In an infinity of parallel worlds, many are the inventions which would paralyze less advanced worlds. One such invention was the one the noted physician Jome Kenard used to restore life & senses to the injured beauty Allyn Vage. His strange machine had been imported from a seemingly primitive people on the world of Akkilmar. It worked, but its workings were incomprehensible even to Earth's best scientists. Nevertheless, once used, the doctor & his patient had been transformed into the lever that could topple a world!
John Brunner was born in Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St Andrew's Prep School, Pangbourne, then to Cheltenham College. He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, and published it under the pen-name Gill Hunt, but he did not start writing full-time until 1958. He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Rosamond Sauer on 12 July 1958
At the beginning of his writing career Brunner wrote conventional space opera pulp science fiction. Brunner later began to experiment with the novel form. His 1968 novel "Stand on Zanzibar" exploits the fragmented organizational style John Dos Passos invented for his USA trilogy, but updates it in terms of the theory of media popularised by Marshall McLuhan.
"The Jagged Orbit" (1969) is set in a United States dominated by weapons proliferation and interracial violence, and has 100 numbered chapters varying in length from a single syllable to several pages in length. "The Sheep Look Up" (1972) depicts ecological catastrophe in America. Brunner is credited with coining the term "worm" and predicting the emergence of computer viruses in his 1975 novel "The Shockwave Rider", in which he used the term to describe software which reproduces itself across a computer network. Together with "Stand on Zanzibar", these novels have been called the "Club of Rome Quartet", named after the Club of Rome whose 1972 report The Limits to Growth warned of the dire effects of overpopulation.
Brunner's pen names include K. H. Brunner, Gill Hunt, John Loxmith, Trevor Staines, Ellis Quick, Henry Crosstrees Jr., and Keith Woodcott. In addition to his fiction, Brunner wrote poetry and many unpaid articles in a variety of publications, particularly fanzines, but also 13 letters to the New Scientist and an article about the educational relevance of science fiction in Physics Education. Brunner was an active member of the organisation Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and wrote the words to "The H-Bomb's Thunder", which was sung on the Aldermaston Marches.
Brunner had an uneasy relationship with British new wave writers, who often considered him too American in his settings and themes. He attempted to shift to a more mainstream readership in the early 1980s, without success. Before his death, most of his books had fallen out of print. Brunner accused publishers of a conspiracy against him, although he was difficult to deal with (his wife had handled his publishing relations before she died).
Brunner's health began to decline in the 1980s and worsened with the death of his wife in 1986. He remarried, to Li Yi Tan, on 27 September 1991. He died of a heart attack in Glasgow on 25 August 1995, while attending the World Science Fiction Convention there
aka K H Brunner, Henry Crosstrees Jr, Gill Hunt (with Dennis Hughes and E C Tubb), John Loxmith, Trevor Staines, Keith Woodcott
Winner of the ESFS Awards in 1980 as "Best Author" and 1n 1984 as "Novelist"..
Einen Bewertungsschnitt von unter 3.0 findet man bei goodreads selten. Die Leser sind ja meist grosszügig. Bei "Treffpunkt Unendlichkeit" ist dies leider nicht unverdient. Es ist ein seltsames, unbefriedigendes Konglomerat von Ideen. Viele Ideen zu haben ist ja für einen kreativen Autoren (wie man hört) nicht das Problem. Die richtigen Ideen zu einem runden Ganzen zusammenzufügen ist die Kunst.
Zum Plot: Der Mathematiker Tackit fand raus, dass man mit Raumkrümmungsmathematik den Wert von Pi verändern kann und schwupp, gibt es plötzlich 100000 alternative Planeten im Sonnensystem, die man mit Portalen besuchen kann (äh... wie bitte??). Es entwickelt sich ein reger Handel, dann verbreitet sich von einer dieser Welten "der Weisse Tod", eine Seuche, der 100 Mio Menschen zum Opfer fallen. Der Handel wird daraufhin streng reglementiert. "Vertrauenswürdige" Personen oder Syndikate können eine exklusive Handelslizenz für eine einzelne Welt erwerben, ein Garant für Reichtum ... und Korruption.
