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The Phoenix Exultant is a continuation of the story begun in The Golden Age and like it, a grand space opera in the tradition of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny (with a touch of Cordwainer Smith-style invention). At the conclusion of the first book, Phaethon of Radamanthus House, was left an exile from his life of power and privilege. Now he embarks upon a quest across the tra The Phoenix Exultant is a continuation of the story begun in The Golden Age and like it, a grand space opera in the tradition of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny (with a touch of Cordwainer Smith-style invention). At the conclusion of the first book, Phaethon of Radamanthus House, was left an exile from his life of power and privilege. Now he embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system--Jupiter is a second sun, Mars and Venus terraformed, humanity immortal--among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms, to recover his memory, to regain his place in society and to move that society away from stagnation and toward the stars. And most of all Phaethon's quest is to regain ownership of the magnificent starship, the Phoenix Exultant, the most wonderful ship ever built, and fly her to the stars. The Phoenix Exultantis an astounding story of super science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the verve of SF's golden age writers It is a suitably grand and stirring fulfillment of the promise shown in The Golden Age and confirms John C. Wright as a major new talent in the field. He concludes the Golden Age trilogy in The Golden Transcendence.


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The Phoenix Exultant is a continuation of the story begun in The Golden Age and like it, a grand space opera in the tradition of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny (with a touch of Cordwainer Smith-style invention). At the conclusion of the first book, Phaethon of Radamanthus House, was left an exile from his life of power and privilege. Now he embarks upon a quest across the tra The Phoenix Exultant is a continuation of the story begun in The Golden Age and like it, a grand space opera in the tradition of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny (with a touch of Cordwainer Smith-style invention). At the conclusion of the first book, Phaethon of Radamanthus House, was left an exile from his life of power and privilege. Now he embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system--Jupiter is a second sun, Mars and Venus terraformed, humanity immortal--among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms, to recover his memory, to regain his place in society and to move that society away from stagnation and toward the stars. And most of all Phaethon's quest is to regain ownership of the magnificent starship, the Phoenix Exultant, the most wonderful ship ever built, and fly her to the stars. The Phoenix Exultantis an astounding story of super science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the verve of SF's golden age writers It is a suitably grand and stirring fulfillment of the promise shown in The Golden Age and confirms John C. Wright as a major new talent in the field. He concludes the Golden Age trilogy in The Golden Transcendence.

