HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Cusanus Game by Wolfgang Jeschke
Loading...

The Cusanus Game (2005)

by Wolfgang Jeschke

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
873197,098 (3.43)15

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 15 mentions

English (2)  French (1)  All languages (3)
Showing 2 of 2
The greatness of this book lies in its novel mechanics of time travel, its structure, its setpieces, its mixture of alternate history and time travel, its poignancy and paradoxes, and the fate of a heroine whose voice is so appealing.

The titular game, named after a real 15th century ecclesiastical Nicolaus Cusanus who plays an important part in the story, is the organizing metaphor for the novel’s structure and the suggestive counterpoint for the journey of Domenica, a botanist who narrates most of the book. It’s a game where modified balls are thrown at a target, no game or moment in time is ever the same, and indirection is a strategy, patience a necessity.

And so it is with the opening of this book, a prologue that starts out like some tale of time travelers confronting medieval primitives, but it’s really just Europeans coming out from behind the walls (figurative and literal) they’ve built to keep hordes of refugees, fleeing climate change, from moving into northern Europe. And it’s not like there’s as much room as there used to be on the continent. A large swatch of Germany has been rendered uninhabitable by plutonium poisoning.

Patience is needed for the first 100 or so pages as Domenica is introduced, her voice leisurely giving us a travelogue of a violent Rome of the mid-21st century, a city plagued, by other things, feral talking dogs, weapons of war abandoned. And then the pace picks up as Domenica is recruited into a secret Vatican project to travel back in time to get genetic samples of extinct flora. Foreshadowing obvious and not so obvious is rife as early sections have Cusanus ominously speaking of a strange woman about to be burned as a witch.

Jeschke’s time travelers are memorably compared to “dogs on a subway”. They have little idea how their time travel system works or who built it or why, indeed little beyond some basic features they can exploit. Jeschke cleverly uses not only standard scenes of dialogue to explain things but epigraphs from cosmologists and artificial intelligence researchers like Albert Einstein and John Wheeler and David Deutsch and Cusanus himself to rationalize by suggestive speculation.

The plot, like the balls of Cusanus’ game, veers all around. Poignancy and suspense can quickly change to farce. Long travelogue sections suddenly become quick cut scenes of impending doom as Domenica goes on missions into time with both professional and personal ends. Why time travel dooms romance among its practioneers is laid out.

Some set pieces aren’t strictly necessary. A frail old woman tells how she alone survived years of isolation in space after a doomed Mars mission. Wheelchair bound veterans battle youths in Amsterdam street riots. But I enjoyed them as well as Jeschke’s extended extrapolations of virtual reality and nanotechnology.

In the middle of the book, is a chapter called “The Cusan Acceleratio”and previously published as a short. It’s a quite detailed timeline of an alternate history and integral to the book. It’s also understandable to see why Jeschke says it was the most difficult section to write.

Not so integral to the plot are the several almost identical scenes with Cusanus. I understand the purpose: to show how alterations in timelines affect Cusanus. However, I think they could have been shortened, and that was the book’s only flaw for me besides some predictable German phobias about nuclear power.

The ending is powerful and unexpected. The narrative stops in quite an unpredictable place. ( )
1 vote RandyStafford | Jun 4, 2014 |
An elaborated time travel story with a pinch of postapocalyptic and paralell universe vision. One of the best time travel theory I've ever read (perhaps after Asimov's). Jeschke at his best. A must read for every hard SF fan! ( )
  TheCrow2 | Oct 29, 2009 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Hinter der hochgeschichteten Sandsackbarriere tauchte ein Mann auf.
Quotations
Last words
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 076531908X, Hardcover)

Biologist Domenica Ligrina fears her planet is dying. She might be right.

An atomic disaster near the French-German border has contaminated Northern Europe with radioactivity. Economic and political calamities are destroying the whole planet. Human DNA is mutating, plant species are going extinct, and scientists are feverishly working on possible solutions. It becomes increasingly apparent that the key to future salvation lies in the past. In 2052 a secret research facility in the Vatican is recruiting scientists for a mission to restore the flora of the irradiated territories. The institute claims to have time travel. When Domenica’s sometime-lover tells her that he knows her future but that she must decide her own fate, she enlists despite his ambiguous warning. 

The Middle Ages hold Domenica spellbound. She immerses herself in the mysteries, puzzles, and peculiarities of a culture foreign to her, though she risks changing the past with effects far more disastrous than radiation poisoning. Perhaps there is more than one Domenica, and more than one catastrophe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:17 -0400)

"Biologist Domenica Ligrina fears her planet is dying. She might be right. An atomic disaster in Germany has contaminated Northern Europe with radioactivity. Economic and political calamities are destroying the whole planet. Human DNA is mutating, plant species are going extinct, and scientists are feverishly working on possible solutions. It becomes increasingly apparent that the key to future salvation lies in the past. In 2052 a secret research facility in the Vatican is recruiting scientists for a mission to restore the flora of the irradiated territories. The institute claims to have time travel. When Domenica's sometime-lover tells her that he knows her future but that she must decide her own fate, she enlists despite his ambiguous warning. The Middle Ages hold Domenica spellbound. She immerses herself in the mysteries, puzzles, and peculiarities of a culture foreign to her, though she risks changing the past with effects far more disastrous than radiation poisoning. Perhaps there is more than one Domenica, and more than one catastrophe"--… (more)

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.43)
0.5
1 2
1.5
2 4
2.5
3 3
3.5
4 6
4.5 2
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,988,813 books! | Top bar: Always visible