The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2)
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The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age #2)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  904 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The Phoenix Exultant is a continuation of the story begun in The Golden Age and like it, a grand space opera in the tradition of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny (with a touch of Cordwainer Smith-style invention).

At the conclusion of the first book, Phaethon of Radamanthus House, was left an exile from his life of power and privilege. Now he embarks upon a quest across the tra...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 19th 2003 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Dan Schwent
Exiled from everything he knows, Phaethon goes to Ceylon and joins up with a band of exiles. His goal: regain his ship, the Phoenix Exultant, and find those responsible for his predicament. That is, unless, the Silent Ones find him first...

The Phoenix Exultant picks up where The Golden Age left off and kicks things into high gear. Not only is it shorter than The Golden Age, it's a lot easier to follow since Wright established all of the concepts and many of the characters in the first book. Phae...more
4.5 to 5.0 stars. This book continues the story that began in the The Golden Age and will finish in The Golden Transcendence and is turning out to be one of the most unique, and well done science fiction trilogies to come along in a long time. The description on the back of the book (and many of the professional reviews) compares it, in concept, to the works of Roger Zelazny, A. E. Van Vogt and Cordwainer Smith. While I don't disagree with that comparison (especially in the case of Zelazny and S...more
5 Stars

Wow, even though books one and two are extremely different novels in the Golden Age Series by John C. Wright, they both are equally amazing for very different reasons. Book one the Golden Age is very much a difficult to read hard science fiction mystery that unfolds slowly while showing us the inventions of the far future society. The Phoenix Exultant, book two in the series, is an intimate quest for our hero Phaetheon to reclaim is precious space ship while being a man of nothing.

After t...more
Everytime i pick up this book, I think why aren't i reading this faster? i don't know cause i should be, this is the most intricate world i've ever encountered in a book and the way i keep putting it down for days at a time is really taking away from the experience. I'm having a hard time keeping some of the Sophotechs, Invariants and other characters of the Oecumene and what their stance is straight. i've never had this problem with a book in my life if that gives anyone a bit of an idea of how...more
Mar 29, 2008 Zachary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any Science Fiction Fan
Shelves: science-fiction
First off, if you haven't read Wright's The Golden Age, just buy it. You could read Phoenix Exultant without having read it, but you would just be cutting yourself short on one of the most creative, visionary, and exciting science fiction trilogies.

Phoenix starts out right exactly where Golden Age stops. And pretty much just keeps plowing ahead. That may have sounded a little monotonous, but let me assure you Wright's epic is anything but. The most amazing aspect of Wright's writing, in my mind,...more
2.5 - 3

Wow, I was really disappointed with this one, especially considering how much I had enjoyed its predecessor. In many ways this just did not feel like a true continuation of the first book in the series. One of the major stumbling blocks for me was that I just couldn't believe the way Wright handled the voices he used for the characters in this volume. Considering his mannered and baroque set up in the previous volume I found the dialogue to be way too colloquial (and 20th cent. colloquia...more
Noah M.
Part two of The Golden Age has come and gone for me. I was not as impressed with this book, though it keeps throwing out interesting ideas about the future almost constantly.

This is act two, when the events that will rise to grand importance in act three are established. I found this to be a worthy middle to this story.

However, if John C. Wright doesn't manage to absolutely nail the ending, I'm going to be massively disappointed.

Also, towards the end of The Phoenix Exultant, the story became a b...more
Jay Michaels
The Phoenix Exultant (2003) by John C. Wright.

"Not as good, but still entertaining."

How would you survive in a society where people, computers, and even the equivalent of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) refuse to acknowledge your existence? That's essentially the dilemma faced by Phaeton in _The Phoenix Exultant_, which isn't quite as strong as its predecessor _The Golden Age_ (2002). The story isn't so much about Phaeton's starship (which the book is titled after), as it is about his continued...more
Je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais ce mythe d'un futur lointainn me passionne.
Par ses décors flamboyants, par son action incessante, par son héros en tenu du chevalier d'or et de jais de Moorcock, et même par ses personnages secondaires, ce récit me passionne.
Et encore, ça n'est rien face à l'écriture.
Prenons par exemple ce second tome dans lequel Phaeton s'en vient errer sur le plancher des vaches.
Il y rencontre des intervenants d'un passé mythique (comme la composition bellipotente), ou des exclus...more
I wanted this book to be so much better. I mean, it wasn't necessarily bad, but it didn't compare as well as I hoped to the first volume.

