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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Geosynchron" by David L. Edelman (Reviewed by Liviu Suciu)


Official David Louis Edelman Website
Order “GeosynchronHERE (Read Inside Available)
Read FBC Review of Multireal HERE (contains an overview of Infoquake too)


INTRODUCTION: For a general introduction to the author and the series, including a very detailed setting overview you can check my review of Multireal, so I will focus here on Geosynchron only. I will try to avoid most spoilers for the previous volumes, but I strongly recommend to read them or at least read the author 's detailed synopsis if you are new to the Jump 225 universe, or if it's been a while since you went there.

When I prepared my list of books to look for 2010 and thought about what I expect from each book there, "Geosynchron" got these lines:

"Natch, "Multireal" and the rest of the great characters in this mind blowing near-future sf disguised as far-future sf in a carefully worked out chronology that feels dated after only two-three years, so fast the "real life" is becoming sf-nal, Geosynchron is another must read that I plan to get to in the near future. I have reviewed Multireal and discussed Infoquake in the process too, but as mentioned the social-media part of the Internet has been growing so rapidly in the past two-three years that there is a very "now" vibe for the series and it should be looked more and more as near-future sf."

So despite that I loved Infoquake and Multireal a lot and I strongly recommend them - great world building, characters, action - and considering that their one failing is an essential "uni-dimensionality", where one trait of the contemporary world - in this case the 2000 like cut-throat commercial (mostly tech) competition - is amplified to a high degree and in the case of Multireal "the product" is made into an arbiter of the fate of humanity by the way the Jump 225 universe was built - I was somewhat apprehensive as the words above clearly indicate, but Geosynchron transcended all that and it truly made me exclaim: more, more, more!!.

FORMAT/CLASSIFICATION:
"Geosynchron" stands at about 500 pages of which the actual novel takes about 450, divided into six named parts, while the rest offer a synopsis of what came before and a lot of cool extra details including a Glossary, a Timeline and more background on places/groups/events that become quite important in this last installment of the series. As in the previous two novels, the narration is third person and follows several POV's, including Natch, Jara and Horvil. Geosynchron is the most distributed of all the three novels in everything - number of important characters, locations of the action or threads.

Geosynchron is best described as epic sf with the ultimate direction/fate of humanity at stake. The novel has a great ending too despite using a plot element I usually dislike - here it's both technically justified and appropriate.

ANALYSIS:
Geosynchron is a novel of resolutions; from earlier installments we know about several conflicts - for the control of the Council, for the control of the Natch/Surina corporation and "Multireal" and of course ultimately for the "fate of humanity" or at least the immediate direction of it; pulling up some surprise "aces" from the sleeve, the novel not only manages to ratchet the tension in all of these conflicts, but expand their scope to fully include the other factions - Islanders, Pharisees, Orbital Stations and even some surprising ones - on the way to the final showdowns.

Another big strength of Geosynchron is its geographical spread; we get to experience first hand the Islanders homeland and some Orbital Colonies while Pharisees representative and some other factions become quite important; to top it all we get a "view from space" from the entities implied in the title.

Regarding the world-building and implications of "Multireal" - the product - the author manages to add some twists and turns as well as being completely consistent with what came before.

The character arcs continue in a natural way, with Natch becoming one of the most remarkable recent heroes in sf; in a way you could call the novel "Natch's apotheosis". While I also liked the portrayal of Jara, Horvil, the two opposing council leaders and quite a few others, the one character that sort of disappointed me here was Brone; especially towards the end he became a caricature of the ambitious, embittered but subtle villain of earlier times. It can be argued that the ratcheting of pressure and fast pace of events could lead there naturally, but I felt the author did not establish that and the novel reads like he needed that type of villain for contemporary ideological reasons; Brone feels like a 2008 villain taking society down for his own selfishness, but as the publishing date of the novel is 2010, not to speak of the hope of it being read for years to come, that was a less than optimal choice.

Building on the events of Infoquake and Multireal and indeed closing the important threads left open there and having great endings for the main characters arcs, Geosynchron achieves a rare feat for a trilogy ending volume, namely it takes the series one level higher, beyond mundanity to true sense of wonder sf, so it finally plays on the level of the masters of modern sf like A. Reynolds and PF Hamilton, rather than the smaller - however technically accomplished - field of "smaller ball, mundane, one trick wonder" sf. An A+ and so far the best core-sf novel I've read in 2010.

I hope that for his next project, Mr. Edelman will let his imagination run wild and use his great world building and characterization skills shown in this series to create a true sense of wonder series to remember for ages. Jump 225 ends on that note for sure!

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