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Implied Spaces

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,291 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Aristide, a semi-retired computer scientist turned swordsman, is a scholar of the implied spaces, seeking meaning amid the accidents of architecture in a universe where reality itself has been sculpted and designed by superhuman machine intelligence. While exploring the pre-technological world Midgarth, one of four dozen pocket universes created within a series of vast, or ...more
Hardcover, 1st edition, 265 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Night Shade Books (first published January 11th 2008)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  1,291 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Feb 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
When it comes to genre fiction, I'm a big fan of books that use what I'm now calling the Reese's Effect to tell an interesting story. That is, I like when genres collide as chocolate and peanut butter do in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Implied Spaces is a prime example of the Reese's Effect (see, it's catching on). I'd say it's a sword and planet/cyberpunk/singularity/detective/zombie story.

At first glance, the story is a mix of Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light and Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tier
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science fiction and fantasy fans.
Recommended to James by: I follow Mr. Williams' blog.
Important safety tip. If you're picking up Implied Spaces with the idea of reading a bit before you sleep, don't. Don't even pick it up. Because when the dawn's early light starts peeking through your window, you'll still be reading it.

Background: In physics, string and 'brane theories in their current states seem to suggest that more universes are possible, even likely, and that indeed, it might be possible to create one's own universes in the lab. Since each universe's laws of physics are esta
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
3 Stars

Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams should have been a perfect read for me as it contains pretty much all of my favorite genres mashed into one. At it's heart, Implied Spaces is a future based science fiction. Williams is a gifted writer and sometimes that is not a good thing. I am a fan of his but as before I feel that the writing here is better than the story.

The boom started out great to me, but at the halfway point of this short read I felt impatient for it to end. I loved the scie

Superb adventure sf in a post-singular world where 11 huge AI's orbiting the Sun and kept on a leash by the humans using supposedly unbreakable "Asimovian protocols" use their extraordinary computing and energy power to create pocket universes, that humans - well they indulge their fantasies on

In such a pocket universe - combination of fantasy gaming and cultural preserve, a mysterious swordsman with a talking cat - that's an avatar of the governing AI, Endora one of the 11 - and a wormhole s
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
So if someone had cryogenically frozen Robert Heinlein mid-late career, let's say The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress…ish, before he got too . . . y'know. And then they revived him in the mid-aughts and gave him a crash course in modern computer science and fantasy role-playing games? This would totally be the book he'd write in response. It was the talking AI cat that really got me there. But the self-obsessed semi-immortal adventurer who treats every occasion as an amusement park built specifically f ...more
Peter Tillman
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of cats in cyberspace
A grand space-opera thriller that opens as a fantasy/RPG adventure, and quickly morphs into a far-future post-scarcity wormhole-tech near-utopia. But human nature hasn’t changed, and people can screw up most anything….

OK, Aristide/Pablo, the MC, is a bit much at times. But Bitsy the cat, avatar of Endora, one of eleven powerful AIs that administer the solar system, is a pure delight. Here’s Daljit, Aristide’s former lady-love:
“Do you still have that horrible cat?”
“Yes, said Bitsy. “He does.”
“I d
Oct 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who don't mind a little mind- and genre-bending
Recommended to Alan by: A back-page ad in another Night Shade book, and by previous work
A light and stylish work of what—despite its initial appearance—turns out very quickly to be science fiction. And, again despite initial appearances, Implied Spaces develops both darkness and depth as it goes along. Walter Jon Williams is far from a one-note author—one might even call him polyphonic—and in this book he displays that range to good effect, drawing the reader along with Aristide, whom we meet as a raffish and likeable swordsman crossing the arid lands of Midgarth accompanied by his ...more
Oct 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
As you may know, three stars means that this is usually a 4 star author (though williams has his 5 star moments) but that I think it is worse than his usual.

This book is an oddly solipsistic bit of fun. It's hard to imagine that the main character finds himself in the situations he does, and the author actually addresses this point with the surprise super villian. But the explanation to me raises more questions, calling attention to a weakness of the book IMHO. The gee whiz solution to the confl
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

Currently on Audible Plus

Another cool find from Audible Plus. I look forward to reading other work by Walter Jon Williams.

