William Shakespeare's HAMLET is said to have been based on an older play, possibly by Tomas Kyd; the older play may have been taken directly from Danish legend or from some other intermediary source. Great stories thrive in new times and places.
THE WHITE ABACUS gives a thoroughly enjoyable answer to the question of what Shakespeare might have done with HAMLET's plot and characters, given the chance to transport them to a time when minds are connected through the Gestell and hex-gates allow instantaneous access to any point in the galaxy. For our characters, we find in this far-future setting a wide range of body-types to choose from, including the casque-headed, artistically sensitive ai; the macho-anachronistic hu who believe that their soul resides in their vermiform appendices; and the Genetics who take on a surprising array of organic forms. Mind-boggling future technologies, some inherited from science fiction forbears and others newly invented, play their critical part throughout the book.
The book preserves HAMLET's immortal elements of power-lust, murder, betrayal, madness, and revenge, while adding some fascinating plot twists of its own. The tale is told with language as startlingly delightful as Shakespeare's: narrative that paints incredibly detailed sensory images and is at the same time brilliantly comical; and dialogue that is at times hilarious, at other times thought provoking. To fully appreciate certain humorous references, the reader must have some knowledge of classical science fiction, as well as classics in general.
This book is probably best approached as a total immersion Experience, where the reader floats along with the words on one level, enjoying the scenery and the ever-present soundtrack; and at another level thinks critically about what she's reading and laughs aloud when, for example, she notices that Aaron Copland's APPALACHIAN SPRING is playing through a receiver in the ai Ratio's head as se stands in the middle of Death Valley, looking out over the salt flats.
My only regret is that I'll never again have the opportunity to read THE WHITE ABACUS for the first time.
- Hardcover: 342 pages
- Publisher: Avon Books (1 March 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380974762
- ISBN-13: 978-0380974764
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 476 g
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