Review of TRILLION: Original, Compelling, Scintillating, Ominous, and Cool

A guest review by one of our scuzzier yet manlier regular commenters:

Original, compelling, scintillating, ominous, and cool

Being a modest review of John C Wright’s ambitious Count to a Trillion
by ScuzzaMan.

CtaT is a work of science fiction. It’s a neatly balanced blend of science and of fiction. Check.

Taking place in the not immediate but not far future, it features as hero one Menelaus Illation Montrose, a Texan mathematician gunslinger who shoots lawyers for fun and profit. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Plainly there is some degree of autobiographical wish fulfillment fantasy at work here, but who cannot relate to the desire to shoot lawyers?

M. sets out on a great adventure … *the* great adventure really; space travel to a distant and unusual star. What he finds there, what happens to him there, and on the way there, I will not here reveal, but let me say that it is as surprising and original as anything I have read, and I’ve been reading science fiction for over 40 years, and when I say *reading* I
mean *devouring*.

Don’t despair. I’m not going to “counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor” — I’m not that kind of critic. I’m a devoted fan of the genre in general and of this author in particular. But this is the first of Mr Wright’s works I’ve read that is hard core science fiction, and I’m impressed.

It’s a masterful madcap mixture of Jules Verne, of H. G. Welles and Arthur C. Clarke, tossed with some Heinlein and garnished with a strong dash of Mark Twain.

Yes, it really is that good, without being at all derivative.

This is the first of a series of six, so the aliens (yes, Martha, there are aliens) remain ominously aloof as we’re introduced to the hero, to his context, to his enemies within, and to his enduring raison d’etre; his lovely, and Othello-like too well-loved, wife.

No doubt the aliens will feature more prominently later in the series.

One hopes so, for Mr Wright does a sterling job of imagining an alien star-faring race, and then letting the reader catch a tantalizing glimpse of their universe through their eyes, their assumptions, their prejudices. There’s a distinct impression that meeting them is going to be a momentous event.

And finally, in the finest traditions of the novelist’s craft, there’s a cliff-hanger ending, almost but not quite literally, yet it caught me quite by surprise and left me desperately wanting to know what happens next.

If you thirst for rollicking high adventure with a twisted smile and an old-fashioned charm, if you hunger for hard science fiction not overwrought with parochial concerns of the moment, told by a master wordsmith at the height of his powers, then I unreservedly recommend this book.

I hope soon to be able to recommend the series entire. The second episode awaits on my Kindle as I write.

Remember: Original, compelling, scintillating, ominous, and cool.

ScuzzaMan says; five stars.