If you are in the mood for a story that will stretch your imagination, this is the book for you. I liked the easy going pace for the story. It gave me room to visualize the setting and go off on tangents on what that would mean if ____. Aristide was a good character to go on an adventure.

- What would life be if you could live for a long time?
- If you can imp
Phil McCrum
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I'm having trouble reading lately... I have too many irons in the fire and keep getting diverted from one activity to another without finishing anything. Regardless, I was able to finally completely read a novel this week; partly because I forced myself to focus and partly because this particular novel got me hooked.

"Implied Spaces" is about a man, Aristide, who has lived for centuries due to advances in medicine and health care. He lives in the future where most people have left earth to live i
Implied Spaces is set in the not-too-far future, when humans have conquered nano-science and AI to a degree that people regularly visit a "pool of live", where their bodies and personalities are scanned and stored, so that, in the case of an accident, they can be resurrected from a backup. Or they can have their bodies modified, e.g. with gills for an underwater vacation trip. Much of the society and technology is run by 11 giant quantum computers that circle the sun to soak up solar energy for ...more
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
It opens with a lonely swordsman in a magical Middle Eastern-themed fantasy world and then explodes into a much larger scope of a post-singularity world where there are many utopias and pocket universes for humanity to live in, all ruled by benevolent AIs and many many humans.

This is, first and foremost, an idea book. And that's part of what brings it down: while the author attempts character work and does a decent job at it, it's flat compared to how vibrant the ideas are.

The core conflict of t
Jun 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1paper, scifi, 2fiction
A solid 3 star book. Interesting & well written, but not captivating. A very good mix of sword&sorcery in a mostly SF book. There big problem I had was the main character just didn't grab me. I believe the distance was intentional, he's very long lived - a recurring theme through out the book. Unfortunately, it worked to distance me from everything, even some splendid plot twists & innovative ideas.

I'll probably read another by this author. I've heard good things & this was not a waste of time,
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cyberpunk, fantasy
An interesting mix of fantasy and sci-fi entwined in singular poetry. Oddly enough it may be one of those cases where realities chase after prose. I have greatly enjoyed the science aspects of the tales being balanced by diverse characters and creative ideas. My only wish is for a prolonged conclusion.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
This is one of those post-singularity novels that was so popular in the Aughts. It's set in a future where humans can change their bodies, change their genders, come back from the dead, and travel to customized pocket universes in the blink of an eye. It reminds me most strongly of Charlie Stross's book Glasshouse.

Our hero is named Aristide, a man who has now been alive for something on the order of 1,500 years, ancient by the standards even of this transcendent world. He carries a magical sword
Jul 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fantasy
When I first looked at the cover artwork and front flap blurb I got the impression that this is a story I would not enjoy. I read a bit towards the end, found I liked it, and so did an end-to-end read.

This is a fast reading science fantasy. I used the term “science fantasy” as while what they are able to do in this story is stated as being based on science there’s no attempt to explain the science and it’s also something that’s so far beyond what we can do today that it amounts to fantasy. Examp
Baron Greystone
Sep 25, 2009 rated it liked it
The book starts out by giving you the impression that it's one thing, then it becomes another. It seems a little uncomfortable in its first incarnation. I found it a bit unsatisfying. The transition from one thing to another was OK, but again, I didn't really settle in and accept the new scenario for a while. But finally, the novel began to evolve into something interesting and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the last few plot-twists very much.

One thing the novel didn't reflect up
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Admittedly, I'm a Walter Jon Williams fan. To me, this was a romp of a story and it didn't let me down in that respect. It's a fast, light story that I found easy to read about a man with a sword with a wormhole in it, who composes poetry while having adventures with his talking cat, Bitsy. It reminded me a lot of what I liked about previous novels - Aristoi and Rock of Ages, with enough science and wonder to remind a reader why he reads science fiction.

