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Count to a Trillion (Count to the Eschaton Sequence #1)

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  552 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Hundreds of years in the future, after the collapse of the Western world, young Menelaus Illation Montrose grows up in what was once Texas as a gunslinging duelist for hire. But Montrose is also a mathematical genius—and a romantic who dreams of a future in which humanity rises from the ashes to take its place among the stars.

The chance to help usher in that future comes w
ebook, 368 pages
Published December 20th 2011 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 1,257)
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Tom Negrino
This one had lots of interesting ideas, but terrible characterization. The story isn't so hot either. The main character is presented as a supergenius, but speaks like a buffoon, even after he is supposed to have undergone intelligence augmentation. It just comes across as horribly, annoyingly contrived. Characters speak aloud in ways that no human being ever has or ever will. The book starts out interestingly, but then just falls off a cliff.

I love hard SF, and at first approach, this book has
Sarah Jamison
The only lousy thing about reading on the kindle, other than having to remember to charge it, is that you can't throw a book across the room. It is the privilege of every reader to get really fed up with a book and throw it across the room; then take a couple deep breaths, get up, go get the book, and get back to reading. As it stands, when I finished this book last night, large confused about how it was going to be over, I didn't throw it. I shut the kindle off. I shut the kindle cover. I set i ...more
Nov 04, 2013 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard SF fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I tried to read The Golden Age several years ago and remember that I couldn’t finish it. As I recall, the writing was florid and overblown, and it was a chore to read. While the style here is still florid, it worked for me this time (and I may go back to The Golden Age to see if my opinion of that has changed).

The story revolves around Menelaus Illation Montrose, a mathematical genius and member of humanity’s first manned mission to another star – V 886 Centauri. An unmanned probe had been sent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I wanted to like Count to a Trillion. I really did. The moment that the Rapture of the Nerds got a shout-out in the prologue was the moment I knew that I was going to read every last page of the book. And then it tanked. I suppose that could have been the intention; it clothed itself in all the trappings of the dazzling space operas of the Golden Age, and then it (purposely, I guess) subverted the core tenants of that genre. Everlasting peace is never achieved. Society becomes more, not less, st ...more
Danielle Parker
I have to confess, about mid-way through the first in John C. Wright’s latest series, I had a weird fantasy pop into my head. I was in the audience, next to Robert Heinlein, with the good Dr. Asimov on the other side. Asimov was chortling, and Heinlein chuckling, while we passed a big tub of popcorn (real butter, of course) between us. Up on the stage in a conga line were other famous science fiction scientist writers: Edward Lerner, Vernor Vinge, Rudy Rucker, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford and many ...more
If you are debating spending money and time on this book, please do not. It isn't a fast read, and it's really unsatisfying. I hear John C. Wright has some other really great offerings out there, so go find one of those.

The takeaway I got from this is that girls rule and boys drool? Really, it's that mature, for all of the time spent on exposition set up and cool ideas. The action (of which there was very little) resolved in a frustrating, unbelievable anti-climax. An enormous amount of time is
Tyler Case
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was fun, interesting, and put forth many great images and ideas. However, there are two huge, glaring problems that I am unable to overlook. First, the author sets out to create characters who are smarter than everyone else, and fails to do so. This is a common issue, since how can a character be more intelligent than his/her author? In this case, it makes the climax of the story quite disappointing, when the super geniuses act stupid. The second problem is that the ...more
It's been a long time since I've read a book that, as far as 94% into the text, I wonder, "Enough with the exposition, when's the action about to start?"

This novel had some really intriguing ideas, and certainly some entertaining angles and food for thought, but there was a vapid plot, infuriatingly weak characters, and so little to really offer the reader that I can't but walk away feeling cheated. I expected the heavy hand of physics and higher math to greet me, and I expected incredible longi
Rj Meyers
In summary: A few neat ideas, but clunky dialogue, too much exposition, bad pacing, only one memorable character (Montrose), creepy views of gender roles of men and women, futuristic sausage fest, and lots of math-babble. A pretty quick read. Too bad I bought it. Suppose I'll give it away next time I donate books.


