(Del Rey/Random House, Aug '00, ISBN 0-345-40856-X, $US 24.95
(Courtesy of Amazon.com)
In the eighth decade of the Queendom of Sol, three commodities
rule the day. The first is wellstone, a form of programmable matter
capable of emulating almost any substance: natural, artificial, even hypothetical.
The second is collapsium, a deadly crystal composed of miniature black
holes, vital for the transmission of information and matter -- including
humans -- throughout the solar system. The third is the bitter rivalry
between Her Majesty's top scientists.
Bruno de Towaji, famed lover and statesman, dreams of building an
de fin, an almost mythical device capable of probing the farthest reaches
of spacetime. Marlon Sykes, de Towaji's rival in both love and science,
is meanwhile hard at work on a vast telecommunications project whose first
step is the construction of a ring of collapsium around the sun.
But when a ruthless saboteur attacks the Ring Collapsiter and sends it
falling into the sun, the two scientists must put aside personal animosity
and combine their prodigious intellects to prevent the destruction of the
solar system... and every living thing within it.
Awards, Citations, Etc.
Amazon.com "Best of the Year"
Sturgeon Award Nominee
(for the opening novella, "Once Upon a Matter Crushed":
SF Age, May '99)
Locus Recommended Reading List
Borders "Tractor Beam" Best of 2000 List
U.S. Patent No. 6,978,070, "Fiber incorporating quantum dots as programmable dopants"
Nebula Award Finalist
||Eastman Press (leatherbound collector's edition)
||The Science Fiction Book Club (as THE MONARCHS
"Wil McCarthy is a certified science fiction treasure, a real-life
rocket scientist with a gorgeous writing style and rapier wit to boot.
[While his] high-concept physics ideas... are deft and fascinating, it's
his characters and story that make The Collapsium a book to savor,
a complex and layered story in the grand tradition of science fiction's
masters." -- Therese Littleton, Amazon.com
"Ingenious and witty... as if Terry Pratchett at his zaniest
and Larry Niven at his best had collaborated." -- Roland Green,
"Fresh and imaginative. From a plausible yet startling
invention, McCarthy follows the logical lines of sight, building in parallel
the technological and societal innovations. 'Our Pick.' I wanted
to visit this Queendom and meet these people." -- Mark Wilson, Science
"The future as McCarthy sees it is a wondrous place. While
there are amusing attributes and quirks to McCarthy's characters, the greater
pleasures of this novel lie in its hard science extrapolations. McCarthy
plays us his technical strengths by providing a useful appendix and glossary
for the mathematically inclined reader." -- Publishers Weekly
"A fairy tale [with]... the most delicious superscience since
Larry Niven's Ringworld. Stylistic diversity and hard scientific
rigor blended with panache and striking imagination. McCarthy works
hard to draw out pathos and character development. Genuinely exciting
-- a wonderful hoot." -- Damien Broderick, The New York Review of Science
"McCarthy has pushed his work to a new level. A very
deft storytelling touch added to his engineering experience makes The
Collapsium a standout novel. McCarthy has added a lyricism reminiscent
of Roger Zelazny to cutting-edge hard science in the manner of Robert L.
Forward." -- Fred Cleaver, The Denver Post
"[McCarthy] studs his narrative with far-out scientific concepts
that he defends in a series of appendices. He certainly has a sense
of humor. [Protagonist] Bruno de Towaji... is surely speaking for
his creator when he assures another character, 'Imagination really is the
only limit.'" -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times
"[A] comedy of manners about High Physics, immortality, mad
scientists, and murder. Great fun [with a] Wodehouse-meets-Doc-Smith
aesthetic. As ingenious as the physics and special effects are, it
is their juxtaposition to the wit and comedy that gives the novel its particular
flavor. [A] playful, thoughtful book." -- Russell Letson, Locus
"Top notch. Terribly good fun. This very funny
book has something for everyone." -- Niko Silvester, Entertainment Tomorrow
"McCarthy knows his physics, and makes it extremely easy to
suspend disbelief. He creates a world that is both foreign and amazing...
but in McCarthy's hands it appears all but inevitable." -- J.M. Frank,
"Quite entertaining. The science is larger-than-life,
and so are the characters." -- Rich Horton, SF Site
"I don't recall the last time a book made me laugh out loud.
I did so here on page 146, and at the book's end I did so again... though
my eyes were moist as well. McCarthy has created a story here that
is distinctly Asimovian in flavor, though his voice is very much his own."
-- Ernst Lilley, SFrevu
"Prepare to use your grey matter. [McCarthy] fills his
pages with lovingly rendered descriptions... but it is the strength of
his scientific imagination that really shines through." -- Rob Williams,
SFX Magazine (UK)
"A most dazzling future. What follows is a mind-spinning
struggle that recalls a Henry Fielding novel of manners, Michael Moorcock's
epic sagas and the cosmic free-for-alls of Doc Smith. There's fascinating
science aplenty, mad scientists, robots running amok... What more
could you want?" -- Terry Dowling, The Weekly Australian
"A decidedly odd but enjoyable mix of mannered, decadent comedy
and far-out physics. I liked and was even prepared to believe in
[it]." -- David Langford, Ansible (UK)
"Exceptionally enjoyable. McCarthy's writing is bright
and sparkling, humorous and romantic. I was enthralled... [and] it
all turned out very well indeed. Make a point of reading this."
-- SF Reviews
"The author of Bloom once again demonstrates his talent
for mind-expanding sf. Vibrant with humor, drama,
and quirky ideas. Highly recommended" -- Library Journal
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