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The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age #3)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  893 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Beginning with The Golden Age, continuing with The Phoenix Exultant and now concluding in The Golden Transcendence, The Golden Age is Grand Space Opera, an SF adventure saga in the tradition of A. E. van Vogt and Roger Zelazny, with perhaps a bit of Cordwainer Smith enriching the style. It is an astounding story of super-science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures th ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published November 15th 2003 by Tor Books (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,274)
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Dan Schwent
On the eve of the Transcendence, Phaethon takes the Phoenix Exultant into the very heart of the sun to confront his enemy, the Nothing Sophotech, agent of the Silent Oecumene. Can he stop the Nothing before the Nothing launches a sneak attack during the Golden Transcendence? And does he want to?

Wow. I was hoping Wright could wrap up The Golden Age saga in a satisfactory fashion and he did. I can't say much about the plot without giving too much away. I will say that Atkins proved to be even mor
...more
Jason
3 Stars

4.5 Stars for the series


3 Stars for The Golden Transcendence and 4.5 for the Golden Age series. I was extremely disappointed with this last installment of the series. It was not a mystery like book one, it was not a quest like book two, and it was more like a philosophical babble war inside an epic space opera fight for the world. To me that there was far too much time spent psycho analyzing every detail and possible outcome between the characters that the overall weight and scope of the
...more
Jay Michaels
The Golden Transcendence (2003) by John C. Wright.

"This changes EVERYTHING... or does it?"

"Things are not as they seem." With that assertion seemingly in mind, John C. Wright plunges the reader into the final volume of his "Golden Age" trilogy. His flowery but captivating prose is back once again, which to editor David G. Hartwell's credit is fairly easy to lose spelling errors in. Half a dozen misspellings per book seem to be typical for this series, e.g., "Helion" is misspelled as "Heloin." Bu
...more
Joel Salomon
This review applies to all three books of John C. Wright’s brilliant space opera The Golden Oecumene: The Golden Age , The Phoenix Exultant , and The Golden Transcendence: or, The Last of the Masquerade .
His vision is of of a far future, where immortal men are free to live in a benign Matrix-like dreamworld, or the real world, or anything in between; but where one man dares to dream of “deeds of renown without peer”: to expand humanity’s reach beyond our solar system (and one horribly failed col
...more
Tancredi
"L'universo è sempre più grande delle menti in esso contenute."

Episodio finale della trilogia dell'Ecumene dorato, un po' sottotono rispetto ai primi due romanzi, ma ne mantiene le promesse.
Tutti i nodi vengono al pettine: i nemici si rivelano, mentre Phaeton ritrova se stesso, il padre, e la moglie. Dal punto di vista della crescita del personaggio, Wright non delude: Phaeton, il cui nome rivela la derivazione classica del personaggio, è un grande personaggio tragico, ambizioso, votato alla hy
...more
Kalin
The Golden Age trilogy is perhaps the most ambitious space opera (and novel, for that matter) I have read so far. It is also one of the cleverest, most visionary, provocative, and ... the hell with those epithets. I'm not up to it. Browse the quotes I added, try the books themselves.

There's more to my silence though. I am disappointed by the ending: by the ultimate philosophy of the book (or at least what I got from it). After having that huge smile on my face during the Transcendence (because,
...more
Heather
On the eve of the Transcendence, our hero Phaethon is finally where all strands of destiny have always led him: aboard his magnificent starship, the Phoenix Exultant.

The book starts in high gear and never lets up with Phaethon matching wits and philosophy against his enemy, the Nothing Sophotech, agent of the Silent Oecumene. Can he stop the Nothing from sabotaging the Transcendence and triumphing over the Golden Oecumene? It's an all-out philosophical war on the bridge of the Phoenix Exultant
...more
Ben Hamner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cupof Tea
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Ian Kilgore
"Is not 'not' not is? Everything was nothing and nothing was everything. It was at once ultimately simple and infinitely complex" and on and on like that. I get that what Mr. Wright was trying to do can't really be done, but easily a quarter of this book is meaningless psuedo-zen rambling where the author states that a thing is Incredibly Deep and hopes you believe him.

