I knew it was probably a bad idea.

I knew it would just amount to four months of torture.

I knew I wouldn’t stop thinking about it.

I knew I shouldn’t have read Rollback.

To be more precise, I shouldn’t have read the first half of Rollback before the second half was published.

Robert J. Sawyer‘s latest novel is being serialized in the Analog science fiction maganize. To date only the first two parts have been put out, and via the magic of the McGill Library’s online collections, I’ve just finished reading them. The third should be out in the next week or so, but that still leaves another month before the conclusion.

The book so far is interesting in that though it still tackles murky ethical issues in traditional Sawyer form, there isn’t a specific ethical conflict central to the plot, such as that of abortion in The Terminal Experiment or genetic discrimination in Frameshift. (Well, there might be, but it hasn’t quite been developed at this point.) There is, however, a general theme developing about the relativity of ethics and its importance in our lives. I almost want to say it’s summing up a lot of the undercurrent themes in previous Sawyer books, but then again a lot of his books seem to do that. (Calculating God springs to mind, which at the very least helped me sum things up very nicely at the end of my essay on the subject.)

And maybe I’m just not as well read in SF as I should be, but there’s two very unique ideas about SETI in here too (about who is talking and what they’re talking about), but I don’t want to spoil the reveal, even if they don’t give away the plot, per se. The buildup is half the fun.

Seeing as how I haven’t (can’t have) finished reading Rollback yet, I really can’t start analysing it or talking too much about plot or character development. Nonetheless it’s shaping up to be another must have on my bookshelf.

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