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The Phoenix Exultant, book #2 of The Golden Age by John C. Wright
Review by Mike 2004-02-18The Phoenix Exultant continues the story right where The Golden Age left off, and follows Phaeton on a quest to regain his possessions and to expose his mysterious enemy.
Wright’s version of our future is a highly developed society where the functions of the brain has been fully understood, and a number of different life forms have been created – immortals, mass minds, artificial intelligence to name a few. Data transfer between brain and computer is possible, and most people spend a large amount of their time in a virtual reality of great sophistication. The solar system is conquered and amazing, planet-scale engineering feats have been performed.
But even in this golden age everything may not be well. Has the artificial intelligence become too powerful? Is the society too rigid? Has mankind lost its curiosity and strive for progress? These are some of the questions Phaeton is struggling to solve on his quest for the truth.
I found the first book in the series (The Golden Age) somewhat difficult to get into due to the highly technical language, but once I got past that obstacle I realized that there was an intriguing story underneath all the cyberspace stuff and strange mind alterations. The Phoenix Exultant is a bit more straightforward, even though you are not quite sure where the plot is going until the end. My only complaints are that sometimes the characters get a bit too… obviously fictional, perhaps, and that the heroism the book is portraying is old-fashioned and male oriented. However, that did not stop me from enjoying The Phoenix Exultant quite a bit, and I can recommend it to any fan of science fiction - 4 starships out of 5.
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