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Void Star: A Novel by Zachary Mason
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Void Star: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Zachary Mason (Author)

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1028168,584 (3.47)1
Member:eclipse75048
Title:Void Star: A Novel
Authors:Zachary Mason (Author)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2017), Edition: 1st Edition, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction, science fiction, September 2017

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Void Star: A Novel by Zachary Mason

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    Virtual Light by William Gibson (tetrachromat)
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    Otherland 1 - 4 by Tad Williams (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: General plot similarities. Otherwise, quite different (but worthy).
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    River of Gods by Ian McDonald (Anonymous user)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
It is great to read science fiction that's targeted at more than a grade-school reading level. In this case, though, Mason gets too caught up in his language, to the detriment of plot and character development. (And Mason's writing, while fun, isn't fantastic. I've never read an author who likes "flocculent" so much.) The dream/cyber scenes, à la the Matrix, are particularly hard to read; Mason is trying too hard to make his writing "magical," and it comes across a bit inane. I was least convinced by Thales (a main character whose name we are told how to pronounce 300+ pages in).

The ending is anticlimactic. After having meandered through most of the book, Mason suddenly expects us to see this as an epic story---and it's not. The villain is dispatched in a costless chapter (with our heroes only watching on TV), and the shadowy "mathematician" AI is exposed and sent away, again in one chapter.

- “Did it work out? Whatever you were trying to do?”
- “I think so. If it hadn’t I don’t think I’d be here. I don’t remember very much about it, and to be honest I don’t care."

If the characters can't stir themselves to care, how can we? ( )
  breic | Aug 30, 2018 |
An outstanding book. It seems perhaps a little unfair to pop it in the "post cyberpunk" pigeonhole, but it does deal with AI, implants, hackers, martial arts, memory and the nature of reality, so: it is what it is. However, the prose style is spare and beautiful, the characters affecting and the narrative intriguing. We need more books of this calibre. ( )
  AleatoricConsonance | Apr 2, 2018 |
At least two realities and multiple vp characters do not help the flow of this story. A completely unappealing future isn't for everyone either. Good inventiveness, but not really much fun. ( )
  quondame | Dec 2, 2017 |
Forgive me, but I can't pick up this book without hearing David Bowie's "Black Star" and needing to sing a couple of bars of it before reading: "I'm a Void Star, I'm a Void Star; I'm not a monst[aa]r, ahhhhh ohhhhh aaaaaa." Singing the song several several times over led me to the totally unstoned conclusion that these works of art categorically belong together. One category under which they fall (for me) is Perplexing Things. Others are Sci-Fi, “Genre Fiction,” Discursive Fiction, Detailed Fodder for RPG DMs.

I admire Mr. Mason immensely. Lost Books of the Odyssey was excellent, and the audacity of a first-time novelist daring to interpolate the greatest story ever told is...well, ballsy. Even as a consummate Ancient Snob I remain duly impressed. LBOTO has nothing to do with Bowie's Blackstar, and yet they both fall under my personal category: In the Presence of Skin-Prickling Genius.

I can’t say that Mason’s second novel impressed me on the same level. He’s got a lot of very smart, interesting, philosophical ideas about time, memory and self-hood going on, but the attempt to reflect those ideas into the form of the novel itself seemed to me overburdened. He had too many good ideas; given more revisions I think Mason could’ve hit that sweet spot where form and content inform each other seamlessly.

I’ll still read everything the man writes. This didn’t thrill me like the first, but it also didn’t leave me in doubt of Mason’s talent. ( )
  reganrule | Oct 24, 2017 |
Glad I didn't see the earlier reviews, because they would've probably prevented me from reading this. It was excellent and reminiscent of classic cyberpunk.Yes, there are the standby tropes of cyberpunk, but that's kind of what defines the genre, haha. ( )
  eclipse75048 | Sep 9, 2017 |
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...Metatemetatem, an AI that makes other AIs...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374285063, Hardcover)

A riveting, beautifully written, fugue-like novel of AIs, memory, violence, and mortality

Not far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it’s still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn’t rich, not quite, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect recall and lets her act as a medium between her various employers and their AIs, which are complex to the point of opacity. It’s a good gig, paying enough for the annual visits to the Mayo Clinic that keep her from aging.

Kern has no such access; he’s one of the many refugees in the sprawling drone-built favelas on the city’s periphery, where he lives like a monk, training relentlessly in martial arts, scraping by as a thief and an enforcer. Thales is from a different world entirely―the mathematically inclined scion of a Brazilian political clan, he’s fled to L.A. after the attack that left him crippled and his father dead.

A ragged stranger accosts Thales and demands to know how much he can remember. Kern flees for his life after robbing the wrong mark. Irina finds a secret in the reflection of a laptop’s screen in her employer’s eyeglasses. None are safe as they’re pushed together by subtle forces that stay just out of sight.

Vivid, tumultuous, and propulsive, Void Star is Zachary Mason’s mind-bending follow-up to his bestselling debut, The Lost Books of the Odyssey.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:35:11 -0500)

Although the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, it's still a good time to be in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn't rich, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect recall and lets her act as a medium between her various employers and their AIs, which are complex to the point of opacity. It's a good gig, paying enough for the annual visits to the Mayo Clinic that keep her from aging. Kern, on the other hand, has no such access; he's one of the many refugees in the sprawling drone-built favelas on the city's periphery, where he lives like a monk, training relentlessly in martial arts, scraping by as a thief and an enforcer. Thales, the mathematically inclined scion of a Brazilian political clan, has fled to L.A. after an attack that left him crippled and his father dead. Life goes on until one day, Irina finds a secret in the reflection of a laptop's screen in her employer's eyeglasses, Kern steals from the wrong mark, and a ragged stranger accosts Thales and demands to know how much he can remember. As they're pushed together by subtle forces that stay just out of sight, Irina, Kern, and Thales learn that none are safe.--… (more)

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