The Arrows of Time by Greg Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm still in awe of this trilogy, and only for one reason: the math.
Oh, god, no, please, no, no more math, right? Well, Egan took math and built a universe for us and then populated it with interesting aliens discovering their universe from step to step. You could call this a mystery, or you could call it the basic drive to KNOW, but either way, we're taking this ride and Egan is taking us FAR off the charts of normal SF.
Say what you will about the characters or the basic plots. The fact that he has twirled them and us around a VERY different kind of universe is amazing.
And our generational mountain-ship aliens are caught in a very determination/non-determination story loop. Which is very a familiar territory for SF fans. So even if you don't quite GET the math which kinda inverts the whole space-effect and inverts the whole light effect. Where life forms and rocks emit light, where gravity is curved on the other side, where there is no light-speed, but rotation can take you to infinite energies and space-like loops in time.
Our generational mountain-ship is caught in something akin to a civil-war between those who want to see into the fixed future and deal with the effects of knowing--on the resulting changes in the future because they knew, versus those who choose to just DO WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO DO ANYWAY. :)
And while there's a bit less math in this one than the first two books, thank goodness, it does resolve a few of the more interesting feminist issues regarding DYING just because you gave birth. I'm quite happy with the result. :)
Bottom-line: Do I recommend this for all SF readers? No. But for anyone who wants to be challenged, to have something really super-number-juicy to sink your brain into? Definitely. Read this trilogy. :)
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