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The Collapsium (The Queendom of Sol #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  492 Ratings  ·  33 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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Dec 09, 2009 Ryan rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 15, 2015 Chak rated it it was amazing
I loved this book for many reasons. The plot was strong (didn't seem to be going anywhere at first, but my patience was rewarded), the science was "hard" (I love hard scif, especially with explanatory appendices, glossaries, equations and backstory, as this one had!), and the antagonist was particularly interesting. In addition, McCarthy could have gone down some gratuitous paths when the book made a very, very dark turn about half way through, but he chose not to be gratuitous, and that really ...more
J.R. Barker
May 03, 2014 J.R. Barker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Vincent Stoessel
Nov 06, 2013 Vincent Stoessel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hard-sf
A gem from the dark age of Science Fiction of the "00s"
It seemed that during period of 2000-2009, we had lot of SF that attempted to really push the envelope of possibility in the realm of physics. You have some notable authors that really excelled at it and some that published works that little more than a physics lecture with a spaceship on the cover. There are authors that did blend entertainment with science to fashion great stories. This is one of them. The concept of Programmable Matter mi
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Tillman
Jun 15, 2016 Peter Tillman rated it liked it
The Collapsium opens with a wonderful novella, "Once Upon a Matter Crushed" (first published in SF Age 5/99). In the late 25th century, in the 8th decade of the Queendom of Sol, gravitation and the zero-point field are pretty well understood. "Neubles," diamond-clad neutronium spheres, are in everyday use -- a standard industrial neuble masses a billion tonnes, and has a radius of 2.67 cm. Our hero, wealthy super-scientist Bruno de Towaji, is experimenting with collapsium, a dangerous, metastabl ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Andreas rated it it was ok
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
Jan 10, 2017 Jerico rated it really liked it
This book is a solid 4.5 stars; it`s imaginative, complex, original, evokes humor and pathos in equal measures and has footnotes that inform and entertain.

Capsule review: In a solar empire based on a figurehead monarchy, a genius is interrupted from his research by a series of accidents related to a mega-engineering project that threatens the sun. The writing style is that faux-victorian pastiche that`s been kicking around since steampunk got rolling, but it`s fully subverted here by a setting
Nov 03, 2009 Woodge rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jun 17, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
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
Jun 28, 2015 Juan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ciencia ficción hard envuelta en un ropaje fantasioso, no fantasía de guerreros y magia, si no la de los cuentos de hadas. La fórmula funciona, no al 100% pero funciona. Pero por ejemplo a pesar que las explicaciones de los elementos más hard han sido sacadas a un apéndice, sigue habiendo partes sobre física gravitacional y cuántica bastante densas. No que me moleste, pero no se si será digerible para todo tipo de lector.

En cuanto a la historia propiamente dicha, pues las 3 partes en q se divide
Apr 03, 2012 Amy rated it did not like it
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.
Mark Cheverton
Jan 13, 2008 Mark Cheverton rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
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.

Mar 06, 2011 Steven rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Jul 24, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
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.
Michael K Martin
Jun 08, 2012 Michael K Martin rated it liked it
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.
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.
Jul 10, 2008 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, z2005
There were some interesting ideas and themes in this futuristic novel.
Brandon Mather
Jan 17, 2015 Brandon Mather rated it it was amazing
Miguel Ángel Moreno
Novela de ciencia ficción transhumanista con aire naif. Personajes y trama demasiado simples y predecibles para mi gusto.
Sep 26, 2012 Howard added it
Sep 16, 2008 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 15, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia
Reminiscent of Robert A. Heinlein... no higher praise!
May 11, 2009 Brian rated it liked it
Not my favorite of the series, the different chapters read a bit too much like individual short stories.
May 22, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Heavy on the (speculative?) physics, but an enjoyable storyline nonetheless.
Feb 22, 2012 Keith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
My 33rd Birthday
Jul 01, 2010 Justin rated it liked it
Interesting scifi physics, good story.
Paul Senior
Jan 19, 2013 Paul Senior rated it really liked it
Entertaining SF in a really old style.
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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)

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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.” 3 likes
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