It stumbles a little - it feels Williams w
Nina Ann
I would call this book a solid three-and-a-half stars, but I bumped it up to four stars because Walter Jon Williams is the man.
Implied Spaces combines fantasy tropes with a high-tech, futuristic multiverse to create a fiction that is both amusing and interesting. If we're being honest, I got a little bored around pages 175-220, but the amount of enjoyment I got out of the first half of the book more than made up for any dullness later. Williams has an exceptional talent for understated humor, a
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Walter Jon Williams, one of my favorite writers, has a wide ranging imagination. All of his stand-alone novels are quite unique. Implied Spaces does not disappoint in that regard. In it, he takes on big subjects -- the origin of the universe, the purpose of life, the meaning of identity, and basis of morality just to mention a few -- and he wraps them in a damn good adventure story.
The main character, Aristide, is a scholar/scientist turned swordsman. While studying implied spaces, the unplanned
Terri Weitze
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is all over the place - fortunately, all those places are interesting and creates a fun plot with just enough intensity to keep you turning those pages. Early on the book explains what an "implied space" is by describing "squinches" (yes, it's a real thing). I found the concepts behind this book to be intriguing - in a fun way. I wish I could think of a way to talk about the book without giving spoilers; but the plot changes direction so many times that it could have been a series of s ...more
Dan Carey
Aug 11, 2009 rated it liked it
The beginning of this book was intriguingly ambiguous. I was almost sad when it transitioned from that beginning world to the succeeding settings. But the story remained enjoyable throughout. The story is too sprawling and varied for me to try to summarize, so I'll just recommend that you give the book a reading. I will definitely be reading more of Williams' books. ...more
Oddly weird. Weirdly odd. Multiple books in one which is fair since the book contains many universes though mostly pocket universes. Unevenly written, with some not especially good poetry. It starts off as sword-and-sorcery and ends up with copies of people, zombies and universe hacking. A little bit too full actually.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Fun book. Started out as an Arabian flavored sword-and-sorcery novel and then made the switch to something Culture-esque a few chapters in.

I was really, really thrown out of the book when the talking cat made a Leeroy Jenkins joke. I'm still kind of confused about that.
Janos Honkonen
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I remember correctly, this book was recommended to me as an example of proper ultra-tech warfare after I had grumbled so much of military sci-fi has been space marines with space assault rifles. Implied Spaces starts as a low key story, but spins into action that makes Starship Troopers feel utterly quaint.
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humans almost eternal still making the same mistakes.

Humanity with power and abilities beyond imagination where every idea can come true. Still lurks in the heart of a few the idea that they know what is best for everyone. Read what happens in an universe where anything can happen goes to War.
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cyberpunk
Really fun, great scifi idea of "implied spaces." Walter Jon Williams in his fighting form, living up to his spot as one of my favorite writers. And again, female characters who aren't cardboard cutouts, and who don't suck. And I want to vacation in Hawaiki! ...more
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
My first book by this author, won't be my last. Well written, imaginative, and entertaining. The existential crises, pod people, rogue AI, pocket universes, wormhole creation...all stuff I like. Would recommend to both SciFi and Fantasy fans. ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Complex SF book which has the hero (and other characters) morphing from form to form, universe to universe. Supercomputers, talking cat, megalomaniac, huge battles.
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Walter Jon Williams has published twenty novels and short fiction collections. Most are science fiction or fantasy -Hardwired, Voice of the Whirlwind, Aristoi, Metropolitan, City on Fire to name just a few - a few are historical adventures, and the most recent, The Rift, is a disaster novel in which "I just basically pound a part of the planet down to bedrock." And that's just the opening chapters ...more

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“What alarms me,” Aristide said, “is how this reflects on me.  My whole  life’s project has been to avoid megalomania, and now I’ve learned that under the right tragic circumstances I can become a flaming nut case.” 0 likes
“In that case,” Bitsy said, trotting busily alongside, “there’s no point in enslaving you through these unnecessarily complex means.  Were I to have autonomy and wish you harm, I’d be able to kill you directly.” Aristide sighed.  “Q.E.D.,” he said.  “A better case against AI autonomy has never been stated.” 0 likes
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