The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
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Vast monuments start appearing around the globe celebrating military victories with dates in the future. How are they being created? Are they self-fulfilling prophecies? Can they be stopped? And should they? Wilson quickly sets up a very intriguing premise and then works it through with a good strong story.

I’ve previously only read Wilson’s Spin trilogy and I would say that I’m finding him quite consistent both in quality and content. I love hard science fiction although I’m not sure his stuff actually classifies as truly hard SF, as in the science being known and accurate. Rather Wilson takes valid known bits of science and then runs with them to some speculative place that is usually just about plausible and certainly very intriguing. And that works just fine for me resulting in all his books so far getting a solid 4 stars. Where he tends to fall down is in his characters; he really seems to struggle to make them as believable as his science, at least for me. I’m not quite sure why this is; I come away feeling they are a bit one dimensional and yet if I look back at their development that shouldn’t really be the case. Confusing. But one thing I do know is that he has a tendency to disappear down backstory rabbit holes and get lost there for far too long. These diversions that should be giving lots of good flesh to his characters somehow end up feeling irrelevant. So, I’m really not sure how he manages to give more character background than I want and still leaving me feeling like I don’t have enough background on them!

But I’m not a massively character driven reader, so I can live with that, and he does have some great and quite detailed science wrapped up in interesting plots. And Chronoliths delivers on both those counts.

4/5 stars
 

williamjm

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Apr 28, 2006
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I've read a few of Wilson's books, although not for a few years, and I would struggle now to tell you much about any of the characters in them although I can remember the ideas and plots relatively well.
 

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