Strength Of Stones
Copyright 1981 by
I first read this in 1983 and most recently on the 21st August 2002.
The renowned architect, David Kahn, was commissioned to build cities
on the world God-Does-Battle. The resultant architecture was astounding: mobile,
intelligent cities that moved around the planet as the inhabitants desired or as their
demand for resources required.
But in the end the cities failed. Their AIs, in a fit of illogic, excluded the
populations, leaving the cities emptied of people, and empty of purpose.
Twelve hundred years later, many cities have died, and the rest are near death.
Te human population is reduced to savagery living on the desolate land, telling garbled
tales about their fall from Eden and fighting off mutated city-parts that scour the
land for resources.
Still, perhaps there's a chance to for the people to finally regain their rightful
place as inhabitants and masters of the cities.
I'm in a quandary. I quite like this book, excellent ideas, great technology,
powerful characters. On the other hand, I dislike that it feels like two or three
short stories tied together (and I generally find short stories unsatisfying).
furthermore I dislike the ending (frankly, because I didn't quite
understand it* and I'm not inclined to reread it at present). Greg Bear succumbed to
his growing desire to write about "big things**" (look at the later "Eon" series, for
Bear is a great writer, he draws realistic characters, tells great stories,
and does the big science stuff superbly, but - in this book - it doesn't work.
I wanted a more concrete, more down to earth, more satisfying ending, and in
particular, I wanted to understand the ending.
*explanations gratefully accepted by email
**gigantic technological constructions, the breadth of the universe, the expanse of
time rolling on into the future, etc
Loaded on the 31st October 2002.