From the beginning, David Louis Edelman‘s Jump 225 Trilogy has been a pleasant surprise and change from the typical books we read. It shouldn’t really be a shocker to anyone when we say we don’t generally care for the SF genre. Authors in SF seem to take themselves too seriously. Or they really have no interest in telling a story, but they love to show how much smarter they are than the reader. Thankfully, Edelman isn’t of that pretentious school of thought.
We first heard of Edelman back in 2006 at the WorldCon in Los Angeles. His first novel, INFOQUAKE was being pushed by Pyr Editor-extraordinaire Lou Anders. Admittedly, the series didn’t seem that interesting right away. After all, who wants to read Business Cyberpunk?
After starting the series (and now having finished it), the answer was really quite simple: we want to read Business Cyberpunk, and so should you.
GEOSYNCHRON (Amazon) is the conclusion to Edelman’s trilogy. It is a different type of beast than most other novels you will read. When we say “Business Cyberpunk,” we don’t mean that lightly. The business stuff pervades every aspect of the novel from the smaller romantic subplots, to the questions regarding the future of the human race. No, this book won’t be for everyone, but neither was R. Scott Bakker’s THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE, or Steven Erikson’s GARDENS OF THE MOON. Those novels were amazing accomplishments in the Fantasy genre, and likewise GEOSYNCHRON (and the two preceding novels, INFOQUAKE and MULTIREAL) is an incredible entry into the SF genre.
This is a hard novel to review without giving away series spoilers. So, the main thing we want to highlight is how much has changed in this series. You’ve all read those series–whether in SF or Fantasy–where the characters just don’t change. You’ve read those series where there are no personal consequences to the characters. GEOSYNCHRON does not have these problems. These characters are VERY different from their book 1 versions. If you haven’t read the first two novels, the following few sentences will feel very vague. We don’t want to spoil ANYTHING of them for you in this review, because seeing their very-real progression is one of the best things about Edelman’s series. Read the series and you will understand.
Of all the characters, perhaps the most drastic change involves Natch. He has been dramatically changed by his experiences from the first two novels, and these changes are instrumental in the ending of this third novel. Jara also made huge strides, but in a different manner. In GEOSYNCHRON, she really has become her own person, where before she seemed unsure as to her own identity. Quell is fantastic as well. We could go on about all the characters, but we can sum it up better by saying that Edelman knows how to write character progression. Not just that, but he writes it so well.
Let’s talk a bit about the major questions the novel brings up. You see, Natch essentially has power over cause and effect–access to a program called Multireal (the title of the second novel). Think of how incredible of a power this is. The main plot of this novel revolves around the debate of giving EVERYONE this type of power. There are those that want to stop the release of a variant of the Multireal program, (called Possibilities 2.0) and those who want it released to supposedly “free the human race.” Natch is right at the center of this conflict… though we aren’t going to tell you why due to the explanation involving a heavy amount of spoilers.
Freedom. Choice. Love. Perception. Living out all your various potential futures. These themes all make up GEOSYNCHRON… of course all with a business-centric outlook. It was completely awesome.
Now there are some small issues we had. First of all, the story is told from a 3rd Person Omniscient PoV…most of the time. You see it gets a bit confused with 3rd Person Limited at times, and this fuzziness can pull the reader out of the story. Is this a deal-breaker? For some we suppose it could be, but they would be nuts. To be honest, most people won’t even realize it… except we just told you… whatever.
The other issue is the thematic pacing. Most people think business is boring. You start talking about board-meetings, stock, and negotiations, and most people will tune out. There isn’t a ton of action involved with these sort of themes typically. Like we said before, this book (and series) isn’t for everyone. We loved it. Steve especially, being that he has a bizarre fascination with business “stuff” (Nick thinks Steve’s fascination is border-line creepy…). Even though this book involves a lot of people talking and negotiating, the pages turned quickly. The pacing, for us, was excellent.
The ending of the novel was a little odd. For a while it feels like it is being strung out–kinda like the end of the movie version of The Return of the King. Then, crazy-abruptly, we are given the actual end. It felt a bit like Edelman just didn’t want to let go of the series, but then the deadline-fairies came and told him to wrap it up. It isn’t a bad ending (in fact, it’s really really cool… especially the action sequence before the resolution), it just felt a little over-long. It was, however, easy to forgive.
It may seem like an odd comparison, but when we were discussing this full series, R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing trilogy kept being brought up. This look into the human mind, as well as the pacing, and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) manipulations really made us think of Bakker–specifically THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE. We hesitate to say “Edelman is SF’s answer to Bakker in Fantasy,” but a part of us really wants to. Albeit a less explicit version, but seriously, the similarities in skill, story, pacing, and imagination are all there.
Can you begin to see why we loved GEOSNYCHRON? An Business, Bakker-like story that pulls the actual intelligent portions of the Matrix into a strong, character-driven novel (and series)? Yeah. We’ll pay money for that every time.
Here is what you are going to do. You are going to go to your local bookstore and pick up the full Jump 225 Trilogy. INFOQUAKE (Amazon). MULTIREAL (Amazon). GEOSYNCHRON (Amazon). Go buy them now. You’ll know them by their stunning Stephan Martiniere covers… and, well, the fact that they have Edelman’s name on them. We are full of brilliant deductions.
One last note: GEOSYNCHRON has 50+ pages of appendices. Included in them are definitions of terms, historical data, and a lovely summary of the prior two novels to refresh you mind (yet another reason for the Bakker comparisons). Usually, this kind of stuff is useless. In Edelman’s case, he incorporates it perfectly.
- Recommended Age: 17+. Mostly for the intelligence behind the words.
- Language: Yup. Quite a bit. Though it doesn't seem as bothersome as in other novels.
- Violence: Not really. There is some pretty cut-throat business stuff going on though... that sounds violent right?
- Sex: None shown, but some is alluded to (mostly in a virtual program called Sigh)
Edelman once blogged about reviews and reviewers. Hopefully we met all of his criteria. We are absolutely looking forward to his next work.
Go check out his website, and tell him how awesome he is.