Author Topic: Raymond Z. Gallun - The Eden Cycle (1974)  (Read 1251 times)

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Offline MikeSmith

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Raymond Z. Gallun - The Eden Cycle (1974)
« on: August 02, 2008, 05:00:23 AM »
I just finished reading one of the most innovative, wild, and exciting science fiction novels I have read in years.  It's called The Eden Cycle, was written by Raymond Z. Gallun, and is set in one of the coolest possible worlds I have ever read about.  I got it from a giveaway table, and wasn't expecting anything amazing, but...wow.

The story starts off in what appears to be a small town right before the Great Depression.  Two kids.  A boy and a girl.  Growing up.  Falling in love.  Et cetera.  Then, the girl starts to think that nothing in their lives is actually real.  She starts having these dreams and impressions that it's all just an illusion, and when she talks to the boy about it all, he starts to agree with her, and together, they will themselves out of their reality, instantaneously to a beach in a virtual but real-seeming Hawaii.

Before long, they learn that they've been alive for hundreds or maybe thousands of years, living countless virtual lives within a huge virtual system the instructions of which were radioed to the earth by an alien civilization.  Now, almost every human has had his and her identities transferred into tiny, shimmering balls, and within those balls, people have the power to do anything, go anywhere, do whatever they want, in the virtual past, the virtual future, with superpowers, immortality, et cetera, with it all seeming perfectly real.  Some of the best parts are when the main character goes back to experience the discovery of fire, or the emergence of modern humans, and so forth. 

It's Contact meets The Matrix, though it predates them both.  It's a thoughtful and evocative treatise on solipsism and consciousness and what it means to be human.  It goes all over the place, with the people choosing to forget and start over sometimes, choosing to remember at others, learning more and more about the system's origins, and waxing wonderfully philosophical about what it means to be able to do whatever you want...but for nothing you ever do to make the slightest difference.

How the characters deal with that situation, over apparent millennia, and the questions it raises is just awesome.  Great book, great ending, great everything.  I really loved it.

Has anyone else in here read this?  Or anything else by this author?
2012  <---Google Bomb it!

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