Posted by: daveed | July 2, 2008

Ebb and flow


Radix is a novel that you’ve never heard of, but one I can never forget. I turn to it every few years or so — the struggle of the protagonist Sumner Kagan never fails to ignite something to burn away the ennui that fills my gut from time to time. Like phlegm.

Here you have a science-fiction novel that manages to coalesce around spiritualism, politics, racism and a hero’s journey. And Attanasio writes with more poetry than you typically find in the genre. Gone is the ‘hard science’ for the most part, and instead a thoroughly imagined cosmology about a bleak future Earth, peopled by an unstable co-habitation: humanity’s remnants and a mysterious race of interstellar ‘light-beings’ who use humans’ corporeal forms as hosts.

Sounds hokey, and I think in another’s, less competent, hands it would be. But Attanasio has a wonderful lyrical gift and he certainly lets his prose fly to amazing heights.

Ethos. Letting go. Transformation. Want always brings me back to these things. I think I need to ride the light with Kagan and the Voors again…


  1. I’ve been to that place too. One of the more memorable novels I’ve read. What I most got out of it was its near-Oriental philosophy about life, death, and destiny. Have you read the other three books in that series? Arc of the Dream, In Other Worlds, and The Last Legends of Earth? My favorite of those four: Last Legends. Wow. Talk about mind-expanding, and without any illicit substances.

  2. I’ve started Last Legends about a year ago, but haven’t had time to get back to it. I definitely liked what I read so far…

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