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Sunday, August 29, 2004

THE GOLDEN AGE

I love these books. Best reading experience I've had so far this decade. I'm re-reading them right now.

But they do show some signs of being hastilly rewritten or edited.

Problem: How far away is Cygnus X1? The text sometimes gives it as 1000 lightyears, and sometimes 10,000. In at least one instance it gives both values in the same paragraph. (I looked it up in the NASA database, it's 14,000)

Much of the plot depends on travel and communication between the Silent Oecumene at Cygnus X1 and the Golden Oecumene. This works for 1000 lightyears, but runs into serious problems if it's 10,000. Orpheus invented noumenal immortality roughly 8000 years before the current era. Some of the oldest individual characters, such as Helion aren't much older than that. Phaeton is 4000 years old. (Some of the compositions may be much older, the time scale of the 4th, 5th and 6th mental structures isn't really specified. I also get the impression that the action takes place roughly 70,000 years in the future, but I've seen an interview with John C. Wright where he claims it's 500,000)

The Silent Oecumene is actually in some sort of communication with the Golden Oecumene, Phaeton set up a monitoring station to intercept any messages from it, including the final broadcast, and the Nothing at Cygnus X1 was able to respond to events at the Golden Oecumene by creating the Nothing black hole it sent to disrupt Phaeton's project. This works if the distance is 1000 lightyears, a delay of 1000 years in a 4000 life is equivalent to a few decades out of a 70 year span - long but feasible. It doesn't work if it's 10,000. Any signals travelling between oecumenes will take longer than the 7th mental structure, noumenal immortality and almost all individuals have been sround.

What works for me is the assume that it all takes place in an alternative universe where Cygnus X1 is 1000 lightyears away. !0000 is a misprint.

Another point; It's clearly stated that the Nothing active in the Golden Oecumene is the simplest, stupidist possible version. Otherwise the original Nothing would have seen it as competition, and destroyed it. But it took the entire Trascendence, the combined mental abilties of every sophotech, composition and individual in the Golden Oecumene to defeat it. The Golden Oecumene is going to be in one hell of a fight when they meet the Silent Oecumene directly.




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