Image of City at the End of Time


Image of City at the End of Time

This is the Russian black rye bread of science fiction novels; it's thick and heavy and has a taste both bitter and immensely satisfying. Bear builds not one world, but several, and his characters are incredibly complex. He tends toward overly detailed scenery and falls back on pedantic devices at times, but neither of those things takes much away from the skillfully built plot.

Three young people in contemporary Seattle cannot seem to escape odd circumstances; indeed, those circumstances seem to follow them. A single sentence in the classified ads calls to them: Do you dream of a city at the end of Time? Indeed, all of them have a vision in their minds of a bleak, desolate ruin but can recall little, if any, of their own past.

They are the protectors, whose task is to care for increments of history. As time decays and melds past and future into indistinguishable parts, each protector must survive long enough to pass that knowledge on to the new universe being born. (Del Rey, Aug., 512 pp., $27.00)
Reviewed by: 
Victoria Frerichs