Saturday, September 15, 2012

A note or two on Greg Bear's "City at the End of Time"

These are for my upcoming review of City at the End of Time (to be published in the near future at )

Some Clarifications of City at the End of Time:

Again, I’d encourage you to give the book a chance before reading the notes below. Granted, I don’t plan to give any major spoilers, but still I think you’ll be served by trying out the book first.
Okay, here goes. These were the points that caught me up most while reading:

In City at the End of Time, it is understood that several parallel realities exist at the same time. (Those who can shift, for example, can leap from reality to reality.) There is a force in the universe which works to bind them into a coherent harmony, and a force which exists to sever and destroy those which cannot be harmonized. At the end of at least one of these realities is a city—the last city.

The “zeros” are—I think—the exponential number of years since creation. So, “ten zeros” would be something like 1010 and “fourteen zeros” would be 1014, or ten billion and one thousand trillion years, respectively. In other words, the book spans a really long time.

But! As the millennia have gone on, entropy and chaos have begun to grow in the galaxy. The existence balanced between order and chaos has begun to fall apart. The laws of reason, logic, math, and all everything which holds the universe together have begun to break down. This assault has begun at the end of time, destroying or forcing together the realities, leaving only the city:

As the assault of the chaos has increased in intensity, it has spread through the past, destroying possible realities along the way as it moves towards consuming all things. Whenever the chaos cuts off a timeline, terminus, or the end of all possible fates is achieved. The tension of the book is the question of whether terminus will be the end of all things, or some reality will remain hold out against its assault.

And, well, summarizing this book could continue until terminus arrives (even Wikipedia doesn’t really do it justice). This should be enough to get you started and cover some of the more challenging chronological details—if you’re brave enough to venture into so dense a tome.

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