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Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century…
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Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America (original 1964; edition 2010)

by Robert Charles Wilson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6272822,169 (3.61)39
Member:auntmarge64
Title:Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America
Authors:Robert Charles Wilson
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2010), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Kindle, Read but unowned, Reviewed
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction

Work details

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America by Robert Charles Wilson (1964)

  1. 00
    Davy by Edgar Pangborn (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Wilson makes several homages to Davy, presumably because he was inspired by it to write his novel
  2. 12
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Two novels on repressive near futures in a decayed North America.
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» See also 39 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
It didn't take long to speed through Julian Comstock, for all its 700 or so pages, because it's grand storytelling. What came to mind as I finished it were the critics who saw Star Wars as a western set in space. That is, this story could have successfully been told of any age or society in which an entrenched hierarchy breeds young heroes who successfully challenge it. Like, uh, Star Wars. For me the enjoyment wasn't so much in the world-building, which is fairly slight, but in the characters who inhabit it, especially the young narrator and his best friend Julian, the aristocrat who challenges his evil uncle for leadership. I loved the narrator, and it's more his story than Julian's, but centering it on Julian makes a believable hook for hanging a tale meant for people who lived at that time. So, another winner from Robert Charles Wilson. ( )
  auntmarge64 | Oct 2, 2017 |
A future-history after the fall of modern society, this book imagines a world of new-slavery and religious domination in a new, agrarian United State. The only drawbacks are a slightly jarring chane in protagonists two-thirds of the way through the story and frequent use of untranslate French phrases which, while not detracting from the story, certainly distracted from it. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Amazing period piece (19th Century as 22nd, America) and 1st person bildungsroman featuring the once and future President, Julian Comstock (Conqueror). Lots of beautiful, playful language that illustrates the landscape with vigor and precision. Fizzled a bit at the end, but that may just be my hero-worship bias rearing its' ugly head (it is a Tragedy, unfortunately). I came to love the characters within. ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
Did not finish. It feels like Wilson wanted to write a clichéd, predictable, traditional fairytale/adventure in an unlikely post-apokalyptic setting (though not really apokalyptic, the world has simply come down from previous, excessive consumption fuelled by oil) as some kind of experiment, but I just got bored. Not recommended. ( )
  ohernaes | Apr 3, 2016 |
I've not read every Robert Charles Wilson novel, but I've read a fair number of his earlier works, and this just might be his best book ever. Richly told, with wonderful detail, it is the story of, yes, Julian Comstock, popular hero and nephew to the current President of the re-formed United States, but also of our narrator, Adam Hazzard, Julian's childhood friend and an aspiring writer. The world they live in (so wonderfully envisioned by Wilson), now a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, the Fall of the Cities, the False Tribulation, and after the days of the Pious Presidents, resembles the 19th century (a century that is very much admired in the current thought of the Church of the Dominion, which, as its name suggests, dominants). It is this 19th century "feel" and the easy-going storytelling from Adam that draws us in, and It takes only a few pages—maybe only one—for a reader to be completely hooked.

While a great romp of a story, it also gives a nod to the writing and the art of storytelling. When Adam takes his first attempts of documenting his war experience, he is told by a veteran war journalist that, "Accuracy and drama are the Scylla and Charybdis of journalism, Adam. Steer between them, is my advice, but list toward drama, if you want a successful career." Later when Adam is assisting Julian with his lifelong dream of making movie of Charles Darwin's life, he asks, "Do you want to tell the truth, or do you want to tell a story?"

Interesting note: I recently came across a review on the web that connected this book with the subject matter of Gore Vidal's novel Julian: A Novel about the 4th century Roman emperor Julian (aka Julian the Apostate). The reviewer convinced me that the connection is likely not accidental. ( )
  avaland | Aug 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
its sense of adventure, the unlikely accomplishments of its hero, and a cast of colorful characters make it the twenty-second century equivalent of what once would have been called a ripping good yarn.
added by sdobie | editSF Site, Greg L. Johnson (Feb 1, 2010)
 
JULIAN COMSTOCK is a buffet of cool delights: The plot is epic; its steampunky Wild West future evokes the Bruce Campbell series THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY JR.; the characters are unique takes on classic archetypes; and the prose sounds authentically vintage without being hard to understand or difficult to read.
added by sdobie | editBookgasm, Ryun Patterson (Sep 28, 2009)
 
Politically astute, romantic, philosophical, compassionate and often uproariously funny, Julian Comstock may be Wilson's best book yet -- and that's saying a lot of a man who has already collected a shelf full of awards for books like Spin.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Jun 24, 2009)
 
Julian Comstock reminds us that inevitably, every generation imperfectly remembers the past. The best we can hope for is that the future will remember the constructive ideas we've left behind rather than the unhelpful ones. This novel is about why the struggle over cultural memory may be the most important of all.
added by PhoenixTerran | editio9, Annalee Newitz (May 29, 2009)
 

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Robert Charles Wilsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
We read the past by the list of the present, and the forms vary as the shadows fall, or as the point of vision alters.—James Anthony Froude.

Look not for roses in Attalus his garden, or wholesome flowers in a venomous plantation. And since there is scarce anyone bad , but some others are the worse for him, tempt not contagion by proximity, and hazard not thyself in the shadow of corruption.—Sir Thomas Browne
Crowns, generally speaking, have thorns.—Arthur E. Hertzler
Dedication
To Mr. William Taylor Adams of Massachusetts, who might not have approved of it, this book is nevertheless respectfully and gratefully dedicated.
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I mean to set down here the story of the life and adventures of Julian Comstock, better known as Julian the Agnostic or (after his uncle) Julian Conqueror.
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As the United States struggles back to prosperity in the 22nd Century, the dashing Captain Commongold faces treachery and intrigue while being at fatal odds with the hierarchy of the Dominion for his beliefs in the doctrines of the Secular Ancients.

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