Show Me the Way

When I was in the sixth grade, I received Greg Bear’s Eternity as part of a gift exchange. I read part of it, but for some reason I never finished. It was actually the sequel to another book called Eon, and I decided to check both out again recently. Eon takes place in the early twenty-first century, with the Cold War still raging and nuclear war between the United States and Russia being basically a foregone conclusion. At the same time, a strange asteroid has appeared in the sky above Earth. It turns out that this planetoid, known as Thistledown, comes from the distant future, and houses a society where people are able to store their personalities and transfer them into new bodies.

They’ve also managed to open the Way, a passageway between universes, only to find that it’s been invaded by alien beings. The mathematician Patricia Vasquez visits the station, and it turns out that she was instrumental in creating the Way. She ends up being transported to an alternate Earth where Alexander the Great didn’t die as young as he did in our world, and the Macedonian Empire continued until the present time. In Eternity, Patricia’s granddaughter seeks an entrance to the Way. On Earth, Thistledown has become a presence in the twenty-first century. When first starting to read the book, I thought it was strange how the technology to transfer personalities into new bodies existed a few mere decades in the future; but Eon does explain that. It was also interesting that the Cold War themes had already become a bit outdated by that point, as it was around when the Soviet Union collapsed. A third book, Legacy, is a prequel to Eon (even though tit takes place farther in the future) in which a Thistledown agent investigates a world in which evolution has proceeded in much the way Lamarck proposed, leading to collective organisms that can control how they develop. Honestly, I found the plots a little difficult to follow at times and the characters sometimes difficult to keep track of, but the ideas were quite interesting.

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One Response to Show Me the Way

  1. Pingback: Back to the Books | VoVatia

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