I had already read half of it and wanted to see if it got any better.

A lot of people have compared this novel to Dune by Frank Herbert. Perhaps it has a few similarities, but Dune is a vastly superior work.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, cosmic-scale-but-flawed first novel Aug. 8 2001
By AndyC
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am glad that I read the later, harder-SF "Centuries" before "Radix". Attanasio operates well as either a hard SF writer or as a metaphysical fantasist. In this, his first book, he tries to be both at once and it doesn't quite work. "Radix" is a saga of a far-future Earth in which mutation has gone rampant after a cosmological cataclysm. Daringly, lead character Sumner Kagan starts off as a screwed-up, homicidal, obese urban teenager. Through the several hundred pages, he transforms into a battered-but-charismatic hero and troubled demigod. Kagan, the divers supporting characters and some of the Big Ideas are great: I was satisfyingly creeped out by the concept of a powerful AI spying on the world through the senses of millions of synthetic "wild animals". However, the highly metaphysical treatment of the nature of once of the species, and of "life force" generally leaves something to be desired, the "Love Reigns Supreme" moral is a tad heavy-handed, and the pseudoscientific rationalisations that appear here and there are bogus enough to break belief for any reader with any scientific nous. Then there is the writing style. Later Attanasio is lyrical and reads beautifully and easily. Here, he overdoes it. Some sentences are elliptical to the point of incoherence. Pretentiously florid adjectives are piled on top of hopelessly inappropriate metaphors. The overall effect is a bit like "Covenant"-era Stephen Donaldson trying to write a Greg Bear novel by channeling acidheads from Zeta Reticuli. Appeals to some, I suppose, but I am glad he grew out of it. NB: the extensive esoteric internal dialog of some characters, and the names-dates-and-glossary appendix. I can see why some readers are reminded of "Dune"...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the best May 31 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first read about this book on Amazon. They didn't have it. So I lookedand looked, finally I found it in the book section of my favorite storefor under 3 dollars. What a deal. This book is simply one of the bestbooks I have ever read, and my friends I have read a lot ofbooks.
Sumner Kagan has to be one of the most complex main charactersI've seen in a long time, and I still have yet to finish the book.Attanasio does a wonderful job of creating a world that is extremelycomplex and fascinating. It isn't a regular tale: characters that areintroduced and play somewhat of a large role in the story are killed offwithout thought in less than a paragraph.
I recommend this book toanyone who enjoyed Frank Herbert's DUNE series, or any other series in theSciFi/Fantasy genre. It's a classic.
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