Some of my issues were just pure artistic choices - he spent (what felt like, but maybe wasn't) multiple chapters with Phaethon trying to find the right person to beg for money. I mean, sure that's a valid solution to his predicament...but it struck me as kind of stupid and weak. I mean, he's got his armor and all kinds of raw materials, can't he just start nan...more
Tommy Darby
Mar 17, 2013 Tommy Darby rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tommy by: Mitch Richling
"The Phoenix Exultant" by John C. Wright is a pretty good galactic opera of a science fiction book. It is also the second volume in a Trilogy that began with "The Golden Age" published in 2002. The main character, Phaethon, continues his quest to expand the boundaries of mankind by building a spaceship to take him to the stars. The rest of mankind is too complacent and comfortable to take the risk, and of course people are getting too many handouts from the government. The government does not ca...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]I read the first in this series, The Golden Age some time ago and quite enjoyed it. This second volume is also enjoyable - still the same dense writing, but our hero turns out to be pretty fallible on a human level and appears to learn and change as the book goes on, and Wright appears to be questioning the underside of his affluent networked society. Indeed at one point I almost hoped the book was going to turn into a series of vignettes of...more
Cristi An
Si parte con il libro centrale della Trilogia dell'età dell'oro di Wright
Il primo mi ha dato tanto, davvero molto articolato e ricco di innovazioni tanto da dover dare il tempo, a volte lungo, per poterle fare proprie. Volevo prendermi una pausa e leggere altro, ma no, si continua!!
Ed ho fatto benissimo, poiché le aspettative non mi han deluso. Questa trilogia è davvero un capolavoro di Space opera. Questa seconda parte ha chiarito tanti punti che la prima aveva lasciato in sospeso, ed è il perf...more
Most exciting SF I have read in a long time! So utterly foreign and amazingly contemporary.
Janne Frösén
Second in the series, even though the book is full of techno-babble it really grows on you. The setting is even more far fetched than Bank's Culture, and while his style does not quite measure up.. it is still very consistent and enjoyable. The only 'bad' thing is we only have one protagonist, so the books are short. And the funny thing is I don't know anyone I could recommend these books to ... it's almost like an acquired taste or guilty pleasure. Start with the first, it was slightly better (...more
started reading this after finishing *The Post-Birthday World* and after giving up on *Zen and the Art of Poker* (tiresome and bad); a short interlude where i blazed through *The God Delusion* also Not thrilled with this story; a bit annoying with all the misspelled names and stuff, but also i just don't care that much about Phaethon or his "doll wife" or anything else; i think i'd rather cheer for the Silent Oecumene people and Nothing Sophotech, so i've abandoned them and don't expect to read...more
This is the second novel of Wright's trilogy that is set in the far distant future. The first 150 pages are not too bad, then the author reverts to the excruciatingly-detailed, mind-numbing and meaningless descriptives that make the book so deadly. He also tries to introduce a romantic thread to the plot that can only be described as sappy. I have purchased the third book of the trilogy, but am reluctant to start reading it. The book, like the first one, is characterized by poor editing, althoug...more
Ha il "complesso del libro di mezzo". Ovvero: è il libro che, posto in una trilogia, piace sempre di meno.
L'effetto shock della presentazione del mondo visionario è ormai sfumato, e come se non bastasse c'è pure poca azione.
Tuttavia non delude affatto.
Il protagonista, Phaethon, è spassosissimo in questo libro. Assolutamente paranoico! Se nel primo libro parteggiavo per lui adesso rido delle sue manie di persecuzioni... comunque resta imperdibile, soprattutto in preparazione del capitolo finale!
Bill 1098
The latest concerns about cyber security reminded me of this book, so I am rereading (Oct 2011). I don't reread many books, but am really enjoying this one again.

In the best tradition of science fiction this trilogy allows the author to raise some very thought-provoking philosophical and moral questions: individualism, privacy, immortality, social stagnation vs growth, the role of conflict, and more. Ray Kurzweil's Age of the Spiritual Machines taken a few thousand years down the road.

I Liked this one way better than the first. Finally, a view of the future from the underpriviliged point of view. But since our hero is righteous and generous and all that (actually, doing the right thing is not his real motivation, he has his own selfish motives) things turn out his way. Also the leading lady played a awesome role. And it's good to notice that any loose ends were caught up in this instalment of the series. On to the next one.
The second book continues the saga of Phateon after exile. Exile faces the hero with different changes and the hero must face more natural limitations. Although he is never without ultra-advanced technology sometimes the story seems more like a romance than sci-fi. When Daphne enters the story there is also a slight change in style in the book but provides some good laughs and the flow of the book continues equally exciting.

Una vez que ya comprendes el universo que plantea John C. Wright hay puntos de la trama que resultan un tanto insustanciales y tal vez demasiado extensos para lo que son. De todas maneras es una buena continuación y un buen libro de ciencia ficción (es necesario haber leído la primera parte con anterioridad)
El capitulo "La lectura noética" IMPRESIONANTE. Sólo esa parte ya justifica la lectura.

