Implied Spaces

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 1, 2010

Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams

Twelve people attended this discussion at the North Village Library, and another submited comments by email. Our topic was Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams, one of our most frequently discussed authors. This story explores big ideas including immortality, the creation of pocket universes, and the search for the existence of higher intelligence. Nine of us had read Williams before. Nine of us started the book, and eight of us finished it.

The book is a series of episodes of the meanderings of a bored, rich, immortal guy. The book starts out with long passage that seems like something out of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, taking place in a pocket universe. Then the story bounces around to various adventures in other pocket universes, including one on a waterworld. Ultimately there’s a zombie plague and a supervillain, and lots of philosophical discussions.

Most of us had trouble getting engaged with the book. The protagonist was detached and hard to like. The book’s tone bounced around between farcical, serious sense-of-wonder, and straightforward adventure. We wished the author had just picked one and stayed with it. And the author often introduces potentially interesting ideas like the speculative physics of “implied spaces,” and then doesn’t develop them in an interesting way. One person commented “I wish this was either more tightly plotted or funnier.”

The book had good qualities. Some of us enjoyed the book’s farcical passages. The feline lovers in our group liked the protagonist’s cat. And a few of us simply appreciated the author’s clean, readable prose style.

Overall this book felt unfocused and less ambitious than we’ve come to expect from Williams. The meeting was rather short, since none of us had much to say.

After the meeting, many of us had a nice dinner together at Conan’s.

—A. T. Campbell, III