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To Hold Infinity [Hardcover]

John Meaney

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Book Description

Sept. 5 2006
Devastated by her husband’s death, Earth-based biologist Yoshiko Sunadomari journeys to the paradise world of Fulgar to see her estranged son in the hope of bridging the gulf between them. But Tetsuo is in trouble. His expertise in mu-space technology and family links with the mysterious Pilots have ensured his survival — so far. Now he’s in way over his head — unwittingly caught up in a conspiracy of illegal tech-trafficking and corruption, and in the sinister machinations of one of Fulgar’s ruling elite: the charismatic Luculentus, Rafael Garcia de la Vega. When his home is attacked, Tetsuo flees to the planet’s unterraformed wastes, home to society’s outcasts and eco-terrorists.

So Yoshiko arrives on Fulgar to discover Tetsuo gone ... and wanted for murder. Ill at ease in this strange, stratified new world seething with social and political unrest but desperate to find her son and clear his name, she embarks on a course of action that will bring her face to face with the awesome, malevolent mind of Rafael.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 501 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr (Sept. 5 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591024897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591024897
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 4.1 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 885 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,573,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

First published to acclaim in the U.K. in 1998, Meaney's debut novel brings a bright lights/big city sensibility to the normally streetwise milieu of advanced neuro-tech. Like an SF Jay McInerney, Meaney (Paradox) portrays the vast social chasm on planet Fulgar from the viewpoint of Tetsuo Sunadomari, a gate-crasher to the perpetual party of its tech toy–ridden upper class. Picking the wrong data pocket sends Tetsuo into exile in the hypozone, the planet's unterraformed area and home of the Shadow People underclass. Yoshiko, his mother, investigates her son's disappearance with the help of Fulgari glitterati like Vin and Lori Maximilian. Mixing her biology background and martial arts training with Fulgari tech, Yoshiko becomes bait to trap the cyber serial killer responsible for Tetsuo's fugitive status. Meaney offers haiku poetry and Eastern philosophy as Yoshiko's counter to the materially wealthy but spiritually poor Fulgari elite. Unfortunately, the number of plot coincidences suggests he was seeking an old Greek/Roman device instead, the deus ex machina. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

John Meaney is the author of four novels——To Hold Infinity, Paradox, Context, and Resolution, the latter three titles comprising his critically-acclaimed Nulapeiron Sequence. He also has numerous short-fiction publication credits. His novelette "Sharp Tang" was short-listed for the British Science Fiction Association Award in 1995. His novella "The Whisper of Disks" was included in the 2003 edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois. His novella "The Swastika Bomb" was reprinted in The Best Short Science Fiction Novels of the Year (2004), edited by Jonathan Strahan. His story "Diva’s Bones" was reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy 5, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. Meaney has a degree in physics and computer science, and holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate. He lives in England. Visit his website at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising but not quite successful first novel about enhanced humans Sept. 1 2006
By Richard R. Horton - Published on
Kudos to Pyr for bringing a number of fine British novels to US readers. The latest I've seen is John Meaney's To Hold Infinity, the author's first novel, which on its appearance in 1998 was shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel.

All that said, while I found To Hold Infinity interesting -- certainly worth reading -- I thought it more a promising first novel than a book worthy of being shortlisted for the best novel of the year -- any year. There are plenty of neat ideas, and some pretty nice action, and a mostly engaging set of characters. But in addition the plot is a bit too driven by coincidence and convenience. Characters figure things out in unrealistic ways. The love stories are almost perfunctory. The nasty villain is an interesting creation, but his comeuppance is terribly underplayed, quite unsatisfying. There is some fairly pointless technobabble. And the book is a great deal too long.

The story concerns a colony world, Fulgar, partly terraformed, on which a very high tech society has developed. The key to the society is an elite group called Luculenti, people who have been technologically enhanced by the addition of plexcores, artificial brains, in a sense. There seems to be some social stratification as a result -- an interesting aspect of this society that is unfortunately underexplored. One of the leading Luculenti is Rafael Garcia de la Vega, but he is a psychopath, who has exploited some new technology to become a sort of mind vampire, capable of sucking the memories and personality of other Luculenti into his own illegally expanded set of plexcores. He concentrates on beautiful and talented women.