30 review for The Phoenix Exultant

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kuhn

    In book two of The Golden Age series, we pickup with protagonist Phaethon trying to survive after his exile from society. The big ideas are fewer and farther between in book two. This is not unexpected, as the world-building, back story, characters, and much of the plot were already established in book one. The trade off is the story telling gets a bit richer and we meet more unique and interesting characters. The first half of the book lands Phaethon in an encampment filled with misfit fellow e In book two of The Golden Age series, we pickup with protagonist Phaethon trying to survive after his exile from society. The big ideas are fewer and farther between in book two. This is not unexpected, as the world-building, back story, characters, and much of the plot were already established in book one. The trade off is the story telling gets a bit richer and we meet more unique and interesting characters. The first half of the book lands Phaethon in an encampment filled with misfit fellow exiles. The imagery reminded me of the artificial outcasts in Spielberg’s “A.I.”; a discarded, shunned assortment of unwanted creatures. My primary disappointment for this book is once again the characterization of women. First, there aren’t many, most of the big thoughts and actions are done by men and masculine machines. The primary female character is the super-hot Daphne, who is really a duplicate (called a doll) of the actual wife of Phaethon. She’s still madly in love with Phaethon and would do anything to save him. Daphne gets much of her knowledge from Romance stories, and flips her hair, and giggles. After she’s exiled, she irrationally wastes precious nano-material on making riding boots and a hat. At one point, when Phaethon looks at her body, she sighs with pleasure, “as if his glaze were warm sunlight”. Get the picture? Despite that annoying flaw, I couldn’t help but once again admire the complex thinking that went into the development of this story. There are some excellent twists and turns in the middle of the story. The final third is once again full of exposition, and again becomes an onerous read. It held my interest with its complexity and intrigue and the occasional revelation, but the action severely slows down. Many parts of the plot are revealed in this second book of the trilogy, but there is still plenty for Wright to unveil in book three. Another jaunt through a creative far future which starts with more distinct characters and improved storytelling, but later falls back on the reliance of imaginative, but sluggish exposition and intricate, but arduous plot points.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Exiled from everything he knows, Phaethon goes to Ceylon and joins up with a band of exiles. His goal: regain his ship, the Phoenix Exultant, and find those responsible for his predicament. That is, unless, the Silent Ones find him first... The Phoenix Exultant picks up where The Golden Age left off and kicks things into high gear. Not only is it shorter than The Golden Age, it's a lot easier to follow since Wright established all of the concepts and many of the characters in the first book. Phae Exiled from everything he knows, Phaethon goes to Ceylon and joins up with a band of exiles. His goal: regain his ship, the Phoenix Exultant, and find those responsible for his predicament. That is, unless, the Silent Ones find him first... The Phoenix Exultant picks up where The Golden Age left off and kicks things into high gear. Not only is it shorter than The Golden Age, it's a lot easier to follow since Wright established all of the concepts and many of the characters in the first book. Phaethon's primitive conditions on Death Row further facilitate easier reading. When the tech level isn't much higher than our current one, not much thinking is required. Phaethon's exile from the Oecumene was well done. How many books have you read that feature a man having to take a million flight maintenance staircase down from an orbital settlement rather than taking advantage of a space elevator? Poor Phaethon! Phaethon starts at the nadir of his adult life and has to kick and scratch his way past many obstacles just to get back to being poor. Ironjoy and the other Afloats were quite interesting. Phaethon's pomposity contributed quite a few laughs to the book. The relationship between Phaethon and Daphne is thrust to the forefront in this volume and is hilarious, even more than Rhadamanthus taking the form of a flying penguin in the first book. Daphne nearly eclipsed Phaethon as my favorite character. Atkins was fleshed out quite a bit and seems to be quite a bad ass now, as he should be, being the sole member of the Oecumene's army. I'd say the Phoenix Exultant surpasses the Golden Age and is quite a read. Bring on the Golden Transcendence!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    4.5 to 5.0 stars. This book continues the story that began in the The Golden Age and will finish in The Golden Transcendence and is turning out to be one of the most unique, and well done science fiction trilogies to come along in a long time. The description on the back of the book (and many of the professional reviews) compares it, in concept, to the works of Roger Zelazny, A. E. Van Vogt and Cordwainer Smith. While I don't disagree with that comparison (especially in the case of Zelazny and S 4.5 to 5.0 stars. This book continues the story that began in the The Golden Age and will finish in The Golden Transcendence and is turning out to be one of the most unique, and well done science fiction trilogies to come along in a long time. The description on the back of the book (and many of the professional reviews) compares it, in concept, to the works of Roger Zelazny, A. E. Van Vogt and Cordwainer Smith. While I don't disagree with that comparison (especially in the case of Zelazny and Smith), I would have to throw in Jack Vance as well as that is to whom the author's prose style reminded me the most. The reason for this comparison to Vance is that, like Vance, the author generally used short, concise sentences and paragrpahs that carried A TON OF INFORMATION. Jack Vance could do as much world-building in a single paragraph as others would do in a whole chapter. I think the best way to describe Vance's prose when it comes to world-building is dense without a lot of flowery or excess descriptives. This dense, concise prose is what has always made Vance a wonderful (but very slow) read for me as I find I often have to re-read sentences and paragraphs to allow all the nuances of what Vance was saying sink in. Jack could pack more story into a 200 page paperback than any other writer I have ever come across. Well that is what I was reminded of when reading this book. There is so much going on and the world-building is so amazingly complex that I found myself going very slowly through the book (and loving every minute of it). Now when I say the world-building is complex, I don't want to give the impression that it is too difficult to follow. Not at all. I just mean it takes careful reading and doesn't lend itself well to skimming. Thus, I do not think this is an easy read but I do think it is incredibly worth-while. Part of the reason the book worked so well for me (and maybe won't for others) is that the author focused on complex "ideas" "technologies" and "concepts" in his world-building without going into long winded, detailed explanations regarding the "science" behind them. Again, this is very much like Vance (and a lot of other classic "golden age" science fiction). For example, the incorporates into the narrative the concept that people can instantly access complete, detailed information on any person or subject through a multi-layered future version of the internet incorporated directly into their brain but doesn't spend five pages going through the scientific basis for the ability to do so. Again, big concepts without getting bogged down in the scientific explanations. With all that said, I think the best way I could describe this book is a classic "golden age" science fiction story written for the 21st century and I have not come across anything similar in a long time. If you read it, definitely start with the first book, book:The Golden Age|207410], and make sure you are prepared to read at a slightly slower pace than you normally would. I think it is definitely worth the extra time. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    5 Stars Wow, even though books one and two are extremely different novels in the Golden Age Series by John C. Wright, they both are equally amazing for very different reasons. Book one the Golden Age is very much a difficult to read hard science fiction mystery that unfolds slowly while showing us the inventions of the far future society. The Phoenix Exultant, book two in the series, is an intimate quest for our hero Phaetheon to reclaim is precious space ship while being a man of nothing. After t 5 Stars Wow, even though books one and two are extremely different novels in the Golden Age Series by John C. Wright, they both are equally amazing for very different reasons. Book one the Golden Age is very much a difficult to read hard science fiction mystery that unfolds slowly while showing us the inventions of the far future society. The Phoenix Exultant, book two in the series, is an intimate quest for our hero Phaetheon to reclaim is precious space ship while being a man of nothing. After the events of book one Phaethon can trust no one, has no one, and has nothing. He is exiled and shunned and made into zero after being a Manor born rich. Wright does an amazing job at penning out how far he fell, how difficult his new life was, and made the risks out to be so final. One thing after another Phaethon is knocked down to the very bottom of the social ladder and hopelessness. Yet, his dream lives on, he persevere, he moves on, he plans out and executes the unthinkable. He triumphs in heart, in his mind, and for his life, in his soul. I loved the change of pace that this story brought. I felt the weight of his desperation. I believed his paranoia. This is science fiction at its best. Even though book one needs to be given credit for its bold telling, I think that this is actually the better of the two novels. What a world that Phaethon lives in!!! Nothing is really real, no one can be trusted, heck you cannot even trust your own recollections: “"I conclude that the readings were tampered with." "And your support for this conclusion is ... ?" "Well, obviously the evil mind-virus tampered with them." "Let me see if I understand this, young aristocrat. We live in a society where men can edit their brain-information at will, so that even their deepest thoughts, instincts, and convictions can be overwritten and rewritten, and no memories can be trusted. You find you have a memory of being attacked by a nonexistent mind-virus created by a nonexistent Sophotech from a long-dead colony. Upon examination, readings show the memory is false, and your conclusion is that your unbelievable, entirely absurd memories are true, and the readings showing them to be false are unreliable. Is that right?" "That's right."” Wow cool stuff!!! =================================================== =================================================== Spoilers Ahead: =================================================== =================================================== Finally, the ending is obvious from the get go and also from the title of the book, but boy did it work for me…I loved it. A quote that sums up the ending perfectly….definitely a spoiler. Phaethon talking to Atkins. “"Come! I fear no Silent Oecumene, no dark swans from a dead star, no evil Sophotechs! I fear nothing. My heart is filled with fire; I have the strength of titans in me! Here all around us is my dream, come true in the form as I would have it, each erg of energy, each molecule and field of force fitted to my design; from prow to stern, keel to superstructure, this is all my thought made real; and made real to defy a world that has forgotten what that word 'real' once meant. Welcome aboard my ship, Marshal Atkins! We will face the foe together; we shall triumph, or perish with honor; that is my promise. Here is my hand on it."” Fantastic, awesome, and just down right hard science fiction to love…My highest recommendations!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    2.5 - 3 Wow, I was really disappointed with this one, especially considering how much I had enjoyed its predecessor. In many ways this just did not feel like a true continuation of the first book in the series. One of the major stumbling blocks for me was that I just couldn't believe the way Wright handled the voices he used for the characters in this volume. Considering his mannered and baroque set up in the previous volume I found the dialogue to be way too colloquial (and 20th cent. colloquia 2.5 - 3 Wow, I was really disappointed with this one, especially considering how much I had enjoyed its predecessor. In many ways this just did not feel like a true continuation of the first book in the series. One of the major stumbling blocks for me was that I just couldn't believe the way Wright handled the voices he used for the characters in this volume. Considering his mannered and baroque set up in the previous volume I found the dialogue to be way too colloquial (and 20th cent. colloquial at that). Now maybe he was trying to show Phaeton 'stepping down' a level, both socially due to his exile and intellectually due to his loss of certain artificial brain upgrades, but it really grated on me. Atkins and Daphne were also throwing around way too much colloquial verbiage in my humble opinion. I also think Wright relied far too much on exposition for character actions and motives...he told us way more than he showed us, as if he felt he had to explain all of the details to us because we'd never figure it out for ourselves. I understand that these characters are posthumans who are able to modify themselves in various ways, but it seemed like the character of Daphne became a completely differtent person. She goes from victim to hero in one mighty leap that has no explanation...I guess she must have downloaded the Nancy Drew persona since the last volume. Ultimately, in looking back after I finished it, it seemed that not very much really *happened* in the course of the novel. Phaeton just acts more or less clueless and like a pompous ass and eventually finds the loopholes (and hidden allies) he needs thanks to the plot master (don't look behind the curtain!). Certainly it wasn't all bad, but the sensawunda and deeper level of thought and execution of the first volume were missing for the most part.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rui

