Julian Comstock

{4.5/5} “It was Christmas morning. I supposed that didn’t mean anything in particular to Julian or Sam, but I was poignantly aware of the date. The sky was blue again, but a squall had passed during the dark hours of the morning, and the snow ‘lay round about, deep and crisp and even.’ Even the ruins of Lundsford were transformed into something soft-edged and oddly beautiful; and I was amazed at how simple it was for nature to cloak corruption in the garb of purity and make it peaceful.”

It’s the 22nd century and there’s been an apocalypse — the population decimated and now living approximately the way they did in the 19th century. When the draft comes to town, Adam and Julian sneak away. But they are eventually caught and serve in the army along with Julian’s tutor Sam. Julian’s uncle is the President but that has good and bad effects — the President had Julian’s father killed and wouldn’t mind if Julian were killed as well.

Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson was published in 2009.

It’s about friendship, war, politics, and the difficulties of being a leader. There is some discussion of religion and philosophy. Here’s a sample: “God, he asserted, was not contained in any Book, but was a Voice, which every human being could hear (and which most of us chose to ignore). The common name of that voice was Conscience; but it was a God by any reasonable definition, Stepney claimed. What else could you call an Invisible Entity who said the same thing to members of every diverse branch of humanity, regardless of class, geography, or language?”

If a civilization destroys itself, what’s the best way to avoid doing the same thing — by getting rid of everything they wrote so you won’t know what they did, or by reading everything they wrote so you can understand what they did?

This is a great book. It’s about Adam and Julian becoming men, and it’s about the clash between people who think about things in different ways.

Wilson is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read most of his recent books, and I especially recommend Blind Lake, The Chronoliths, Darwinia, The Harvest, and Spin.

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 at 4:12 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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