Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review: Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams

Implied Spaces
Walter Jon Williams

Night Shade Books
pb 375 pp

First thing to consider is what exactly is an Implied Space. Williams waits until page 70 before he hints at what is really going on. As he describes, an implied space is a space of sorts that are an accident "implied" by a builder or architect making decisions concerning the other attributes of a structure. As in a dome, which has support by way of arches, the space "BETWEEN" the arches are Implied Spaces". Now you know why he waited until page 70 to share that little nugget with us.

Implied Spaces is certainly cyberpunk fiction taken to a totally new level. Williams has created a world within a world. By that I mean that humanity has developed a method of constructing pocket universes where in they can have their own completely different set of natural laws or not, depending on what the need might be.

In the universe that Williams has created death is all but non exsistant, everyone is backed up to a master file and should they meet with misfortune, can be reincarnated. The Solar System now is managed by massive orbital AIs massing as much as small planets. The main protagonist goes by the moniker of Aristide and is companioned by Bitsy, an avatar of one of the orbital AIs. Aristide it seems is several thousand years old and moves among the pocket universes at will. Aristide also seems to be one of the original creators of the first orbital AI.

With no death or ailments, people able to choose which version of paradise universe they want to live or play in, you would think suspect that all was well. But when people start disappearing` from the pocket universes and odd cyber-diseases start striking people on Earth, we soon find out that there is a malevolent force at work not only in the pocket universes but in our universe as well.

As Aristide investigates he discovers somethings about himself that could effect the rest of the universes and our own as well. And his final discovery is the most mind twisting of them all.

Implied Spaces never lacks for action. The start comes perilously close to being a Sword and Sorcery novel until Aristide's real life starts to leak in. Once up to speed it has all the monikers of a space opera - larger than life heroes and bad-guys. High technology that on one hand seems plausible while still being totally fantastic in nature.

The only drawback? It's got to be those first 70 pages. If S&S is not your thing then these pages fall flat for you. Until we get some weird aliens that shouldn't be here that things start to turn, so my advice is give the book a chance. The milieu is fascinating. Over the years we have seen bits and pieces in other people's works, but Williams pulls it together from many different venues. Its my guess that you won't be long falling into the spider web of intrigue and double dealing that Williams weaves. It's worth the patience.


Frank said...

I read this book last march and really loved it. It did take a little effert getting into but once the world Williams has created starts to open up I couldn't put this book down. The ideas Implied Spaces left with me gave me a lot to think about long after I finished the story.

Beam Me Up said...

Thanks for the comment! I will mention it during this week's program!
Yep, your experience mirrors mine. I just could not put it down. Well often I had to, because I would read until I fell asleep and the book hit me in the head. And you are right, Implied Spaces is such a great idea! Perfect example of science fiction. Take an idea or concept or science and extrapolate it to a point that just has people stunned and or excited! I looked up some of the science on this Implied Space and it is heady stuff in many ways, but to understand it well enough to take a fringe concept and bring a science & tech into fruition is just plain amazing!

Thanks again!