Rafael has sponsored an immigrant from Earth, Tetsuo Sunadomari, an expert on the mu-space tech that Rafael uses illegally, for upgrade to Luculentus status. But naïve Tetsuo has stumbled across some explosive information, hinting at corruption within the quasi-police force of Fulgar, the TacCorps. Tetsuo manages to escape to the unterraformed parts of Fulgar, where he falls in with a group devoted, it seems, to preservation of Fulgar in a more natural state.

At the same time Tetsuo's mother, Yoshiko, is coming to Fulgar to visit her son, still mourning her husband's untimely death. She is quickly "adopted," in a sense, by a Luculentus family. Through her eyes we get a view of the fairly interesting Luculentus society. But before long, Rafael intrudes and, somewhat improbably, Yoshiko perceives his villainous nature. And Rafael's latest mind rape is witnessed by Yoshiko, leading to the climax, in which she makes a daring attempt to trap him. All along, Tetsuo and his new friends are working away on what should be quite interesting projects, which come, in the final analysis, to nothing.

So -- there are lots of potentially neat aspects to this book. It certainly shows a writer worth watching. But I can't say that the promise displayed is in quite realized here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting science fiction mystery Sept. 3 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
On earth, biologist Yoshiko Sunadomari mourns the loss of her spouse as she informs her son Tetsuo, a mu-space technocrat expert residing on another orb Fulgar. When he fails to respond to her, she becomes worried because, though estranged, that is so out of character for Tetsuo especially when it comes to his father. Yoshiko journeys to Fulgor only to learn that her offspring has vanished into the non-terraformed wasteland where the rebellious reside because the bio-technologically enhanced Luculenti rulers demand law enforcement arrest him for murder.

Yoshiko refuses to go home as encouraged or sit around idly waiting for harm to come to her son. She begins to investigate and soon learns why her child hastily raced into self-exile as she too uncovers a conspiracy of tech contraband trafficking led by the charming techno leader Rafael Garcia de la Vega. She plans to prove her son is innocent and to confront this charismatic Luculentus though Yoshiko is now the target of her son's enemies.

This an exciting science fiction mystery in which the audience will appreciate that the world of Fulgar seems genuine with its three prime tier society: Luculentus, other earthling techs, and the outcasts; in fact the Luculentus serves as an alien species though what they are actually is enhanced humans. The story line for the most part is fast-paced especially as the audience anticipates the showdown between the good guy and his mom vs. the more powerful bad dude. However, the inclusion of programming somewhat slows down the thriller (not used frequently) even as this technique also adds to the feel of a future technological realm. Readers will enjoy this exhilarating tale that extrapolates today's biological nanotechnology into a delightful story.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps more than meets the eye... Sept. 11 2010
By Dokter123 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I will confess, from the outset, that I am not finished reading this book - however - I have finished reading the Kindle version of Meaney's - "Paradox: Book I of the Nulapeiron Sequence" as well as his Bone/Blood series. And as an aside, having already downloaded the Kindle version of the third in the Nulapeiron series I am frustrated at having had to order the hard copy version of the second as it is *not* available in the Kindle store - aaargh. Anyhow, back to this current work...from what I can tell, Meaney, in writing "To Hold Infinity," is further contributing to the consistent universe described in detail in his Nulapeiron series. Perhaps, therefore, this book should not be judged *only* as a stand alone work. Silvered eye sockets, mu space navigation, and the ever-elusive group known as The Pilots suggest multivolume coherence which includes not only this particular work but all of the Nulapeiron books as well, a la Banks' Culture series.

I'll write a more relevant review of this work when I've finished reading it - however don't expect the review to be a particularly objective literary critique as I have very much enjoyed all of Meaney's books that I've read thus far including the first of the Nulapeiron trilogy and the Blood series (I bought the last in the trilogy twice because they were published with different names!). I suspect I will overlook this particular book's shortcomings, view it as yet another clue in the ever-enlarging body of work/ever-larger puzzle that Meaney appears to be offering to us to sort out, and simply enjoy it.

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader Sept. 3 2007
By Blue Tyson - Published on
A woman is involved in trying to bring one of the upper crust members of a society to justice. They have brain enhancing technology here, and this man has developed a method to basically become a brain sucker, a very nasty act of violence and depredation.

She also gets to employ her kung fu skills in the process.

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