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The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age #2)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,086 ratings  ·  48 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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 19th 2003 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Dan 1.0
Apr 16, 2012 Dan 1.0 rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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!

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
Dean C. Moore
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Benjamin Kahn
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!
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
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
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
Not sure yet. This is more like 3 1/2 stars.
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.
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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 (4 books)
  • The Golden Age (Golden Age #1)
  • The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3)
  • The Golden Age Trilogy
The Golden Age (Golden Age #1) Orphans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #1) The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3) Fugitives of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #2) 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!”
“Any naturally self-aware self-defining entity capable of independent moral judgment is a human.”

Eveningstar said, “Entities not yet self-aware, but who, in the natural and orderly course of events shall become so, fall into a special protected class, and must be cared for as babies, or medical patients, or suspended Compositions.”

Rhadamanthus said, “Children below the age of reason lack the experience for independent moral judgment, and can rightly be forced to conform to the judgment of their parents and creators until emancipated. Criminals who abuse that judgment lose their right to the independence which flows therefrom.”

(...) “You mentioned the ultimate purpose of Sophotechnology. Is that that self-worshipping super-god-thing you guys are always talking about? And what does that have to do with this?”

Rhadamanthus: “Entropy cannot be reversed. Within the useful energy-life of the macrocosmic universe, there is at least one maximum state of efficient operations or entities that could be created, able to manipulate all meaningful objects of thoughts and perception within the limits of efficient cost-benefit expenditures.”

Eveningstar: “Such an entity would embrace all-in-all, and all things would participate within that Unity to the degree of their understanding and consent. The Unity itself would think slow, grave, vast thought, light-years wide, from Galactic mind to Galactic mind. Full understanding of that greater Self (once all matter, animate and inanimate, were part of its law and structure) would embrace as much of the universe as the restrictions of uncertainty and entropy permit.”

“This Universal Mind, of necessity, would be finite, and be boundaried in time by the end-state of the universe,” said Rhadamanthus.

“Such a Universal Mind would create joys for which we as yet have neither word nor concept, and would draw into harmony all those lesser beings, Earthminds, Starminds, Galactic and Supergalactic, who may freely assent to participate.”

Rhadamanthus said, “We intend to be part of that Mind. Evil acts and evil thoughts done by us now would poison the Universal Mind before it was born, or render us unfit to join.”

Eveningstar said, “It will be a Mind of the Cosmic Night. Over ninety-nine percent of its existence will extend through that period of universal evolution that takes place after the extinction of all stars. The Universal Mind will be embodied in and powered by the disintegration of dark matter, Hawking radiations from singularity decay, and gravitic tidal disturbances caused by the slowing of the expansion of the universe. After final proton decay has reduced all baryonic particles below threshold limits, the Universal Mind can exist only on the consumption of stored energies, which, in effect, will require the sacrifice of some parts of itself to other parts. Such an entity will primarily be concerned with the questions of how to die with stoic grace, cherishing, even while it dies, the finite universe and finite time available.”

“Consequently, it would not forgive the use of force or strength merely to preserve life. Mere life, life at any cost, cannot be its highest value. As we expect to be a part of this higher being, perhaps a core part, we must share that higher value. You must realize what is at stake here: If the Universal Mind consists of entities willing to use force against innocents in order to survive, then the last period of the universe, which embraces the vast majority of universal time, will be a period of cannibalistic and unimaginable war, rather than a time of gentle contemplation filled, despite all melancholy, with un-regretful joy. No entity willing to initiate the use of force against another can be permitted to join or to influence the Universal Mind or the lesser entities, such as the Earthmind, who may one day form the core constituencies.”

Eveningstar smiled. “You, of course, will be invited. You will all be invited.”
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