    I loved the first book from this trilogy, the golden age. Awesome sci-fi, imaginative, serious and consistent. This one was a deception. The girl turned the main character into an almost idiotic puppet. That almost killed the book. John C. Wright just don't seem not to know how to handle a girl in a history. What a throwback on expectations! I loved the first book from this trilogy, the golden age. Awesome sci-fi, imaginative, serious and consistent. This one was a deception. The girl turned the main character into an almost idiotic puppet. That almost killed the book. John C. Wright just don't seem not to know how to handle a girl in a history. What a throwback on expectations!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Everytime i pick up this book, I think why aren't i reading this faster? i don't know cause i should be, this is the most intricate world i've ever encountered in a book and the way i keep putting it down for days at a time is really taking away from the experience. I'm having a hard time keeping some of the Sophotechs, Invariants and other characters of the Oecumene and what their stance is straight. i've never had this problem with a book in my life if that gives anyone a bit of an idea of how Everytime i pick up this book, I think why aren't i reading this faster? i don't know cause i should be, this is the most intricate world i've ever encountered in a book and the way i keep putting it down for days at a time is really taking away from the experience. I'm having a hard time keeping some of the Sophotechs, Invariants and other characters of the Oecumene and what their stance is straight. i've never had this problem with a book in my life if that gives anyone a bit of an idea of how intricate this series is. I don't think it would be a problem if i was actually reading some of it everyday. This trilogy really is a masterpiece, the lengths this man went to to create this universe is staggering. That's not to say that the storyline is perfect, because it isn't, but i feel that this may become a SciFi classic someday. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ok, i'm finished this second book in the Golden Age trilogy. This was pretty much a direct continuation of the events that began in book 1, The Golden Age, and Wright's world continues to be as intricate and mind-binding as it began. I was loving it at least as much as the Golden Age, if not more, until about a bit over halfway through when there was at least 60 friggin' pages of him and the copy of his wife Daphne talking about (without giving to much away) him using an object she has brought him, that everything hinges on the outcome of, while it is right there in his hand pretty much. All i could think was- what the hell?! use the thing already. It drove me nuts. Towards the end, the dialogue, which always felt a bit pompous, became even more so. I can't deny, however that this is a wholly original, masterfully thought out series and i will probably end up reading the last book

