The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After I finished the Gaia trilogy, I knew I had to keep going through all of John Varley's work.
It's not a compulsion. It's a necessity for the sake of my love of SF.
John Varley is one of the most impressive authors of the field I've had the pleasure to experience. The imagination and the devotion to pushing all those envelopes is the key to my love. :)
This one starts out noir with cloning goodness, moves on pretty quickly to the fate of the Earth and how it had been invaded, very successfully, to save the fishes and to oust the rest of humanity as lower life-forms. If the intrigue to Free Earth hadn't been enough, there was the whole business about the message being transmitted just outside of the reach of the inner system, the one letting us know that the bill has come due for the instantaneous communication technology we'd been using for the last five hundred years.
I guess it's time to figure out if humanity is doomed two times over!
Maybe it sounds like a joke, but it's hardly anything like a joke. The telling of it is all adventure, immortality, corruption, intrigue, and pure imagination through and through. The joy is really in the execution.
And the ending? Wow. Like, totally wow. This is easily one of the very best Hard SF novels I've ever read. It's right up there with anything I can think of. It explores time, memory, and even the social aspects of what alien races might think or do and how they could relate to any other species.
I'm tempted to rank it right up there on the same level as Cixin Liu's latest English-translated trilogy starting with Three Body Problem and ending with Death's End, and I haven't even read Varley's subsequent novels. :)
You can guess that I'll be picking up books two and three very soon. :) This is on another level compared to most modern SF. Let's just call it an undisputed classic. :) '77 and timeless.
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