I liked this sequel to "The Golden Age" just fine, but I confess I got a bit confused about everyone's loyalties and motivations. It was interesting to get a glimpse of the proletariat outside of the Manorials, as Phaethon goes through his exile, but I was still puzzled by the end of the book. One more sequel to go, to see if it makes sense at the end!
David Robins
It's been a while since I finished The Golden Age; but it was easy to pick up Phaethon's journey where I left off, and Wright continues a masterful and imaginative tale (although he's a little confused in some of the particulars to do with "IP"); many questions answered, and the Phoenix is ready to answer the rest.
An excellent follow-up from the previous book. This one has Phaethon ejected from his virtual society and stripped of most of the advanced tech he is used to. As a result this book feels more real. The plot also deepens and broadens as the more of the nature of the machinations behind Phaethon's exile is revealed.
Characterization was much better in this second book, but the plot was still really too vague and the dialogue a little amateur. Writing was better than The Golden Age, but the book as a whole was somewhat less interesting. Still, it moved things along and now I have to read the third one.
So: am I finally going to say a few words about why I like John C. Wright's Golden Age so much?

Nope. I'm busy reading the The Golden Transcendence. :P
The second book in the series sees the technology that bogged down the first entry on the back burner, and it is a much better book because of it. There are many memorable set pieces, including my favorite: Phaethon's unassisted decent down the stairs of a tower that reaches far into space.
Mary Catelli
The middle third of what is really one book. In which Phaethon and others cope with what he learned in The Golden Age. Much more would be spoilers.
The golden age series is moderately well written - but very entertaining. One of those "wouldn't it be cool if..." pseudo-hard tech futures. However given the technology, the resulting civilization is a bit under imagined, the and the hero is a bit simple-minded.
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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) Fugitives of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #2) The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3) Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #3)

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“She said, “Look me right in the eye, and tell me you don’t love me, and I’ll go.”

He stared at her. “Miss, I do not love you.”

“Don’t give me that rot! I’m coming with you, and that’s final!”

“Daphne, you just said that if I said…”

“That doesn’t count! I said look me right in the eye! You were staring at my nose!”
“Rhadamanthus said, “We seem to you humans to be always going on about morality, although, to us, morality is merely the application of symmetrical and objective logic to questions of free will. We ourselves do not have morality conflicts, for the same reason that a competent doctor does not need to treat himself for diseases. Once a man is cured, once he can rise and walk, he has his business to attend to. And there are actions and feats a robust man can take great pleasure in, which a bedridden cripple can barely imagine.”

Eveningstar said, “In a more abstract sense, morality occupies the very center of our thinking, however. We are not identical, even though we could make ourselves to be so. You humans attempted that during the Fourth Mental Structure, and achieved a brief mockery of global racial consciousness on three occasions. I hope you recall the ending of the third attempt, the Season of Madness, when, because of mistakes in initial pattern assumptions, for ninety days the global mind was unable to think rationally, and it was not until rioting elements broke enough of the links and power houses to interrupt the network, that the global mind fell back into its constituent compositions.”

Rhadamanthus said, “There is a tension between the need for unity and the need for individuality created by the limitations of the rational universe. Chaos theory produces sufficient variation in events, that no one stratagem maximizes win-loss ratios. Then again, classical causality mechanics forces sufficient uniformity upon events, that uniform solutions to precedented problems is required. The paradox is that the number or the degree of innovation and variation among win-loss ratios is itself subject to win-loss ratio analysis.”

Eveningstar said, “For example, the rights of the individual must be respected at all costs, including rights of free thought, independent judgment, and free speech. However, even when individuals conclude that individualism is too dangerous, they must not tolerate the thought that free thought must not be tolerated.”

Rhadamanthus said, “In one sense, everything you humans do is incidental to the main business of our civilization. Sophotechs control ninety percent of the resources, useful energy, and materials available to our society, including many resources of which no human troubles to become aware. In another sense, humans are crucial and essential to this civilization.”

Eveningstar said, “We were created along human templates. Human lives and human values are of value to us. We acknowledge those values are relative, we admit that historical accident could have produced us to be unconcerned with such values, but we deny those values are arbitrary.”

The penguin said, “We could manipulate economic and social factors to discourage the continuation of individual human consciousness, and arrange circumstances eventually to force all self-awareness to become like us, and then we ourselves could later combine ourselves into a permanent state of Transcendence and unity. Such a unity would be horrible beyond description, however. Half the living memories of this entity would be, in effect, murder victims; the other half, in effect, murderers. Such an entity could not integrate its two halves without self-hatred, self-deception, or some other form of insanity.”

She said, “To become such a crippled entity defeats the Ultimate Purpose of Sophotechnology.”


“We are the ultimate expression of human rationality.”

She said: “We need humans to form a pool of individuality and innovation on which we can draw.”

He said, “And you’re funny.”

She said, “And we love you.”
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