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

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  465 ratings  ·  106 reviews
John C. Wright burst upon the SF scene a decade ago with the Golden Age trilogy, aninnovative space opera. He went on to write fantasy novels, including the popular Orphans of Chaos trilogy. And now he returns to space opera in Count toa Trillion.

After the collapse of the world economy, a young boy grows up in what used to be Texas as a tough duellist for hire, the future...more
Mass Market Paperback, 450 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Tor Science Fiction (first published December 20th 2011)
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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...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...more
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
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...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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...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...more
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...more
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.

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.
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.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nathan Hurst
I'm currently one third of the way through and I'm finding it very difficult to continue. I usually insist on reading a book to the end regardless of how bad it is, but this one is chronic. It's like I've picked up an advanced physics journal paper where the author has tried to be quirky and apply a few characters and a morality tale into it to try and make a dry and dull subject interesting. It simply doesn't work. The characters are clunky and speak in a slang that is a mash up of all slang ov...more
Antonin Januska
I'm surprised by the amount of negative reviews for this book but granted, it should be expected because of the way the book was written/done.

So first off, this is not a drama, this isn't any kind of character interaction driven book. It's a sci-fi with memorable characters who grow with the understanding of their environment and their place in it.

I've read Wright's other books, and they're a little bit different. This one reminds me of Golden Age, including the ending. The only difference I cou...more
Text Addict
The problem of an unlikable protagonist: after having the book out from the library for over 6 weeks, I can't be bothered to finish it before I have to return it (like, two days ago) because somebody put a hold on it. Of course it's also a problem of the post-Collapse neo-patriarchal setting, too.

Wright made a good effort to give Montrose a sympathetic aspect - the young boy's romantic attachment to an old space-opera comic full of optimism is a great touch, and according to the jacket copy he...more
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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) Fugitives of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #2) The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3)

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