Wednesday, February 02, 2005

John C. Wright's Golden Age series

The Golden Age The Phoenix Exultant The Golden Transcendence

The abovementioned/pictured trilogy took me all of 5 days to consume, and yes it was tasty. The tale's protagonist is a character named Phaeton, a daring playboy (similar to, however a more serious version of H2G2's Zaphod Beeblebrox) whose character is a metaphor to the Phaeton of greek mythology, whose father was Helios the Sun God.

Without giving away the plot, I just wanted to discuss one of the most [literally] mind-bending devices the author uses with relish in this series; complete control of both the conscious and subconcious mind. Before you click away in disgust, this isn't another "Matrix" story. This is a tale about a future where men can take a step back from their conciousness and make rational choices (yeah, a redundancy) from within their subconcious mind, before the "reasoning" is tainted with outside influence. I know I'm not really explaining this concept well, and thats why you should read this series, but to help you visualize this concept, think of it as a self-imposed, and reversible autistic mind behaviour, where the reasoner is closed off from the world and its irrational prejudices, and can then identify where his concious mind is trying to steer him and for what motive.

It's also a world where men can have their memories redacted, or edited and filled with an alternate version of a story for consistency, for instance to remove all traces of a close friends' death. Of course there are tradeoffs, and the author makes use of this device, both literally and figuratively speaking. A prime example of this technology in use would be to avoid an unpleasant friend; you simply have it actively rewriting the events in your memory, so that even if he's shaking your hand at the moment, you "think" you're drinking a margarita and having dinner with your wife for example. Think of it as a pop-up-blocker, and obnoxious ad-replacer for the human realm of experience.

Well, thats all for now. I'll try to add some more another time.

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