Nicht das erste Mal habe ich das Gefühl, dass Brunner einen guten Teil seiner Bücher mal so eben schnell "hingerotzt" hat. Es gibt einen Haufen von Personen, von denen nicht klar ist, welche davon die Hauptpersonen sein sollen. Die Handlung ist unfokussiert und geht in x verschiedene Richtungen. Ich war anfangs wirklich entschlossen, das Ding mal zu Ende zu lesen, habe es aber dann nicht geschafft.
The story's crystallizing moment tries to be a phildickian game changer, making the reader question everything before, but instead is its greatest failure.
The book starts with some truly silly blank verse and then launches into a rocketing jumble of plot and social conflict wrapped around a central theme: traffic and mercantilism among parallel Earths, and the resulting robber-baron plutocracy. It's a technothriller that throws the reader into the deep end (Who is Tacket? What is a 'franchise'? What is going on?) and almost requires the back cover text or a pithy summary in order to get up to speed.
For the rest of it, it's so busy with stuff going on and ancillary characters and a supplementary "rho function field" concept that it failed to make a strong impression.
I've been reading a lot of old science fiction lately...and this book? It was a strange one... Parallel worlds? Cool! A crazy future government? Cool! Throwing me into a story with random characters loosely connected and then weaving a crap ton of intrigue into the plot line? Uhhhh sure? I guess?
This book was really scattered and not what I expected. I guess I thought there was gonna be more use of the parallel worlds rather than discussion on it? The beginning of the book speaks of clock hands and doom and how the players are unaware of their doom...that the end of everything had come. I don't feel like the ending lived up to that promise. I kept waiting for the end of the market and they systems..heck the whole planet.
I dunno. I liked this, it was certainly interesting and kept me guessing. I just felt it was odd and scattered.
This isn't one of his best novels for sure, but it's alright. Brunner seems to have a thing for portal/dimensional travel type stories. This one is about an Earth that uses portals to trade with other worlds. A disease that came from another world has decimated the population and the big powers are the franchises that run these portals. The main action has little to do with using these portals. It is a mystery type story where the main characters are trying to hunt down a man with connections to the big franchise owner to figure out what he knows. All the while trying to defend Earth against an invasion from another dimension. Overall it is not his best. "Webs of Everywhere" and "Infinite of Go" were much better and based on a similar premise.
Frankly, the first six chapters are a lot of work in which the reader really is not given much to work with. Characters are mentioned and they seem to be acting with purpose, but its all very closed to the reader at this point. Threads of a plot are everywhere, but they are not very accessible. In other words, it feels a bit frustrating because not only is the setting an unfamiliar future world, but the characters roles and relationships are difficult to consider.
This is one of those novels where as a reader, you have to continue on because you have faith and trust in the author.
The novel is, more or less, an action novel. However, the overarching structure is a sort of economic/sociological future that we are not really told enough about. I would say that this novel feels a lot like Foundation + A Clockwork Orange.
If the reader gets through the whole novel, a lot of the threads come together and make sense. There are resolutions and answers, to a point. However, the answers and connections seem irrelevant or paper-thin. As if a lot of work was put in to make an action novel that has all the correct elements, but none of the depth. It is a skeleton in some senses and one that takes a lot of work on the reader’s part.
This was a strange novel to read – difficult as heck to start, stubborn in the middle, and somewhat rewarding at the end. I feel like though I did not love it, there is something about it that lingers in my imagination after I finished it.
"Readers from the first days of my blog might recall my rather dismissive comment in my review of John Brunner’s abysmal Born under Mars (1967),
“I have still yet to find in Brunner’s early pulp(ish) novels any solid indication of his future brilliance that manifests itself so poignantly in his great novels of the late 60s and 70s (Stand on Zanzibar, Shockwave Rider, The Sheep Look Up, and to a lesser
review of John Brunner's Meeting at Infinity by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 27, 2013
This is the 25th bk I've read by Brunner (if I count Ace Doubles as 2 bks) & reading his work still brings me a great deal of pleasure & stimulation. As is often the case w/ SF, the notes I took for this review were minimal since what I mostly wd've written about wd've been plot elements that I often avoid referring to to avoid spoilers.
