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The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age #2)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,459 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
The Phoenix Exultant: The Golden Age, Volume 2 (Golden Age (Tor Paperback))
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 19th 2003 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Mar 08, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf, 2011
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
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
Dec 05, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
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
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
Oct 05, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it
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
Jan 10, 2008 Zachary rated it it was amazing
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,
Roddy Williams
‘The verve of SF’s golden age writers is reborn in The Phoenix Exultant, a grand and stirring fulfilment of the promise shown in The Golden Age that confirms John c Wright as a bright new star of science fiction.
Phaethon of Radamanthus House has been exiled, his ship confiscated. He embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms. For the first time in his centuries-long life, he must look reality in the face, without a layer of
Noah M.
Jun 10, 2009 Noah M. rated it really liked it
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
Dean C. Moore
Jan 24, 2015 Dean C. Moore rated it liked it
In many ways this is sci-fi as it should be, heady, teaming with exciting ideas, mind-blowing technology, and a far-future vision of humanity that feels both compelling and somewhat inescapable. Hard sci-fi fans and fans of Singularity sci-fi will find the series great food for the mind as I remarked when reviewing the first book in the series. And anyone interested in writing about a tech-saturated future for humanity would be ill-advised to skip this series.

For all of that, I found this secon
Jose Solis
Jan 26, 2017 Jose Solis rated it really liked it
Phaeton está en el exilio, condenado al ostracismo por toda la civilización que conoce, pero sigue firme en sus planes de recuperar su nave, la Phoenix Exultant. Y va a encontrar aliados inesperados en su búsqueda de la verdad detrás de la aparente conspiración a la que se enfrenta.
Buena continuación de The Golden Age, lleva la historia a su culminación en The Golden Transcendence
Feb 18, 2012 Richard rated it did not like it
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
Apr 04, 2015 Rui rated it it was ok
I loved the first book from this trilogy, the golden age. Awesome sci-fi, imaginative, serious and consistent. This one was a deception. The girl turned the main character into an almost idiotic puppet. That almost killed the book. John C. Wright just don't seem not to know how to handle a girl in a history.

What a throwback on expectations!

Dec 11, 2014 Peter rated it did not like it
The Phoenix Exultant, the second book of a trilogy, fails to build on the intricate world of the The Golden Age. There is some interesting science fiction but it is lost in a story mired by shallow characters, an egregious romance and tedious techno-babble.
Ami Iida
Jan 12, 2017 Ami Iida rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Science fiction is usual
Oct 10, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
"Occam's razor forbids us from adopting theories that require us to postulate unreal entities, such as, for example, the existence of conscience, noble dreams"
Aug 26, 2013 Onefinemess rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera
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
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
Jay Michaels
Jun 25, 2011 Jay Michaels rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Tommy Darby
Feb 21, 2013 Tommy Darby rated it really liked it
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
Oct 09, 2007 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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 "the p
Dec 25, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
A fine book indeed. The previous book in the triad I gave 3 stars to because though it managed to keep my interest there was an incredible amount of debate between characters over far futuristic problems such as - if I die and the copy that was made of me an hour before my death is activated should this copy legally be considered to be me? - and on and on it went with very little action between this constant exposition and debate. But being a big space opera fan and with the authors development ...more
Mar 01, 2016 Mark rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cristi An
Apr 02, 2014 Cristi An rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mondolibri
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
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
Jan 29, 2011 T4ncr3d1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, statunitensi
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!
Janne Frösén
Aug 05, 2011 Janne Frösén rated it really liked it
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
Bill 1098
Oct 15, 2011 Bill 1098 rated it it was amazing
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.

Benjamin Kahn
Nov 21, 2014 Benjamin Kahn rated it really liked it
Great sequel to the original, kept me riveted. It slowed down only twice - once when Daphne is reunited with Phaeton, and we hear in-depth a conversation between the machines, and then again when they have a scene very much like at the end of a mystery where all the clues come together. However, Wright turns that a big on its head in the ensuing scene.

A great book, and a great continuation of the story started in the first book, The Golden Age. I've looking forward to reading the conclusion!
Feb 15, 2013 Night rated it liked it

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.

Jan 27, 2011 Cláudio rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, far-future
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.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Golden Age (3 books)
  • The Golden Age (Golden Age #1)
  • The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #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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