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

    First off, if you haven't read Wright's The Golden Age, just buy it. You could read Phoenix Exultant without having read it, but you would just be cutting yourself short on one of the most creative, visionary, and exciting science fiction trilogies. Phoenix starts out right exactly where Golden Age stops. And pretty much just keeps plowing ahead. That may have sounded a little monotonous, but let me assure you Wright's epic is anything but. The most amazing aspect of Wright's writing, in my mind, First off, if you haven't read Wright's The Golden Age, just buy it. You could read Phoenix Exultant without having read it, but you would just be cutting yourself short on one of the most creative, visionary, and exciting science fiction trilogies. Phoenix starts out right exactly where Golden Age stops. And pretty much just keeps plowing ahead. That may have sounded a little monotonous, but let me assure you Wright's epic is anything but. The most amazing aspect of Wright's writing, in my mind, is how he can cultivate a conflict and conspiracy, an enemy and allies that continue to evolve throughout this book and into the next one. This book, to me, was one adventure right after the next with hardly any downtime in between. It's pretty much nonstop from start to finish. Mixing the movement of the plot with the action, you also have the zany but strangely familiar world Wright has created.What is so beautiful about this book, about the entire trilogy, is that the true conflict of the story lies in the impact of the technology of this future on mankind. That is the essential nature of science fiction. So do I recommend it? Absolutely, especially if you like science fiction - but I highly recommend reading Golden Age first, and I'd even recommend trying to have Golden Transcendence on hand as well. That way you don't have to wait at all to continue the story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    This is the second novel of Wright's trilogy that is set in the far distant future. The first 150 pages are not too bad, then the author reverts to the excruciatingly-detailed, mind-numbing and meaningless descriptives that make the book so deadly. He also tries to introduce a romantic thread to the plot that can only be described as sappy. I have purchased the third book of the trilogy, but am reluctant to start reading it. The book, like the first one, is characterized by poor editing, althoug This is the second novel of Wright's trilogy that is set in the far distant future. The first 150 pages are not too bad, then the author reverts to the excruciatingly-detailed, mind-numbing and meaningless descriptives that make the book so deadly. He also tries to introduce a romantic thread to the plot that can only be described as sappy. I have purchased the third book of the trilogy, but am reluctant to start reading it. The book, like the first one, is characterized by poor editing, although not as egregious. Not recommended!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roddy Williams