It's interesting for me to note slight differences between Brunner bks that show his trying out writerly touches. EG: Meeting at Infinity begins w/ a prologue that I found 'poetic'. Here's the very beginning:
"On the stroke of twelve o'clock noon-for-doom of this day and no other: begins destiny. Begins death. Tick away time—heartbeat, clocktick, belltoll.
"THIS WAY OUT." - p 1
Central to the plot, is a thing called the "Tacket Principle" wch allows the exploration of parallel Earths. I found Brunner's explanation of the discovery ingenious:
"The great discovery—that of his celebrated Principle, which changed the world—was the fruit of an examination of pi. It fired his mind; his mind was explosive; the explosion came near to destroying everything.
"Pi, it seemed, was invariant. However, certain deductions from curved-space mathematics indicated conditions under which it would assume values different from the familiar 3.1416. It would remain an irrational number of course. But the physical conditions for altering its value could be described. Tacket's preoccupation with analogues of number did the rest." - p 24
& Brunner, being a writer, rather than just an extrapolator of scientific possibilities, creates slang for the future environment he's describing:
""There was one in the crowd. Brown coverup, average height, automat barberclip, brown hair plain, all like anyone. But he didn't look like a dreg, didn't smell like a dreg, and when shouted out to Lyken he didn't sound like a dreg. In my tapes, that's curio." - p 35
It's fun for me, as the reviewer, to be able to quote a summation of sorts from near the end of a bk w/o having it actually spoil the plot. For the reader of this review, the following quote is too out-of-context to be overly revealing but may be intriguing as it stands:
"Allyn glanced at him. "You have to regard it this way," she said. "Physical and mental are conjoined and interdependent; you cannot have a mind discarnate, but it has to grow within a growing brain. Contrariwise, it appears to me, physical reality is a kind of sum total or common denominator of that which is perceived by consciousness. It is possible to act mentally on this physical reality so as to change not it itself, but the mode in which it is perceived. Do you follow me?" - p 150
Part of what interests me about the above is the idea of acting mentally on the mode in wch physical reality is perceived in order to, effectively, change what constitutes physical reality for ourselves. Beauty is in the mind of the beholder.
My Twitter name is "Psychic Weed" wch is NOT meant to imply that I consider myself a "psychic" (even tho I might be to a teeny extent) or to express an advocacy for pot (by all means make it legal - otherwise, I find pot of little value). Instead, it's a reference to my notion that freedom lies largely in the defiance of geometrical containers (both physical & conceptual) by biomorphic phenomena. Consider this:
"Also true, they made no allowance for the difference between their society—an oligarchy ruling a 'black-boxed' majority—and ours, so they never reckoned on Mr. Hole's yonder boys, or with Director Lanchery's animals and wild men."" - p 151
This is an early novel by John Brunner (first published in 1961) and it has been all but eclipsed by his later work – rather regrettably so, as this is well worth reading, not just as juvenilia that paved the way for greater things, but as an excellent novel in its own right.[return][return]Meeting at Infinity starts off very much at the deep end, with a prologue written in rhythmically accented, suggestive prose that shoots a barrage of names and concepts at the reader none of which are in the least explained. It lends the novel a very hectic, modernist feel right from the start, and things slow down only slightly when the plot proper sets in, and a plethora of viewpoint characters flick past in quick succession while the action rushes along at a fast pace, leaving the reader trying to catch up breathlessly. And once everything seems to fall into place and things finally start to make turns, it turns out that nothing is really as it seems…[return][return]While the novel never really loses steam and keeps the reader gripped until the nicely delivered twist at the end, it seems to run out of new ideas to throw around about two thirds in and ends somewhat blandly as an alien invasion story. While this a bit disappointing it is relatively minor quibble for a novel that packs an insane amount of ideas in such a small space (showing once again that a novel can be great and entertaining even under 300 pages). It reads a bit like a Philip K. Dick novel, and while it is not quite as mind-boggling as the best by Dick, it is much better written. I also could not help but wonder how much of an influence this novel might have had on later writers, namely William Gibson, Iain M. Banks and Hannu Rajaniemi came to my mind quite often while reading this. In any case, it’s great to see this made available again by the SF Gateway, and I’m rather looking forward to eventually making my way through all of Brunner’s oeuvre.