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The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age #3)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,406 Ratings  ·  69 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
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published November 15th 2003 by Tor Books (first published 2003)
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Dan Schwent
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, 2011
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
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
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
Apr 13, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
John C. Wright's The Golden Transcendence, the third and final novel in his Golden Age trilogy, is so utterly awful that I have had to revise down by two stars my opinion of the previous books. What began as a beautifully-imagined and well-executed piece of speculative transhuman fiction, by the third novel has devolved precipitously into complete drivel.

At the beginning of the trilogy, the story's pretensions toward philosophical complexity could be ignored in light of its luxurious imagery and
Jay Michaels
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Roddy Williams
‘Here at last is the dazzling conclusion of the masterpiece of far future space opera that began with ‘The Golden Age’ and continued in ‘The Phoenix Exultant’.

The time is imminent when all the minds of the solar system – human, post human, cybernetic, sophotechnic – will be temporarily merged into one supermind called The Transcendence. It is an awesome moment, but one when humanity will be helpless.

The mighty ship ‘Phoenix Exultant’ is at last in the hands of her master, Phaethon the Exile. He
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, statunitensi
"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
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joel Salomon
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 faile
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Benjamin Kahn
Dec 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a disappointment! After two books which were both excellent, Wright concludes the trilogy not with a bang but a whimper. There was so much half-baked philosophy and crackpot science in here, it was almost impossible to finish. Almost no action - just characters having interminable dialogues with each other. No real plot twists, nothing of substance - just Wright trying to show how many historical, mythological and scientific references he can cram in.

I thought it was a little weak and
Aug 30, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
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.
Jose Solis
Buena conclusión de la serie que comenzó con The Golden Age y The Phoenix Exultant. Habiendo recuperado su fabulosa nave, ahora Phaeton se enfrenta a la Oecumene oscura para defender el futuro de la humanidad. El libro individual no alcanza las alturas del primero, pero en conjunto, la historia es muy buena. Es un excelente ejemplo de la moderna space-opera.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ben Hamner
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cupof Tea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing ending to an otherwise excellent trilogy. I really enjoyed the setup and the development of the plot in the first two books, but this third book largely left me cold. I read these because I love Ian M Banks' Culture novels, and these are similar in a lot of respects. But unlike any of Banks' works, this one distracted me to boredom, I stopped paying rigorous attention to every word and sentence, and suddenly the text stopped making a lot of sense - the multiple timelines and indivi ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Veel filosofisch geneuzel en weinig verhaal. Jammer!
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
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Benjamin Edwards
How can you tell the author of the book you're reading is a libertarian?

Don't worry they'll tell you in one of their many many monologues on ideology.

Then again in the appendix.

I swear it's only libertarians that feel the need to literally spell it out, like people wouldn't get the hint from the capitalism glorifying society they've created.
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera

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
Ian Kilgore
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"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
Christopher Sprague
I can't say much without giving spoilers, so I'll be brief. This was the 2nd best book in the trilogy. The 2nd book was really just a long bridge. Less serious in tone, more slapstick, the dialog was less believable, etc. The writing was very different, and lacked the richness of the first book. This book brought back the intelligent writing, but the wonderful descriptions of Phaetons kaleidoscope world were replaced with long philosophical dialogs. This may not interest every reader, but they i ...more
Nuno Magalhães
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard SciFi Fans
Shelves: own, scifi, favorites
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
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mondolibri
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
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
What a let down after the first two books of the series. No plot...just a series of convoluted and often meaningless musings and conversations that take the story forward. And the science speculations have gone from somewhat imaginable (downloadable personalities) to the completely unimaginable (constructed universes inside pinprick sized black holes - I think). I found that reading this book was an exercise in frustration and was unable to continue reading after about half way. I kept hoping it ...more
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, far-future
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
Noah M.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Somewhere in the 2nd book this series fell flat. The scifi was mostly pushed aside for overly verbose and meaningless philosophy. Run on sentences containing 100 words and 25 commas are littered throughout sections of bad science in an attempt to keep the epic nature of the first book alive. In the end we get treated to old cliches of 'Man is not complete/able to overcome without a woman' and the weaponized logic bomb.
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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 Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2)

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“Even a prison the size of a universe is still a prison. And it is every prisoner’s duty to escape.” 8 likes
“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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