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Palimpsest

Summary Palimpsest

Welcome to the Stasis the clandestine near omnipotent organization that stands at the heart of Charles Stross's Hugo Award winning novella PalimpsestBy mastering the mysteries of the Timegate the Stasis has repeatedly steered mankind away from the brink of utter extinction Through countless millennia through the 'mayfly flickerings' of innumerable transient civilizations its members have intervened at critical junctions reseeding the galaxy with viable potential survivors In. So after finishing The Time Traveler’s Wife I realized that the next book on my shelf was Family Matters The last Rohinton Mistry book I read cut me up so I decided that before I attempted this next one I would need something I was guaranteed to enjoy Fortunately my awesome limited edition of Palimpsest had just arrived from Subterranean Press I first read Palimpsest when it was a nominee for the Hugo Award for Best Novella It subseuently won deservedly the award and so when I heard that Subterranean Press was coming out with a hardcover edition I jumped to pre order itTime travel is weird confusing and inconsistent There is no way to avoid that—and embracing this fact is the key to good time travel fiction Whether it’s Doctor Who or Primer the method and mood of this mad embrace can be uite varied but the end result is the same a time travel story when done properly should blow your mindWhere most authors go wrong in their time travel plots is a desire to make sense So they go to the trouble of establishing various rules that attempt to compel their non linear story into a linear box forgetting all the while that once you break causality there is no going back Palimpsest is a refreshing change because Charles Stross doesn’t try to make sense He acknowledges and works with the utter insanity that would be a universe where time travel is possible This allows him to accomplish wonderful things but it also demands a great deal of tolerance from the reader I can understand why some would reject this book as too confusing and too briefThe novella opens with Pierce describing in the second person narration that Stross uses as an interstitial techniue how he has to kill his own grandfather TVTropes as the beginning of his training for the Stasis The Stasis is a group of time travellers pledged to manipulate history and reseed humanity each time it goes extinct on Earth Humanity Stross explains always goes extinct They go to incredible lengths to achieve this goal Stross lyrically describes how they tinker with the ultimate fate of the Earth and solar system on a cosmic scale and literally manipulate the rise and fall of civilization to serve their own ends Though Stasis’ stated goal is the ultimate good—survival of the human species—they sure do seem authoritarian about itAs he undergoes his two decade long training period Pierce develops a fascination with palimpsests These are periods of history that have been rewritten so many times that it becomes very difficult to access any given version of history The Stasis has a Library that exists at the end of the Earth which is protected from all changes to the timeline and therefore records various versions of history This frustrates new agents who haven’t yet learned that the Library lies After Pierce survives an assassination attempt presumably from someone out to prevent something he will do in his own future he convalesces in a science empire of the far future marries a native and has a family When he makes a uick trip to the Library to sort out an academic dispute he discovers that period of history has been turned into a palimpsest and he might never see his family againPierce eventually becomes drawn into a much larger plot threatening the existence of Stasis itself We along with Pierce are kept in the dark about the nature of this plot until close to the end of the book But without going into spoilers I can fairly succinctly describe the nature of the resistance the name “Stasis” should be a clue Though Stasis has humanity’s preservation at heart it enforces this survival in a draconian and single minded way There is no room in Stasis’ agenda for extraterrestrial intelligence space exploration or indeed any type of development or growth that does not ultimately support Stasis This meta social construct has turned into a kind of symbiotic organism relying on the entirety of human history to existPalimpsest isn’t perfect and if I could wish for one improvement it would be an extension to novel length There is just so much going on here an entire vocabulary and way of life that Stross can only barely explore The events that take place evoke so many classics of science fiction and of time travel stories—for example Pierce dies multiple times even causing his own death at times What does this mean for the nature of self for our identity or even if you believe in such a thing our souls These uestions all linger in the back of one’s mind but so because I am already aware of them and know to apply them to these circumstances They remain frustratingly unexplored even somewhat unasked because there just isn’t enough spaceSimilarly Pierce himself is kind of a lacklustre protagonist Oh don’t get me wrong He’s an OK kind of guy though I would have liked to learn about him But for most of the novella he gets dragged along with the plot rather than actually showing much initiative—and when he does show initiative it tends to backfire So readers who are waiting for Pierce to step up and own the story might be disappointed—or pleasantly surprised I can’t say And to be fair Stross acknowledges the powerlessness Pierce feels when Pierce comes face to face with the person running the plot against Stasis he confesses that he feels just as manipulated as when he was collaborating with the Stasis Internal Affairs department Both sides are manipulating Pierce and this becomes key to the novella’s final profound pagesI won’t deny that this book pushes my buttons in all the right ways and for that reason I am than ready to overlook any flaws I love Palimpsest so much because I feel like Stross has created a realistic portrayal of time travel and in so doing demonstrated why time travel shouldn’t be possible If it were our universe would be an even crazier place than it already is Because if it were possible to rewrite history then everyone would be running around killing their past selves and grandfathers and Hitler—that or some form of the Novikov self consistency principle would result in time travel erasing the timeline where time travel is invented Confused yet Good This is your brain on time travel Don’t do itBut if time travel were possible then