Burning Paradise

Burning Paradise

Book - 2013
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"Cassie [Iverson], eighteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2014--but it's not our United States and it's not our 2014. Cassie's world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1914. But Cassie knows the world isn't what it seems. Her parents were part of a group who gradually discovered the awful truth: that for decades--back to the dawn of radio communications--human progress has been interfered with, made more peaceful and benign, by an extraterrestrial entity"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780765332615
Characteristics: 317 pages ; 25 cm


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Jul 24, 2015

Well written book starts with an interesting premise that human development has been manipulated by an alien "hypercolony" living in the upper atmosphere. Unfortunately the ending relies on some amazing coincidences to try to deliver an emotional punch.

May 28, 2015

Wilson writes well and the book held my interest all the way through. I was at first put off by the implausible alternative history premise. The basic idea is that in this 2014 Earth the radio-reflective layer surrounding the earth is alive and intelligent in the form of a hypercolony of microscopic organisms; it keeps humans from yet another world war by altering the signals it receives and reflects to manipulate human behavior. The science part of science fiction didn’t really apply, but as fiction goes, it was imaginative and mostly entertaining. The book appears to be trying to impart some deep philosophic ideas, or at least pose some significant questions about the meaning of life, intelligence and self-awareness. I found it to be unconvincing in this respect. In the end, it seemed like the author had been given an assignment by his publisher to write another sci-fi book and he was just fulfilling his duty. Still, I just pulled this one off the shelf of the library and wasn’t expecting an epiphany. I was expecting to be entertained for a few days and it succeeded just fine in that.

Mar 21, 2015

Robert Charles Wilson is one of my favourite authors. He is consistently good. This one is a fast read, with good characters and a chilling, thought provoking concept. For the most part RCW avoids pat easy answers to the questions he poses, instead trusting the reader to "play" with some of the ideas he's proposed. The "aliens" remain alien and somewhat unknowable, while we are given enough information to satisfy. In many ways he gives us no more than the characters in the book get, making the book the more interesting. If not as great as Blind Lake or Gypsies, this is still prime reading. Recommended.

Cdnbookworm Feb 20, 2014

This novel takes the reader from Buffalo, New York down to the Atacama desert in Chile. This is in our world, but different. A world where history diverted from ours in the early twentieth century.
As the book begins, it is November 2014, and the world is about to celebrate one its most widely celebrated holidays, Armistice Day. It is a hundred years since the Armistice was signed at the end of the Great War, and the world has been relatively peaceful ever since, with a gradual growth in prosperity.
But only a small number of its people know why. They know that the world has been interfered with, that the dawn of radio communication provided a way for another entity to subtly control communication between people around the world, changing the course of history the world would have seen without this interference. This entity is using human technology for its own purposes, controlling the course of research, ensuring anything that would threaten its existence is quashed, defunded, redirected to a purpose better suited to its ends.
In 2007, this entity felt threatened to such an extent that it took drastic action, killing those scientists actively trying to reveal the truth. Cassie's parents were both killed at this time and her uncle Ethan nearly so. Those who survived went into hiding, communicating only face to face and by post, avoiding anything that involved radio communication or similar means of sending information for fear it could be intercepted.
Cassie and her younger brother Thomas live with their aunt Nerissa, outsiders of a sort, never able to reveal what they know about the world, relaxing only when together with others in their small Society. And they have an emergency plan should a threat like that of 2007 ever return. And one night it does. And so the plan is set in motion.
This is a story of an alternative world history, one where mankind is manipulated by an outside force, where peace is imposed artificially. It seems like a better world in some ways, but is it really, and what would happen if the interference stopped. A book that gets you thinking, but also has green slime and giant insects. A great read.


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