February 13, 2005

The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson

big strange blue monolith viewed by tiny startled humansThis is the third novel I've read by Wilson. I didn't like the first two very well, but a friend insisted that this one was really good. It was the same friend who said that about Blind Lake, but he put it in my hands so I gave it a whirl. It's pretty good.

Scott is an American living in Thailand with his wife and daughter when, one night, an enormous towering obelisk appears in the jungle. Inscribed in this edifice is a statement commemorating a battle 20 years in the future.

The book plays out in an exploration of the meaning of coincidence, prophecy, and destiny set in the turmoil that accrues from the appearance of the series of inexplicable monuments.

I think what made the book more satisfying to me than the others of Wilson's that I've read was the way that the plot and the character relationships echoed the time loops implied by the obelisks. The other books were similarly driven by a single advanced technological intervention in the fabric of normal reality, but those didn't feel as well integrated in the fabric of the book. It's a fine line. I could easily see that integration making it all seem too contrived, but in The Chronoliths, Wilson makes it work.

Posted by jeffy at February 13, 2005 12:40 PM