it would also present us with staggering choice The very mutability of the continuum would mean that history would never be constant Foiled plots one moment could be successful coups the next and vice versa if you work for the other side You can join the time agency and then if you tire of the work go back in time and prevent yourself from joining—or just erase yourself from history altogether In short time travel as Stross portrays it in Palimpsest is the ultimate chaotic vector This is the final message of Palimpsest and it is simultaneously invigorating and terrifying The Taming of the Tights (Misadventures of Tallulah Casey, your mindWhere most authors go wrong in their time travel plots is a desire to make sense So they go to the trouble of establishing various rules that attempt to compel their non linear story into a linear box forgetting all the while that once Breeding the Coachs Wife (Men Only you break causality there is no going back Palimpsest is a refreshing change because Charles Stross doesn’t try to make sense He acknowledges and works with the utter insanity that would be a universe where time travel is possible This allows him to accomplish wonderful things but it also demands a great deal of tolerance from the reader I can understand why some would reject this book as too confusing and too briefThe novella opens with Pierce describing in the second person narration that Stross uses as an interstitial techniue how he has to kill his own grandfather TVTropes as the beginning of his training for the Stasis The Stasis is a group of time travellers pledged to manipulate history and reseed humanity each time it goes extinct on Earth Humanity Stross explains always goes extinct They go to incredible lengths to achieve this goal Stross lyrically describes how they tinker with the ultimate fate of the Earth and solar system on a cosmic scale and literally manipulate the rise and fall of civilization to serve their own ends Though Stasis’ stated goal is the ultimate good—survival of the human species—they sure do seem authoritarian about itAs he undergoes his two decade long training period Pierce develops a fascination with palimpsests These are periods of history that have been rewritten so many times that it becomes very difficult to access any given version of history The Stasis has a Library that exists at the end of the Earth which is protected from all changes to the timeline and therefore records various versions of history This frustrates new agents who haven’t Mefie Toi, Gone yet learned that the Library lies After Pierce survives an assassination attempt presumably from someone out to prevent something he will do in his own future he convalesces in a science empire of the far future marries a native and has a family When he makes a uick trip to the Library to sort out an academic dispute he discovers that period of history has been turned into a palimpsest and he might never see his family againPierce eventually becomes drawn into a much larger plot threatening the existence of Stasis itself We along with Pierce are kept in the dark about the nature of this plot until close to the end of the book But without going into spoilers I can fairly succinctly describe the nature of the resistance the name “Stasis” should be a clue Though Stasis has humanity’s preservation at heart it enforces this survival in a draconian and single minded way There is no room in Stasis’ agenda for extraterrestrial intelligence space exploration or indeed any type of development or growth that does not ultimately support Stasis This meta social construct has turned into a kind of symbiotic organism relying on the entirety of human history to existPalimpsest isn’t perfect and if I could wish for one improvement it would be an extension to novel length There is just so much going on here an entire vocabulary and way of life that Stross can only barely explore The events that take place evoke so many classics of science fiction and of time travel stories—for example Pierce dies multiple times even causing his own death at times What does this mean for the nature of self for our identity or even if Angels and Outcasts you believe in such a thing our souls These uestions all linger in the back of one’s mind but so because I am already aware of them and know to apply them to these circumstances They remain frustratingly unexplored even somewhat unasked because there just isn’t enough spaceSimilarly Pierce himself is kind of a lacklustre protagonist Oh don’t get me wrong He’s an OK kind of guy though I would have liked to learn about him But for most of the novella he gets dragged along with the plot rather than actually showing much initiative—and when he does show initiative it tends to backfire So readers who are waiting for Pierce to step up and own the story might be disappointed—or pleasantly surprised I can’t say And to be fair Stross acknowledges the powerlessness Pierce feels when Pierce comes face to face with the person running the plot against Stasis he confesses that he feels just as manipulated as when he was collaborating with the Stasis Internal Affairs department Both sides are manipulating Pierce and this becomes key to the novella’s final profound pagesI won’t deny that this book pushes my buttons in all the right ways and for that reason I am than ready to overlook any flaws I love Palimpsest so much because I feel like Stross has created a realistic portrayal of time travel and in so doing demonstrated why time travel shouldn’t be possible If it were our universe would be an even crazier place than it already is Because if it were possible to rewrite history then everyone would be running around killing their past selves and grandfathers and Hitler—that or some form of the Novikov self consistency principle would result in time travel erasing the timeline where time travel is invented Confused The Spirit of Open Adoption yet Good This is How Bizarre your brain on time travel Don’t do itBut if time travel were possible then it would also present us with staggering choice The very mutability of the continuum would mean that history would never be constant Foiled plots one moment could be successful coups the next and vice versa if The Complete Elmore you work for the other side You can join the time agency and then if MahaBrahmana you tire of the work go back in time and prevent Investigative Poetry yourself from joining—or just erase The Mortal Heart (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories, yourself from history altogether In short time travel as Stross portrays it in Palimpsest is the ultimate chaotic vector This is the final message of Palimpsest and it is simultaneously invigorating and terrifying