    ‘The verve of SF’s golden age writers is reborn in The Phoenix Exultant, a grand and stirring fulfilment of the promise shown in The Golden Age that confirms John c Wright as a bright new star of science fiction. Phaethon of Radamanthus House has been exiled, his ship confiscated. He embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms. For the first time in his centuries-long life, he must look reality in the face, without a layer of ‘The verve of SF’s golden age writers is reborn in The Phoenix Exultant, a grand and stirring fulfilment of the promise shown in The Golden Age that confirms John c Wright as a bright new star of science fiction. Phaethon of Radamanthus House has been exiled, his ship confiscated. He embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms. For the first time in his centuries-long life, he must look reality in the face, without a layer of computer-applied glamour. Now Phaethon discovers the tarnished underbelly of the shining utopia he took for granted, as he is forced to deal with the only people who can do business, or even talk, with him, his fellow exiles. Somehow, with or without their help, he must recover his memory, regain his place in society, and move that society away from stagnation. That, he hopes to do, by reclaiming his magnificent ship, the Phoenix Exultant, and flying her to the stars.’ Blurb from the October 2003 Tor paperback edition In this, the second volume of ‘The Golden Age’ Wright continues his tour-de-force widescreen baroque epic of a future civilisation where being human is as vague a concept as one could possibly imagine. Immortality is available to all, since back-up copies of one’s mind and memories can be stored in case of fatal accident, although even the concept of a personality defined by one’s memories becomes a grey area in Wright’s world since memories can be edited (in some cases without one even knowing) which makes the definition of reality itself somewhat hazy. Many beings have opted for Humodification, in which their bodies (and/or minds) have been changed or augmented beyond recognition. Others exist in gestalt form, sharing their minds with a myriad of others as a single consciousness. Our hero Phaethon’s ship has been confiscated and he has been exiled from the Oecumene (as the civilisation is known) and is being ignored by all on pain of them suffering the same fate. He has been advised by one of the AIs of the civilisation to head for Ceylon, an island inhabited by exiles, which is ruled quite literally with an iron hand by a cyborg called Ironjoy. The plot twists and turns, baffling and dazzling the reader with its red herrings, its gloriously realised technologies and the complex logical possibilities inherent in a world where one cannot trust one’s own memories. The characters of Daphne and Atkins (who is a single immortal embodiment of the armed forces) return in order to aid Phaethon in his quest to a) prove that an insidious intelligence from beyond our Solar System has invaded the Oecumene, b) reclaim his fabulous ship ‘The Phoenix Exultant’ and c) save the Universe. Apart from anything else, the text is laced with a sly humour, and one cannot help but wish to exist in this strange, multi-layered culture at once light years away from our own experiences and yet, in essence, very similar.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    started reading this after finishing The Post-Birthday World and after giving up on Zen and the Art of Poker (tiresome and bad); a short interlude where i blazed through The God Delusion also. Not thrilled with this story; a bit annoying with all the misspelled names and stuff, but also i just don't care that much about Phaethon or his "doll wife" or anything else; i think i'd rather cheer for the Silent Oecumene people and Nothing Sophotech, so i've abandoned them and don't expect to read "the p started reading this after finishing The Post-Birthday World and after giving up on Zen and the Art of Poker (tiresome and bad); a short interlude where i blazed through The God Delusion also. Not thrilled with this story; a bit annoying with all the misspelled names and stuff, but also i just don't care that much about Phaethon or his "doll wife" or anything else; i think i'd rather cheer for the Silent Oecumene people and Nothing Sophotech, so i've abandoned them and don't expect to read "the payoff novel" in this trilogy nor do i ever expect to care.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Noah M.