The first book was cool, even if the dialogue had me picturing half of the characters wearing fedoras ("milady?"). The second bo
...more
Zachary
The final book in Wright's Golden Age Trilogy does not disappoint. Definitely don't read this before reading the first two books (Golden Age and the Phoenix Exultant). It starts off with an insanely intense battle and then shoots for the sun - literally! It does slow down for a bit, but then takes off quite energetically again.

This is the climactic book in an amazing trilogy, and Wright does an excellent job of bringing together all the different links and elements which he began weaving in the
...more
Nicolas
Dans ce dernier tome, on retrouve Phaeton, enfin en pleine possession de tous ses moyens, face à des dangers plus pressants que jamais.

En effet, après avoir lutté dans les tomes précédents pour retrouver son âme et sa mémoire, puis sa nef, il essaye finallement de sauver son rêve ... Le rêve de conquérir l'espace. Et dans cet âge d'or, les étoiles sont à sa portée : tout le monde est immortel, et il n'est d'ailleurs même plus nécessaire de se déplacer en personne - ni même d'avoir un corps, d'ai
...more
Onefinemess

AKA "The Philosophy War". Sorry, had to get that out of the way. Sure, there are physical things happening - stuff blows up, crazy technologies baffle, loves are found and found again, secrets are revealed - you know, stuff that happens in books. BUT, the core conflict or, rather, the conflict at the (super-dense) core of the climactic central scene, is one of philosophy and self-doubt. Man vs. Machine-as-Man converted to Man vs. Self by a clever enemy. Also, not unheard of. But the depths that
...more
Bobby Jackson
Honestly, I found this hard to get into and quit reading after page 100, which is disappointing since I did like the Phoenix Exultant. It spends so much time doing philosophical analysis that I found it distracting from the main plot and boring to read.
Rhialto
A stunningly realistic futuristic trilogy and the best science fiction I've read since Anathem. No dragons or witches or sentient suns in this, truly science, fiction.
Tim
I really enjoyed this series. Lots of mind blowing concepts rooted in well-thought out philosophy and serious technological speculation. Hard Sci Fi of the highest order.
Nuno Magalhães
Jul 15, 2013 Nuno Magalhães rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard SciFi Fans
O desfecho da trilogia de John C. Wright revela-nos finalmente o destino de faetonte e, com ele, o destino da humanidade após a Grande Transcedência que marca a transição da espécie humana, nas suas variadas formas, da Era de Ouro para outra Era essencialmente diferente. Cientificamente correcto e intelectualmente desafiador, este livro está recheado de debates filosóficos sobre a natureza da vida e da razão, proporcionando longas horas de reflexão num ambiente futurista e magistralmente imagina ...more
Noah M.
It ended well. Nothing spectacular in the end, but there was a final confrontation and then an extended sequence of small scenes following various characters through their resolutions.

Even in the last couple of pages there were revelations to be had that reached all the way back to the beginning of the first book. So it was definitely well thought out.

This was an excellent trilogy, and should really be considered to be one book in three parts. You can't start in the middle and have any clue what
...more
Cristi An
E finalmente son giunto alla conclusione di quella che è stata una magistrale saga di FS che solo nell'ultimissima parte perde pochi, pochissimi colpi ma che tutto sommato ritengo una delle migliori saghe nella fantascienza contemporanea.
Questi libri straripavano di idee assurde quanto immense e geniali. Idee quali ad es la "grande trascendenza" che solo grandi del calibro del Vernor Vinge di Universo Incostante han prima di lui contemplato. E tante, tante altre ancora.
Quindi... Bravo. Davvero b
...more
Cláudio
It's the happy ending of the trilogy. Nothing seems to go awry but there are still twists and turns in between. The beginning of the book is very interesting as is the final confrontation. One thing is certain, it is much more philosophical than the previous books. A lot of big questions are asked directly instead of being mere troubles of conscience from one character. Anyway, it is more or less impossible to not love this book after loving the previous ones and happy endings are always nice. : ...more
Ryan
Florid fantasy wrapped in a thin tissue of offensively bad science fiction. I gave up about 1/3rd through.

