The climactic finish to the Golden Age Trilogy is here. And by ‘here’ I actually mean on my blog seeing as the book was published back in 2003. It was definitely climactic; with much more action, much less description, and much fewer loose ends. As is the case with all good science fiction there are still some strands of the story left blowing in the wind so as to peak the minds of the readers and show that the future will continue to amaze and confound our intellect.
In this final installment of the trilogy all the minds in the universe are preparing for the Transcendence: when every human, post-human, and machine mind will be connected to glimpse the future. At this moment the Golden Oecumene will be weakest and this is when the invaders from the Silent Oecumene will strike. Phaethon, finally the helmsman of his glorious ship, is the only one able to put a stop to the assault that no one else knows is coming. To do this he will have to fly his ship into the center of the sun and confront the Nothing Sophotec. If he succeeds he will prevent mass murder and war from sweeping over the solar system, but if he fails he may loose everything he has fought to gain.
This was my favorite of the three books. My main reason for this is that the first two books needed to cover so much description and explanation that was rather complex. Exhausting and sometimes confusing, this made the first two books harder to get through. I enjoyed them and felt they added to my knowledge for how to approach the genre, but due to the time period of 100,000 years in the future it was hard for me to understand all the technology at first. By the third book I had been introduced to it long enough to grasp what everything was, how it worked, and how it interacted with everything else.
Which brings me to the point of how incredibly impressed I was with this trilogy and the author. The world Wright created was so very detailed in technology, politics, philosophy, and psychology. If there had been religion I’m sure it would have been equally as detailed and impressive. As I have been writing and gathering ideas for my future books I’m realizing that there is a great deal of research and thought that must go into the world construction of any fantasy or science fiction story. And John C. Wright didn’t slack on his world construction in the slightest.
Also, as with all the best science fiction stories, The Golden Age Trilogy has a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) theme that investigates human nature. In this trilogy I found the main theme to be the investigation of morality; is there a universal right and wrong? If there is, then morality separates itself from the common idea in modern time that whatever we believe to be right is good. Here he takes a look at what is right and if it is always right regardless of who is looking at it. As a Christian I believe in a right and wrong that is universal, but I know that others have differing beliefs than myself and I enjoyed the philosophical argument that Wright played with. I don’t know how others view morality but reading this book helped strengthen my view of how I see the concept of good and evil, right and wrong. What Wright argues in the book is that morality isn’t grey, but simply black and white; there are no double standards or extenuating circumstances. I would have to think about his ideas more, but whether or not I agree with all of them I find them to be fascinating.
I believe that is what I enjoyed the most about this book. The action was fun and the advanced technology was interesting, but the philosophical debates that occurred between the different characters, especially between Phaethon and the Nothing Sophotec were genius. From what I have read of Plato’s Republic they remind me of some of the Socratic arguments that are recorded therein. The logic, though not indefatigable, are well constructed and expertly executed to provide a basis of logic that is difficult, if not impossible to outmaneuver. If this kind of thing appeals to you then you may enjoy this brand of science fiction. Though sometimes hard to find in bookstores and libraries, The Golden Age Trilogy is a great series to add to your science fiction reading list.