    Part two of The Golden Age has come and gone for me. I was not as impressed with this book, though it keeps throwing out interesting ideas about the future almost constantly. This is act two, when the events that will rise to grand importance in act three are established. I found this to be a worthy middle to this story. However, if John C. Wright doesn't manage to absolutely nail the ending, I'm going to be massively disappointed. Also, towards the end of The Phoenix Exultant, the story became a b Part two of The Golden Age has come and gone for me. I was not as impressed with this book, though it keeps throwing out interesting ideas about the future almost constantly. This is act two, when the events that will rise to grand importance in act three are established. I found this to be a worthy middle to this story. However, if John C. Wright doesn't manage to absolutely nail the ending, I'm going to be massively disappointed. Also, towards the end of The Phoenix Exultant, the story became a bit too snarky for its own good, with the reintroduction of Daphne (Phaethon's wife, sort of). Some rather silly bits of her explaining the nature of Phaethon's own character, and why he must succeed...I don't know. Didn't sit right with me. This book ends with Phaethon boarding his ship and preparing to take on his invisible enemies, so I assume the next book will have some awesome space battles. Fingers crossed!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dean C. Moore

    In many ways this is sci-fi as it should be, heady, teaming with exciting ideas, mind-blowing technology, and a far-future vision of humanity that feels both compelling and somewhat inescapable. Hard sci-fi fans and fans of Singularity sci-fi will find the series great food for the mind as I remarked when reviewing the first book in the series. And anyone interested in writing about a tech-saturated future for humanity would be ill-advised to skip this series. For all of that, I found this seco In many ways this is sci-fi as it should be, heady, teaming with exciting ideas, mind-blowing technology, and a far-future vision of humanity that feels both compelling and somewhat inescapable. Hard sci-fi fans and fans of Singularity sci-fi will find the series great food for the mind as I remarked when reviewing the first book in the series. And anyone interested in writing about a tech-saturated future for humanity would be ill-advised to skip this series. For all of that, I found this second installment, much like the first, captured my mind a lot better than it captured my heart. And went down sort of like doing homework for an upcoming term-paper; despite feeling rather obligatory, I just didn’t find it all that much fun. All the same, you’ll find more ideas here, if you’re a sci-fi writer, that you’ll have to come to terms with than you might well find in a dozen other sci-fi books. One more reason to think seriously about jumping in.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    The Phoenix Exultant, the second book of a trilogy, fails to build on the intricate world of the The Golden Age. There is some interesting science fiction but it is lost in a story mired by shallow characters, an egregious romance and tedious techno-babble.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    "Occam's razor forbids us from adopting theories that require us to postulate unreal entities, such as, for example, the existence of conscience, noble dreams" "Occam's razor forbids us from adopting theories that require us to postulate unreal entities, such as, for example, the existence of conscience, noble dreams"

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ami Iida

    Science fiction is usual

  17. 5 out of 5

    Razique Mahroua

    While I enjoyed this second volume, I did not find it as well written as the first one. I think what threw me off was mostly the way Daphné was being portrayed. In the first volume, I remember her being much more mature and well-thought. In this second volume, she comes across as less sophisticated. As for the storyline, it felt like many things happened, but did not at the same time, as most of the book takes places in the same location. I think that the overemphasis in discussing all the little While I enjoyed this second volume, I did not find it as well written as the first one. I think what threw me off was mostly the way Daphné was being portrayed. In the first volume, I remember her being much more mature and well-thought. In this second volume, she comes across as less sophisticated. As for the storyline, it felt like many things happened, but did not at the same time, as most of the book takes places in the same location. I think that the overemphasis in discussing all the little details about the armor and nanotechnology did not leave a lot of space for deepening the story line. Looking forward to read the next one though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John Back

    Interesting and thoughtful series continues in second volume, which seems more concise and directed than first. Entirely too much 'internalised dialogue' and riffing on same themes between characters borders on tedious. No, actually it was just tedious. Luckily, the series is interesting enough to continue but if the third book takes a deeper dive down Introspection Alley I will be virtually throwing it over the fence. Interesting and thoughtful series continues in second volume, which seems more concise and directed than first. Entirely too much 'internalised dialogue' and riffing on same themes between characters borders on tedious. No, actually it was just tedious. Luckily, the series is interesting enough to continue but if the third book takes a deeper dive down Introspection Alley I will be virtually throwing it over the fence.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Keso Shengelia

