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The Collapsium (The Queendom of Sol #1)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  367 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In this stunningly original tale, acclaimed author Wil McCarthy imagines a wondrous future in which the secrets of matter have been unlocked and death itself is but a memory. But it is also a future imperiled by a bitter rivalry between two brilliant scientists--one perhaps the greatest genius in the history of humankind; the other, its greatest monster.

The Collapsium

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Paperback, 428 pages
Published November 26th 2002 by Bantam (first published 2000)
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Reddit Underrated Sci Fi List
78th out of 86 books — 79 voters
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Classic Science Fiction - 2000-2009
92nd out of 158 books — 79 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 801)
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J.R. Barker
The first half was a bit of a merry go-round of a story. It seemed to go round in circles going nowhere.

Problem occurs, help sought, problem fixed.

The problem- the Collapsium, a highly dangerous project that will put a ring of crystals, composed of tiny black holes, around the sun that would increase the efficiency of transferring data and people.

The Collapsium comes into danger of falling into the sun a handful of times, and seems to be fixed by ideas that come from the brain of one Bruno de To
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Humanity has discovered Collapsium and Wellstone, substances that have made possible immensely powerful computers, teleportation and even immortality. “Faxes” allow the creation of any conceivable thing, from food to servitor robots to spaceship components. “Fax gates” allow teleportation and even duplication of people. The inventor of said substances, Bruno de Tovaji, is now living in self-imposed exile on his own asteroid in the Oort Cloud. Here he conducts experiments aimed at “seeing” the en ...more
Nov 03, 2009 Woodge rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: brainy sf geeks looking for fast-moving coolness
A few weeks ago I was flipping through the New York Times Book Review when I came across a brief, favorable review for this science fiction tale. This one was pretty wild too. The author is a former rocket scientist who now works in the field of commercial robotics so the science within The Collapsium is both informed and a little dizzying. But you don't need to be a rocket scientist to enjoy this book (or even a super genius like me). The hero of the story is the brilliant scientist Bruno de To ...more
A lot of science fiction literature takes a somewhat negative view of scientific progress, 'cautionary tales' that point out the problems with scientific inquiry. I enjoy a lot of stories like that, but, when that type of story becomes too dominant within the genre, you end up with a very pessimistic view of things - I once heard an author refer to Michael Crichton's entire publishing history as "Here's a great scientific idea - AND HERE'S HOW IT WILL KILL US ALL."

Fortunately, there are also boo
This book took some getting used to. It remined me of John C. Wright's The Golden Age trilogy. I think it was partly the style and partly that it was set in the "far" future where mankind hasn't traveled beyond the solar system.

The book is written in 3 parts and it seemed to me like they were originally 3 seperate stories combined into a novel. At the start of parts 2 and 3 there was a recap of the previous part. Not that that's a bad thing, but some editing to remove this may have helped.

I foun
This was a book I picked up on vacation from a take one leave one library. It is a perfect book for just that - vacation and leave it when you're done. It was easy to read, easy to put down, never particularly exciting, but interesting enough to pick up again. The characters were pretty one-dimensional, inspiration hit the "hero" as needed, and the science was a fun exploration of physics, but there wasn't really anything I took away from the story. Space opera is the genre I'd put it in.
Leif Anderson
It was a fairy tale. A science fiction fairy tale. Don't start reading this expecting your average space opera. Actually, maybe you should. I expected harder science fiction, and was pleasantly surprised and amused by the constant footnotes and appendices, and the whimsical plot twists. It was a very entertaining book. And a lot of the science was at least kind of backed up. Oh, and don't worry, it's not some kind of Buck Rodgers knock-off or anything. It's pretty good.
Tim Hayes
I started this book with high hopes, based on the premise. By the end of it, I was grinding my teeth and shouting at the author for having wasted his novel idea with his poor writing. An unconvincing villain, characters who barely grew or changed at all over the course of the story, and sudden changes in narration style so that McCarthy could cover for his own deficiencies as an author combined to make this book one that I would never recommend to another reader.

Mark Cheverton
Not as good as I expected from the reviews. It was certainly imaginative, and a solid grounding in Physics and the current state of the art was evident, but for me it was too much of the EE Doc Smith with a single scientist hero running around solving all the worlds ills on the spot. It also read as three shorts bolted together rather than one overall narrative which was a little disappointing as this wasn't obvious from the blurb.
As far as story goes it's not too bad. Three interlinked stories featuring the same characters.

Very driven by the science within the universe. I really liked the science part of it, and the story was made to fit the science. Not a bad read at all, just not at the top of favorite science fiction stories.

I enjoyed Bloom (also by McCarthy) more than this one.
Miguel Ángel Moreno
Novela de ciencia ficción transhumanista con aire naif. Personajes y trama demasiado simples y predecibles para mi gusto.
Vincent Stoessel
Great Book. The ideas of programable matter appealed to both a a hard SF fan and as a programmer.
This story is much lighter than a Hamilton or Reynolds but the idea are no less mind-blowing. I have not been able to get into the rest of the series but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I enjoyed the series and I enjoyed this novel but the main character as a super hero of science with one guy knowing all can get tiring. I would just enjoy it for the physics and ideas and enjoy that someone decided to pack as much hard science into a space opera as possible.
Natasha Hurley-Walker
Reminiscent of John C. Wright's "Golden Age", but with more wishfulphysics and less classical allusion. Quite enjoyable, eventually, although in the second story I did start to find the whimsical tone a little grating.
Michael K Martin
This was a very enjoyable book, chock full of cool ideas, with several appendicies, annotations, and footnotes explaining the far out yet plausible inventions and substances involved in this amazing novel.
If you like physics, you may like this book. I enjoyed the story of it, but I would have to say that my favorite part was all the theoretical technology and physics.
Not my favorite of the series, the different chapters read a bit too much like individual short stories.
Tedious and simplistic, in spite of an over-abundance of pseudo-Quantum Physics.
There were some interesting ideas and themes in this futuristic novel.
Heavy on the (speculative?) physics, but an enjoyable storyline nonetheless.
First 2/3's were alright, but then it goes to crazy-town at the end.
Reminiscent of Robert A. Heinlein... no higher praise!
Paul Senior
Entertaining SF in a really old style.
Interesting scifi physics, good story.
My 33rd Birthday
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Science fiction author and Chief Technology Officer for Galileo Shipyards

Engineer/Novelist/Journalist/Entrepreneur Wil McCarthy is a former contributing editor for WIRED magazine and science columnist for the SyFy channel (previously SciFi channel), where his popular "Lab Notes" column ran from 1999 through 2009. A lifetime member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, he has been
More about Wil McCarthy...

Other Books in the Series

The Queendom of Sol (4 books)
  • The Wellstone (The Queendom of Sol #2)
  • Lost in Transmission (The Queendom of Sol #3)
  • To Crush the Moon (The Queendom of Sol #4)
Bloom The Wellstone (The Queendom of Sol #2) Lost in Transmission (The Queendom of Sol #3) To Crush the Moon (The Queendom of Sol #4) Hacking Matter: Levitating Chairs, Quantum Mirages, And The Infinite Weirdness Of Programmable Atoms

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“I burst out crying because I realized something right then and there: death was going to take her someday. Because she'd grow old and wrinkly, you see, and fill up with pain until it extinguished her, and it just ... seemed intolerable. Shouldn't it? I mean, even a diamond is forever, and a diamond can't grip your finger.” 2 likes
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