Summary ✓ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ✓ Charles Stross

The process they have reconfigured the basic structure of the universe all in the name of human continuityPierce is a newly recruited member of the Stasis serving out a complex twenty year apprenticeship while struggling to find his way through the paradoxical maze of history and unhistory that surrounds him As his once simple existence expands and replicates over vast stretches of time Pierce uncovers a new and unexpected destiny one that will embroil him in the larger purpo. Found and read online following a Twitter discussion about time travel storiesThis is an odd work atypical of Stross' work IMHO I am not sure I fully understood it As soon as I finished it I restarted it but I lack time to reread the whole thing immediatelyAs a piece of large scale SF it puts me in mind of Liu Cixin As a story which involves jump cuts into the far far cosmic future of Robert Charles Wilson's Spin As a story which involves multiple time journeys characters meeting and interacting with themselves over time and so on of Robert Heinlein's ' All you Zombies ' Knowing Charlie he might well have been aware of thatI enjoyed it but I'm not at all sure that I understood it I will re read when I can and maybe revisit this

Charles Stross ✓ 5 Summary

Ses of the Stasis and in the ultimate unresolved fate of humanity itselfSkillfully merging the threads of an individual life with the grandest most overarching concerns Palimpsest offers both visionary brilliance and narrative excitement in eual measure Powerfully imagined beautifully constructed and written throughout with great economy of means it is the kind of mind expanding mini epic that only science fiction and only a master practitioner like Charles Stross could produ. While it is true that there are basically only about 4 characters in this story it doesn't make it less valuable or interesting uite opposite I would say The skills it must take to compile all the actions in a logical row when you only get to use endless copies of just one man in different times and realities or palimpsests being created and overwritten I would recommend to enjoy the good sides of this story the games with reality and history the possibilities of our planet's future and what might become of humanity And lets not misjudge the government agencies that always seem to know better what is good for us Now isn't that something history has seen repeatedlySo even being somewhat predictable it is still a mind triggering story to enjoy

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