Two neat ideas can be found in this book: 1) The overall setting regarding aliens and humanity's place in the galaxy and (2) the gunslinging technologies. Not much else new to be
Tim Hicks
So many good ideas wasted! This book needed a co-author who can write characters and dialogue.

The edition I read also desperately needed a copy editor, because I saw at least 50 typos, slips and inconsistencies. I blame the publisher for that, though. not the author.

Menelaus is such a klutz it's amazing. Genius? Ha! Naive simpleton would be more accurate. He's almost laughable at times, and don't get me started on his attitudes about women.

Del Azarchel is presented as a complex character, the
If I had to find a flaw with this novel, it would be having to wade through the math-speak that saturates a giant chunk of the book. However, I am a veteran scifi reader, and I am far gone enough to actually carry about warp field dynamics, be irritated by the structure of Firefly's universe, and be able to multiple types models of Valkyrie variable fighters apart at a glance. I will not complain, but just warn you: You might need to have google handy.

This is a book for scifi readers, not for pe
I did not like this book. And it had nothing to do with the plot. It was poorly written. The author kept throwing out math and science terms (i.e. the names of particular laws or principals), thing is it just felt like he was doing it to show that he knew all that stuff. HEY! I KNOW WHAT THE BERNOULLI EFFECT IS! It took away from the book. The characters are thinly written and uninteresting. He spends a lot of time describing his world in completely boring ways. Eventually I resorted to skimming ...more
Jeff Miller
Anybody who as read his books from the Golden Age trilogy to Null-A-Contiuum knows he is a writer of big ideas and this book is an embarrassment of riches. So many great ideas are contained within that they could have been parsed out a basis for a dozen of other SF books. This book follows the rich tradition of the Space Opera where it's not over until the "voluptuous green-skinned spacewomen in silvery space-bikinis" sing.

The specific story follows young Menelaus Illation Montrose from his chil
I am a huge fan of John C Wright, so I was really excited to read this book. The first half of the book blew my mind with the out-of-the-box ideas worked in and the breadth and audacity of the imagination put into it. I absolutely loved the first half of the book, and would wholeheartedly recommend it on that merit. To my disappointment, however, I can't give the book as a whole more than 3 stars because of two things:

1. The whole book hinges on advanced math (it's about an interplanetary missio
FBC Mini Review:

I still believe that the best sf debut of the 00 decade in the US has been the Golden Age Trilogy of John C. Wright and because of that I have always had a soft spot for the author despite that his follow-up novels veered towards urban fantasy (War of the Dreaming) and then YA fantasy (Chronicles of Chaos of which the first volume was somewhat interesting but I never got the urge to read more).

These first lines that open The Golden Age show sf at its best and most wondrous:

"It wa
Count to a Trillion

Go ahead, try it, see how far you get. When I was a kid, like, maybe in Kindergarten, I remember being pretty obsessed with numbers. It was a real revelation to me that there was a pattern in how numbers worked. Count up to nine, the add a zero in a column to the right and start counting again...

Well, I’d continue with my explanation, but I’m sure most people that bother to read this probably have a good handle on how to count. So, I’ll move on.

If we get back to me being a ki
It is a shame that John C. Wright's own personal Science Fiction Golden Age seems to have begun and ended with his first trilogy "The Golden Age". His follow-up Everness series was a masterful blend of Dunsanian and Lovecraftian fantasy; his next series, Orphans of Choas, more an indulgence in showing off his personal knowledge of Mythology than a true wonder. I was so looking forward to his return to SF and grand Space Opera with "Count to a Trillion" but it was not to be so. Still, the ideas a ...more
Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright is the first in a new transhumanist space opera series. The novel follows Menelaus Montrose, resident of the war ravaged Texus and a lawyer (disputes are arbited via pistol duels so there is very little traditional law infvolved) as well as a math genius. Montrose is recurited for a space mission to investigate a mysterious alien monolith. It is on this mission that Montrose believing that only a scientifically accelerated mind, a posthuman mind, can deciphe ...more
Derek Pegritz
A VERY welcome return to transhumanist science-fiction from John C. Wright after years of writing goofy, childish fantasy. Wright suffered some form of traumatic religious brain damage after writing his seminal Golden Age Trilogy in the early 2000s, but even though he still seems to be suffering its effects in real life, his ability to write epic, Van Vogtian/Doc-Smithian sci-fi full of philosophical rumination, mythic imagery, and truly vast consequence has NOT been compromised, as Count to a T ...more
Bryan Schmidt
I got to page 240 and gave up. Make no mistake, this is hard SF and while I'm sure John C. Wright is brilliant, I found it mostly incomprehensible much of the time. It did get to the story and characters after about 100 pages but then it was a lot of talking and little action and so 140 pages later, I gave up. There are definitely some fascinating concepts here, including the religious future presented. But this is pretty much everything I dislike about much HardSF. Give me characters I can care ...more
Tom Liles
This review is a work in progress.