Pros: fulfilled author's contractual obligation, thus supporting the economic structure which helped him write the first book in the series (yay!)

Cons: utter trainwreck

Apart from the various literary flaws, the science fiction, never Wright's strong point, breaks down completely in this book. Implausible, inconsistent, and just plain bad. My brain exploded.
Nicholas Whyte
http://nhw.livejournal.com/1095705.html[return][return]Sorry, but I've got a hundred pages into it and I'm giving up. The unlikeable protagonist is locked in mental battle with his adversary using various nanotech and other superpowers, and I suddenly realised I didn't really care which of them won (indeed, as Ian Hislop said about the Mohamed al-Fayed vs Neil Hamilton libel case, I almost wished they would both lose).
Terry
Kind of unfair to rate this one since I never got past the first few chapters. It seems that the disappointment from the second book was destined to follow me into the third. I just didn't really care much anymore what Phaeton was doing or why. Things started to seem a little contrived and ultimately not worth the effort.

Maybe I'll go back to this one someday and try to finish off the series, maybe it gets better after the point where I dropped off.
Mary Catelli
The last third of what is really one book. In which Phaethon and others cope with what he learned in The Golden Age and The Phoenix Exultant. Much more would be spoilers.
Ryan Houlette
Gorgeous writing, a seemingly boundless imagination, a labyrinthine story with deep philosophical underpinnings, plus suspense and thrilling action to boot. A one-of-a-kind series. Yes, it's not without its one small flaw, but I'm not even going to say what it is, because if you're a sci-fi fan, you really should read this trilogy. And if you're a Jack Vance or Gene Wolfe aficionado, that goes double.
Alexandra
This series takes itself way too seriously with its faux philosophy and (incredibly) florid language (it was a nice change after Brandon Sanderson's pedestrian style, but got old after a few hundred pages). The story is convoluted but interesting, and I appreciated that each novel flowed seamlessly (no boring "this is what happened in the last book" sections).
Richard
It's too bad I couldn't award a -1 star to this book.

Poor editing. Extreme overuse of descriptive imagery and philosophic narratives. Complex plot line with numerous discontinuities. The author ties up loose ends at the end, but does so using extremely convoluted knots. This book, like its two predescessors in the trilogy, was a very tedious read.
Cody
This was the final book in 'The Golden Age' trilogy. It took me a while to get into the series, but once I started understanding the futuristic world that the author envisioned I was hooked. It is hard science fiction and does get very philosophical about what it is to be human and what makes life meaningful, but the story line is also very entertaining.
Joel Sassone
An almost hilariously extreme Libertarian take on a far-future society with a dash of questionable philosophical assumptions written before the author's own dive into Kirk Cameronism. This series does involve a number of rather imaginative SF innovations and ideas, although the ending is a bit too deus ex mechanical for my taste. 3 1/2 stars outta 5.
Ben
Can't say much about this series other than excellent hard scifi. Enjoyed it all the way through with his look on the far, far future. Writing something so far out in tech must be incredibly challenging to make somewhat believable.
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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) Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #3)

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“You were burning in the middle of the worst solar storm our records can remember. (...) Everyone else fled. All your companions and crew left you alone to wrestle with the storm.

“You did not blame them. In a moment of crystal insight, you realized that they were cowards beyond mere cowardice: their dependence on their immortality circuits had made it so that they could not even imagine risking their lives. They were all alike in this respect. They did not know they were not brave; they could not even think of dying as possible; how could they think of facing it, unflinching?

“You did not flinch. You knew you were going to die; you knew it when the Sophotechs, who are immune to pain and fear, all screamed and failed and vanished.

“And you knew, in that moment of approaching death, with all your life laid out like a single image for you to examine in a frozen moment of time, that no one was immortal, not ultimately, not really. The day may be far away, it may be further away than the dying of the sun, or the extinction of the stars, but the day will come when all our noumenal systems fail, our brilliant machines all pass away, and our records of ourselves and memories shall be lost.

