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Wil McCarthy is a certified science fiction treasure. A real-life rocket scientist with a gorgeous writing style and rapier wit to boot, McCarthy continually sets a very high standard for good old-fashioned space stories. In The Collapsium, McCarthy builds on a lovely novella to tell the far-future story of two scientists entrenched in a rivalry that may save, or destroy, the solar system. Tamra Lutui, the Queen of Sol, brings together the brilliant enemies in order to prevent the Ring Collapsiter, a vast ring of strange matter, from falling into the sun. So it is that Bruno de Towaji, inventor of collapsium--crystals made up of tiny black holes that can transport matter instantaneously across vast distances--must find a way to work with Marlon Sykes, who came up with the Ring to change the nature of communication forever. McCarthy makes liberal use of his extensive science knowledge, especially when he describes the nature of high-concept physics ideas like collapsium or wellstone (programmable matter!), but luckily, his literary skills are up to the task of moving the narrative along, keeping us in suspense, and creating characters who are worth reading about. His descriptions of the physical phenomena surrounding the artifacts of high-energy material manipulation are deft and fascinating:
A handful of collapsons in low orbit had become--seemingly overnight--a nested cage of fractured spacetimes, one within the other like wooden babushka dolls, magical ones, straining at the very underpinnings of universal law. And orbiting right overhead!
Towaji and Sykes labor to save the Queendom and outwit the saboteur trying to wreck the Ring, all the while burdened by a byzantine and bureaucratic social structure with demands for party appearances, verbal sparring, and quick thinking. While those of us who aren't physics mavens might quail at some of the terms and ideas McCarthy casually uses, it's his characters and story that make The Collapsium a book to savor, a complex and layered story in the grand tradition of science fiction's masters. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Even when faced with multiple disasters created by mankind's over-reaching itself, the future as robotics expert McCarthy (Bloom) sees it is a wondrous place, filled with interesting scientific problems and intelligent people eager to tackle those problems. Foremost among the titans of the future is Bruno de Towaji, a scientific genius so exceptionally rich he has built his own miniature planet. There he performs experiments on collapsium, a crystalline matter composed of black holes that allow for the "bending and twisting of spacetime to his personal whims." He has been at this for many years of his immortal life, until he is called out of his happy hermitage by his former lover, Her Majesty Tamra Lutui, the Virgin Queen of All Things. Her scientists, led by Declarant Sykes, have built a collapsium ring around the sun that is now dangerously unstable; Bruno's expertise is needed to save the day. Bruno is used to having people need too much of him. Yet as the story progresses, what with murder and treachery being uncovered and the problems the queendom faces growing ever more complex, Bruno grows nobly into his role of both scientific and heroic savior. While there are amusing attributes and quirks to McCarthy's characters (such as Queen Tamra's virginity being a renewable asset), the greater pleasures of this novel lie in its hard science extrapolations. McCarthy plays up his technical strengths by providing a useful appendix and glossary for the mathematically inclined reader. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is a sweet little gem of a book that combines good storytelling with wild science that really hangs together quite well. Read morePublished on May 2 2003 by Arref Mak
Easily one of the most enchanting, touching, books I have read in a long time. Do yourself a favor: just read the first few pages. You'll be immediately hooked!Published on March 5 2003 by Coldwine
The Collapsium is one of the best books I've read. It has a style that is reminescent of earlier pulp sci-fi stories, and yet all its own. Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2003 by Tyler Stewart
This is one of the most original works of SF that I have seen in a while. Of all the stories that deal with the subject of black holes, I don't think it ever occured to anyone... Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2002 by Alan Deikman
This one really took me away from the humdrum of 21st century earth. McCarthy takes you on a wild ride where physics is almost magic. I had a great time with this one!Published on Oct. 31 2001
'Light' on the science and heavy on fiction but fun to read and that the most important part.Published on June 7 2001 by Hypersion
I need to preface this review by stating that I have no scientific background. I've never studied physics and have little to no interest in hard science fiction. Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2001 by Michael Scott
Wil McCarthy's new novel, The Collapsium, is built around such scientific speculations based on "edge science" ideas like using black holes as elementary particles. Read morePublished on Feb. 21 2001 by Richard R. Horton