    It's great, amazing second part of an incredible trilogy. Start with the first book, and you'll be hooked. This sequel has a faster pace and some story elements are stronger than in the first one. In short, do I recommend it? Absolutely. It's great, amazing second part of an incredible trilogy. Start with the first book, and you'll be hooked. This sequel has a faster pace and some story elements are stronger than in the first one. In short, do I recommend it? Absolutely.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bob Nolin

    Not nearly as good as the first book. Phaethon spends the book trying to get his ship back. Lots of long-winded speeches and infodumpy prose. Characterization? Please.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian Stacey

    The first have was phenomenal. He clearly got lost writing a dynamic female character that could match the very heady futuristic world he had created. For me, that ruined the last half of the book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    The second in a trilogy of books about the far future when nobody dies and minds are melded. Very complicated and delightful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Classic middle act whose plot lies listless in the doldrums while setting up for the third book. The kaleidoscopic imagination and skillful prose style of the author is undiminished, though.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    A great exploration of transhumanism. A fully realized world with an almost theological wander through all of ehatnthst might possibly mean.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Edward Denton

    Second book in this amazing series by John C. Wright.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Saketh Nimmagadda

    Great continuation! Looking forward to the conclusion

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In my original review I wrote only, "Not sure yet. This is more like 3 1/2 stars." Let's call it four. The middle section of the story is not as good as the bookends, but its still very good and lifted up by the quality of the story telling to either side. The first portion of the story is infused with mystery. The last portion is filled with action. This middle portion of the protagonists story is filled with frustrations, some of which unfortunately leak out into the reader. Were it not for a f In my original review I wrote only, "Not sure yet. This is more like 3 1/2 stars." Let's call it four. The middle section of the story is not as good as the bookends, but its still very good and lifted up by the quality of the story telling to either side. The first portion of the story is infused with mystery. The last portion is filled with action. This middle portion of the protagonists story is filled with frustrations, some of which unfortunately leak out into the reader. Were it not for a few sections that drag on, this would hit five stars, but even that does not drag down the work as a whole. I can make no better review of the book than it makes of itself, which I will risk, owing to the fact that as a review of a second book, none of this will come as spoilers to anyone that has read even half of the first: "Daphne had to laugh, "Oh you just love this, don't you." On the face of Comus, dimples embraced a Saturine smile, "What? You think that I like it that, during my celebration, a dashing young madman with dreams of conquering the stars becomes convinced that he is hunted by impossible enemies, breaks open his forbidden memories, astonishes the world, ends our universal mass amnesia, defies the Horators, and, amid allegations that the Horator Inquest was tampered with, is exiled? Then his brave young doll-wife, who loves him, even though he loves a lost and dream-drowned first version of her, goes marching into exile herself to try to save him? And all this, while a debate about the nature of individuality and its dangers to the common good, rocks society to its pillars? A debate, no doubt, that will be embraced with the Grand Transcendence hardly a month away - when all of our minds will be made up for a thousand years to come? Oh my dear Miss Daphne, my celebration will soar through history above all others! Argentorium and Cuprician Sophotechs have already sent me notes conceding that point." If that does not excite you to read this story, then you are no companion of mine. I'm in wonder that anyone could plan a story with so many layers out. Was this a happy accident? Some revelation by a higher mind? Beauty and wonder is to be found all over this story, which glows with inner light, and is intricate and layered in its meaning as the baroque and byzantine society it imagines.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Onefinemess

