Well, it is too long. But Andreas Eschbach’s science fiction novel, Lord of All Things, is nevertheless a good read. The basic premise is pretty standard: What if someone could discover a technology that would end the need for technology. A molecular assembler, like the Star Trek replicators, that rearrange atoms. Eschbach turns that conceit into a nice searchquest, with a variety of villains (who are human) and a band of helpers for the lonely hero. Everyone is fairly real, rather than a cartoon. Some of the intended and unintended consequences of the technology are explored, and there are numerous digressions into the philosophy/economics of abundance and scarcity. Nothing mind-shattering, but also not too boring. There is a decent sub-mystery that never really has any implications. Some of the plot devices (Charlotte’s para-normal history reading) do not make any sense. A good editor would have encouraged Eschbach to twist the novel a little more (I would have liked Charlotte and Hiroshi to have been nano-ized themselves, which would have then tied things neatly together, and James Bennett III could have been a nano-ized failsafe or something like that).
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