The Wellstone

Book 2 of The Queendom of Sol

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In his Nebula Award-nominated novel The Collapsium, acclaimed author Wil McCarthy introduced a richly imagined future of boundless possibility, where poverty, war, and even death are banished forever.  Only now that world’s exquisite perfection propels one restless young man toward the ultimate challenge….

For the children of immortal parents, growing up can be hard to do.  A prince will be forever a prince — leaving no chance for Bascal Edward de Towaji Lutui to inherit his parents’ throne.  So what is an angry young blueblood to do?  Punch a hole in the shadow he’s been living in by rallying his equally disgruntled companions to make an improbable spaceship, busting out of the so-called summer camp in which their parents have stowed them and making a daring escape across the vastness of space.  Ne’er-do-well Conrad Mursk is just along for the joyride — until he realizes this is no typical display of teenage angst.  From the “urban preservation districts” of Earth to the colonies and miniature planets of the outer solar system, with hijacked weapons and the power of “wellstone” programmable matter at their disposal, even a navy of children are a force to be reckoned with.  And boyo, things are going to get raw…”


Locus “New and Notable” 
Possibly the first book ever to be reviewed favorably by both IEEE Spectrum and Romantic Times.  😉


“Wil McCarthy is one of the best hard science fiction writers in the business.” — Jack McDevitt, author of Deepsix and The Hercules Text

“An ideal blend of wit and superscience, set in a brilliant future age when wealth and immortality just aren’t enough.  McCarthy gives an adventurous new spin to the ongoing rebellion of the young.” — David Brin, author of Kiln People and Startide Rising

“An interesting creation. I quite enjoyed Wil McCarthy’s The Collapsium a few years back, [and] I thought this a better book than The Collapsium. The book remains inventive, and often funny, with a dark undertone that lends a certain gravitas to the theme.” — Rich Horton, The New York Review of Science Fiction.

“McCarthy asks a question for the first immortals: if their children do not know fear or death, might death itself become an exciting adventure?” — Sean McMullen, author of Souls in the Great Machine

“The Wellstone has a madcap, inventive energy that proves irresistable.  Wil McCarthy’s previous book, The Collapsium, was dazzling in its ingenuity, and The Wellstone — a deranged take on a boys’ adventure tale, with its log cabin flying through the Kuiper Belt on its programmable matter sails — is a sequel worthy of its predecessor.” –Walter Jon Williams, author of The RiftHardwired and Metropolitan

“A treat… interesting [and] sometimes hilarious.  Writer and real-life rocket scientist Wil McCarthy considers post-scarcity economies, leadership politics and immortality, all in an adventure novel that would make Robert A. Heinlein proud.” — Gavin J. Grant, Bookpage

“McCarthy once again mines his rich imagiation.  A fun read filled with weird but believable technology.” — Steve Powers, The Dallas Morning News

“A science fiction tale of teen rebellion in a paradisiacal realm of outer space.” — The Chicago Sun Times

“A wild futuristic satire that entertains while pushing the audience to think.  A winner. [9/10 stars]” — Harriet Klausner, The Best Reviews

“The novel works well.  If Robert Heinlein had written Lord of the Flies, he probably would have come up with something like The Wellstone.” — Mark Graham, The Rocky Mountain News

“Adolescent rebellion is a little different in a society where the parents are effectively immortal and every kid can manipulate the fabric of space.  McCarthy’s satirical humor and mastery of hard science – he actually is a rocket scientist – are just as much in evidence here as in his earlier novels. It’s lots of fun.” — Netsurfer Digest

“Miraculous and wonder-filled…[with] humor and playfulness and considerable science-fictional ingenuity.” — Russell Letson, Locus

“A good combination of adventure and hard sci-fi.” — Robert Folsom, The Kansas City Star

“Zeroing in on programmable matter, [McCarthy] stretches ingenuity and adaptability to the limit.” — Stephen Cass, IEEE Spectrum

“Neat!  The Queendom is a wonderful and wealthy place.  Everything I’ve seen of McCarthy’s work is worthwhile, and this is no exception.” — Jim Hopper, The San Diego Union Tribune

“A framing story told in the comedy of manners mode McCarthy used very successfully in The Collapsium sets the stage for this Heinleinian build-a-spaceship-in-the-backyard adventure.  It promises more surprising developments in this delightful series.” — Fred Cleaver, The Denver Post

“Strong world-building enhances the witty and satirical tone. A wildly inventive and entertaining soap opera, disguised as futuristic science fiction, which forces us to question our ideas of human utopia. **** (4/5 stars).” — Romantic Times Magazine

“Its consequences promise to be immense. The cultural backdrop of a perfect world suits to a tee this story that revels in adventure and, though a sequel, stands quite solidly on its own.” — Regina Schroeder, Booklist

“If messing about with wellstone and heading off into space were all there was to the book it would be just another dull piece of hard SF.  But McCarthy’s ambitions are way beyond that.  [He] combines the absolute cutting edge of physics with some good characters and much thoughtful exposition on social issues… precisely what a science fiction novel is supposed to do.” — Cheryl Morgan, Emerald City

“McCarthy does a standout job with these two books [The Collapsium and The Wellstone], cramming them full of action, humor, top-notch speculation and intriguing characters.  Such ambition and creative playfulness should serve this book well when award lists are made up.  A comprehensive portrait of humanity transformed by advanced technology — what more could any SF reader ask for?” — Paul Di Filippo, Science Fiction Weekly

Excellent.  The Wellstone is almost out of control… [and] full of utterly gonzoid, Rucker-grade speculation about a universe dominated by programmable matter and practical immortality, teleportation, and other post-classical physics technology. The novel’s a gripper, fast-paced and funny and quite touching at the close.” — Cory Doctorow,