    I wanted this book to be so much better. I mean, it wasn't necessarily bad, but it didn't compare as well as I hoped to the first volume. Some of my issues were just pure artistic choices - he spent (what felt like, but maybe wasn't) multiple chapters with Phaethon trying to find the right person to beg for money. I mean, sure that's a valid solution to his predicament...but it struck me as kind of stupid and weak. I mean, he's got his armor and all kinds of raw materials, can't he just start nan I wanted this book to be so much better. I mean, it wasn't necessarily bad, but it didn't compare as well as I hoped to the first volume. Some of my issues were just pure artistic choices - he spent (what felt like, but maybe wasn't) multiple chapters with Phaethon trying to find the right person to beg for money. I mean, sure that's a valid solution to his predicament...but it struck me as kind of stupid and weak. I mean, he's got his armor and all kinds of raw materials, can't he just start nanoassembling shit? Hell, make a ship out of seawater.... I don't know, just something other than BEGGING people for money. It really rubbed me the wrong way. This book was definitely the "get shit out of the way/ducks in a row" for the closing book. It felt like, quick and maybe not particularly necessary. Frankly, I'm thinking it should maybe have just been the first half of a larger book with book 3 as the second... we'll see how that one goes. Also, there wound up being a little too much "outside influence" aka whatever the plural of deux ex machina is for me to feel like Phaethon is an awesome self-made-man-organism-thing. I liked the inclusion of his semi-wife-clone-thing, although some of the scenes with her felt rather jarring - instead of the traditional thoughts in italics, I *think* some of hers were in (), just inserted into other dialogue. Nothing wrong with that convention, it's just odd when it pops out in the last third of the book. Hopefully she winds up in the 3rd book but, given the kind of lame-ass ending she got here, it seems like the intention is for her to float behind. THREE STARS Because it was good, and the series and the world are interesting, but it wasn't good enough. Or my hopes were too high, either way, it's my rating.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jay Goemmer

    The Phoenix Exultant (2003) by John C. Wright. "Not as good, but still entertaining." How would you survive in a society where people, computers, and even the equivalent of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) refuse to acknowledge your existence? That's essentially the dilemma faced by Phaeton in _The Phoenix Exultant_, which isn't quite as strong as its predecessor _The Golden Age_ (2002). The story isn't so much about Phaeton's starship (which the book is titled after), as it is about his continued The Phoenix Exultant (2003) by John C. Wright. "Not as good, but still entertaining." How would you survive in a society where people, computers, and even the equivalent of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) refuse to acknowledge your existence? That's essentially the dilemma faced by Phaeton in _The Phoenix Exultant_, which isn't quite as strong as its predecessor _The Golden Age_ (2002). The story isn't so much about Phaeton's starship (which the book is titled after), as it is about his continued efforts to recapture it (and the recurring hurdles which get in his way). There are some twists and turns involving a clone of Phaeton's wife Daphne, who is convinced she's "the real deal." _The Phoenix Exultant_ is strong until two-thirds of the way through, when it takes a sudden left turn into a romance, followed by a comedy, but finally regains its footing to finish up just in time for the final book in the trilogy, _The Golden Transcendence_ (2003). Those "odd" sections lend a different flavor to the narrative, but are a bit jarring, too. Volumes two and three in this series are noted as being edited by David G. Hartwell, who also brings us "The Year's Best SF" series. Despite that, some spelling errors slip through. "Noumenal" (which denotes the technology for recording human personalities electronically) becomes "numenal" on two occasions, and a character is described as wearing a "back kimono." However, the web that Wright's storytelling weaves captivated me enough that I had to find out what happened next! In all, slightly weaker, but still worth the effort... so you can move on to Volume 3! (12 Dec 2005)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tommy

    "The Phoenix Exultant" by John C. Wright is a pretty good galactic opera of a science fiction book. It is also the second volume in a Trilogy that began with "The Golden Age" published in 2002. The main character, Phaethon, continues his quest to expand the boundaries of mankind by building a spaceship to take him to the stars. The rest of mankind is too complacent and comfortable to take the risk, and of course people are getting too many handouts from the government. The government does not ca "The Phoenix Exultant" by John C. Wright is a pretty good galactic opera of a science fiction book. It is also the second volume in a Trilogy that began with "The Golden Age" published in 2002. The main character, Phaethon, continues his quest to expand the boundaries of mankind by building a spaceship to take him to the stars. The rest of mankind is too complacent and comfortable to take the risk, and of course people are getting too many handouts from the government. The government does not care anything about space travel. The government puts him into exile because they do not want him stirring up trouble. His wife, who is actually a recorded copy of his first wife, finds him and helps him breakout of the island where he is confined. Withe the help of some virtual reality friends and some acquaintances from Neptune, he finds his way to the starship he built years earlier and this is where it ends. The last volume should be a good one. There is all kinds of good hardcore science fiction in the book including virtual reality, computer time as currency, mansions that travel around with you and recreated wherever you decide to make a stop. Good stuff. Comes from the Mitch Richling recommendation list.

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