enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Ryk E. Spoor, Spheres of Influence

I read this book about 19-Mar-2014. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2013. This note was last modified Monday, 24-Mar-2014 21:50:26 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Sequel to Grand Central Arena. Felicia very kindly got a copy autographed for me at Lunacon just now.

More people arrive, and the in-Faction politics heat up. Since Ariane is the faction leader in the eyes of the Arena, she can't actually be challenged. Except of course by assassination.

Okay, this is weird. One of the common Smithisms is variants on "I check you to nineteen decimals". The general form is using "nineteen decimals" to indicate things are very similar or in agreement. Except, in this book, it's used as "nine decimals". I described this to Pamela as being "low resolution" characters, and it suddenly hit me that, instead of a mistake, this could be a clue, that something strange about the environment means things won't actually check to 19 decimals (not that real things would; we can't measure very much that accurately). I suppose eventually it will become clear which. There's a straight-forward explanation of "nine decimals" as a Smithism on Sea Wasp's web site, though, so I'm a bit worried about this.

The Blessed to Serve run a brilliant attack on Ariane, starting with a kidnapping, and the Hyperions and others just barely defeat it. This leaves us in an even stronger position with Orphan (the one member of the Liberated faction and our friend from the first book), and in fact enables us to obtain peace with the Blessed—and have them hand over three more Spheres to boot. Onde of them Ariane gives to Orphan.

Then there's quite a bit of cleanup in solar space. Duquesne loses the other Hyperions he was hoping to save to a rogue AI attack (thus confirming that there are rogue AIs around), and then Ariane has to deal with the formal political rulers. Luckily there's very little government, even in the aftermath of Hyperion, but what there is doesn't want to give one person the power Ariane actually has. I am totally sympathetic, actually; the change represented by the Arena is huge, and more than I'd expect politicians with no experience there and just a few reports over a year or two to read to inform themselves. They come up with a compromise, giving her the power but with a procedure to recall her and a limited term (she gets two guaranteed terms as the first faction leader).

And then they start planning their next adventure, which is to carry through the voyage with Orphan that they agreed to early in this book.


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David Dyer-Bennet