Count to a Trillion is a wonderful, cynical, romantic, book.

The story revolves around a central question: What will it take to get humanity of it's butt and explore the universe? The main character, Montrose, a lawyer-cum-duelist-cum-neuroscientist, romantically pines for the future promised by the jet age--all flying cars and massive spaceships and high adventure. The rest of the world is more pragmatic.

So what does it take to get us out in space? The promise
Truly this is wright at his most convoluted and unnecessarily wordy. There's a really interesting story here that's buried under miles of meandering, bizarre exposition and narrative and terrible dialogue. Also the earth-future portrayed here is partially a nightmarish, fever-dream version of all of his various paranoid ultra-conservative rants, kind of balled together into narrative form.
There's also the terrible, terrible dialogue. I'm pretty sure that nobody in any actual feudal age ever spok
Julie Davis
John C. Wright is one of those authors who can be too smart for me. This is one of those cases. The concepts the main character must be conversant in are so far above my head that I just can't hang on long enough to get into the story. I went through one wave of such high level thinking and now that I'm faced with the second I just can't make myself dive in long enough to get to the space princess.
The book felt more like concepts and ideas held together loosely with a plot and characters. I did like the main character, Menelaus Montrose enough to continue reading the book to the end but in the end I was left thinking, "Well, so?" and "That's it?" Generally not the feeling one wants to be left with after finishing a book.

This is book one of Count to Eschton series. As of September 2014, the series is projected to be 6 books, 3 have been published.

This is one of those really big idea novel that explores the idea of Interstellar Trade/War without faster than light travel. The aliens left the big stupid object (Monument) as an intelligence test against all that may be candidate (and worthy enough for them to actually enslave) for their attention.

It's also a series that first starts in an era where human progress ca
Ryan Lawler
Thoughtful sci-fi. The scope of ideas presented and explored in this book were enormous. The characters were hard to relate to but they were fully explored in interesting ways. The plot had moments that I really enjoyed, but the overall design of the story from start to finish was weak, especially the ending.

The science was well researched. My fields of research are Linear Programming and Cellular Automata, and the way Wright extrapolated ideas from these fields was certainly plausible. Being so
Like most John C. Wright books, it contains some absolutely fascinating scenes and ideas, and some absolutely terrible authorial decisions. Unfortunately, I think the fascinating scenes were slightly outnumbered in this one.
This book is about a Texas gun-slinger of the future, Menelaus, who becomes an astronaut driven mad by a boost of intelligence. He wakes up from a cryogenic sleep 200 years later and finds his fellow astronauts have taken over the planet.

The new order is an aristocracy where the astronauts are royalty.

Menelaus learns about a communication with aliens, more humans with heightened intelligence, and also computers (a.i.) with heightened intelligence. A bit of a macho/western feeling to this story,
Count to a Trillion is a strange sort of novel. It seems primarily dedicated to avoiding any kind of resolution to any of the narratives it establishes and finding other literary ways to annoy me. Poor characterization, egregious technobabble and obnoxious timeskips are just a few of the book’s many sins. And yet, there is an interesting and ambitious concept at its core. Ultimately, I think the novel falls short of its goals, but it takes us on what could be the start of an intriguing ride.

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John C. Wright (John Charles Justin Wright, born 1961) is an American author of science fiction and fantasy novels. A Nebula award finalist (for the fantasy novel Orphans of Chaos), he was called "this fledgling century's most important new SF talent" by Publishers Weekly (after publication of his debut novel, The Golden Age).
More about John C. Wright...
The Golden Age (Golden Age #1) Orphans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #1) The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2) The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3) Fugitives of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #2)

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