April 8th, 2012


Book Review: The Chronoliths, by Robert Charles Wilson

A conqueror from the future terrorizes the past with monuments to his future victories.

The Chronoliths

Tor, 2001, 320 pages

Scott Warden is a man haunted by the past - and soon to be haunted by the future. In early 21st-century Thailand, Scott is an expatriate slacker. Then, one day, he inadvertently witnesses an impossible event: the violent appearance of a 200-foot stone pillar in the forested interior. Its arrival collapses trees for a quarter mile around its base, freezing ice out of the air and emitting a burst of ionizing radiation. It appears to be composed of an exotic form of matter. And the inscription chiseled into it commemorates a military victory - 16 years in the future.

Shortly afterwards, another, larger pillar arrives in the center of Bangkok - obliterating the city and killing thousands. Over the next several years, human society is transformed by these mysterious arrivals from, seemingly, our own near future. Who is the warlord "Kuin" whose victories they note?

Scott wants only to rebuild his life. But some strange loop of causality keeps drawing him in, to the central mystery and a final battle with the future.

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Verdict: The Chronoliths was a fast-paced read and a nice example of intelligent science fiction that is nicely balanced between the human aspects and the spec-fic elements. This was my first book by Robert Wilson; he's definitely worth reading again.

My complete list of book reviews.

Confessions of a Neckbeard

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ETA: Locked. Not because I'm a mean ol' lefty who can't stand to hear dissenting opinions (though I expect that's what jordan179 is going to claim), but because I have to go to work, I cannot access LJ at work, and I really don't want to read ten more pages of this shit when I get home.