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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 1979 by Greg Bear

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this in 1990 and most recently on the 10th July 2003

On a far future world humans live their lives amongst massive, magnificent obelisks.

These obelisks rise a thousand kilometres into the sky. They are one kilometre across each side and as perfectly square as anyone can measure.

Etched into the sides of these obelisks is the entirety of knowledge accumulated by their long-gone and vastly more elevated predecessors.

Across this world travel three comrades:

  • Bar-Wotan, aging warrior
  • Bethel, loyal assistant to Bar-Wotan
  • Kiril the cleric

They are on a quest for enlightenment. They will not all survive. In fact it is not entirely clear whether the planet itself will survive. The obelisks, immobile throughout known history, have started to tumble, bringing in their fall continent-levelling destruction.

This is a minor classic. A small book but with big characters, occasionally great writing and a universe-encompassing ending (as usual from Mr Bear). However, this time it's not overblown, it all hangs together quite well. That doesn't mean of course that everything is explained. In fact, come to think of it, very little is explained. Odd that. I put the book down feeling satisfied but now realise that there were all these loose ends.

Clearly there should have been a sequel.

What's it got? obelisks. Really, really big ones. And great ideas.

Loaded on the 25th January 2007.
Cover of Hegira
Cover art by Cameron Redwine and j.vita