“If all life is finite, only the grace and virtue with which it is lived matters, not the length. So you decided to stay another moment, and erect magnetic shields, one by one; to discharge interruption masses into the current, to break up the reinforcement patterns in the storm. Not life but honor mattered to you, Helion: so you stayed a moment after that moment, and then another. (...)

“You saw the plasma erupting through shield after shield (...) Chaos was attempting to destroy your life’s work, and major sections of the Solar Array were evaporated. Chaos was attempting to destroy your son’s lifework, and since he was aboard that ship, outside the range of any noumenal circuit, it would have destroyed your son as well.

“The Array was safe, but you stayed another moment, to try to deflect the stream of particles and shield your son; circuit after circuit failed, and still you stayed, playing the emergency like a raging orchestra.

“When the peak of the storm was passed, it was too late for you: you had stayed too long; the flames were coming. But the radio-static cleared long enough for you to have last words with your son, whom you discovered, to your surprise, you loved better than life itself. In your mind, he was the living image of the best thing in you, the ideal you always wanted to achieve.

“ ‘Chaos has killed me, son,’ you said. ‘But the victory of unpredictability is hollow. Men imagine, in their pride, that they can predict life’s each event, and govern nature and govern each other with rules of unyielding iron. Not so. There will always be men like you, my son, who will do the things no one else predicts or can control. I tried to tame the sun and failed; no one knows what is at its fiery heart; but you will tame a thousand suns, and spread mankind so wide in space that no one single chance, no flux of chaos, no unexpected misfortune, will ever have power enough to harm us all. For men to be civilized, they must be unlike each other, so that when chaos comes to claim them, no two will use what strategy the other does, and thus, even in the middle of blind chaos, some men, by sheer blind chance, if nothing else, will conquer.

“ ‘The way to conquer the chaos which underlies all the illusionary stable things in life, is to be so free, and tolerant, and so much in love with liberty, that chaos itself becomes our ally; we shall become what no one can foresee; and courage and inventiveness will be the names we call our fearless unpredictability…’

“And you vowed to support Phaethon’s effort, and you died in order that his dream might live.”
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“The relationship between the Sophotechs and the men as depicted in that tale made no sense. How could they be hostile to each other?”

Diomedes said, “Aren’t men right to fear machines which can perform all tasks men can do, artistic, intellectual, technical, a thousand or a million times better than they can do? Men become redundant.”

Phaethon shook his head, a look of distant distaste on his features, as if he were once again confronted with a falsehood that would not die no matter how often it was denounced. In a voice of painstaking patience, he said: “Efficiency does not harm the inefficient. Quite the opposite. That is simply not the way it works. Take me, for example. Look around: I employed partials to do the thought-box junction spotting when I built this ship. My employees were not as skilled as I was in junction spotting. It took them three hours to do the robopsychology checks and hierarchy links I could have done in one hour. But they were in no danger of competition from me. My time is too valuable. In that same hour it would have taken me to spot their thought-box junction, I can earn far more than their three-hour wages by writing supervision architecture thought flows. And it’s the same with me and the Sophotechs.

“Any midlevel Sophotech could have written in one second the architecture it takes me, even with my implants, an hour to compose. But if, in that same one second of time, that Sophotech can produce something more valuable—exploring the depth of abstract mathematics, or inventing a new scientific miracle, anything at all (provided that it will earn more in that second than I earn in an hour)—then the competition is not making me redundant. The Sophotech still needs me and receives the benefit of my labor. Since I am going to get the benefit of every new invention and new miracle put out on the market, I want to free up as many of those seconds of Sophotech time as my humble labor can do.

“And I get the lion’s share of the benefit from the swap. I only save him a second of time; he creates wonder upon wonder for me. No matter what my fear of or distaste for Sophotechs, the forces in the marketplace, our need for each other, draw us together.

“So you see why I say that not a thing the Silent One said about Sophotechs made sense. I do not understand how they could have afforded to hate each other. Machines don’t make us redundant; they increase our efficiency in every way. And the bids of workers eager to compete for Sophotech time creates a market for merely human work, which it would not be efficient for Sophotechs to underbid.”
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