SciFan: books and links for the science fiction fan

  search by writer, book or series:
 writers & series: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
home | about | links | e-mail 
   White Abacus, The, by Damien Broderick  
  Novel, first publication in April 1997 , latest edition in April 1998
  New to SciFan?
SciFan is dedicated to helping you discover new fantasy and SF books:
  • our database of 40,000+ books is cross-referenced by author, series and theme and is updated almost daily
  • we cover new and forthcoming books like no one else [more about us.]

      Buy it online  

    Get most new and used editions at, Amazon Canada , Amazon UK or Powells

    Look for second-hand books at Biblio

    Buy White Abacus, The by Damien Broderick
       Additional Information  
      Winner of more than one Ditmar Award (Australia's highest honor for science fiction), Damien Broderick has been doing SF, criticism, and academic research for many years. The White Abacus doubtless introduces him to more people outside of the Commonwealth.

    To use the phrase "Hamlet in space" to describe The White Abacus is not a criticism; the book is a Shakespearean tour de force set far in the future. "Hu" (humans) are scientifically sophisticated, but emotionally immature. "Ai" (artificial intelligence) are rational and peace-loving, though more politically developed than most hu know. In most of the universe, hu and ai live together in harmony, but not in the Asteroid Belt of humanity's home solar system. An isolationist movement there left the pioneers extremely religious and dead set against using the "hex gates" that enable instantaneous travel between planets. Life on Psyche in the Belt remains a serious business, for humans only--no ai allowed.

    Psyche's young prince Telmah (try reading it backwards) is sent to Earth to study, and there befriends an ai being named Ratio who has been painfully separated from the Gestell, a unified state of the ai. Telmah and his friends spend their days studying, romping, and playing at sophisticated games. Back at home, his uncle Feng allegedly murders Telmah's father, marries the widowed mother, and usurps the Directorship. Determined to avenge his father, Telmah returns home to confront Uncle Feng. The faithful Ratio accompanies him, but unbeknownst to Telmah, Ratio has another motive besides friendship--a secret assignment from the Gestell.

    Sound familiar? A fast-moving, updated version of the Hamlet tale, The White Abacus offers comedy, space opera, literary puzzles, and not a few surprises.

    Source: Bonnie Bouman,

      Related theme(s)  
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Thinking Machines
  • Far Futures
  • Interstellar Travel - FTL (Faster than Light)

    1998-2010 Olivier Travers & Sophie Bellais - All Rights Reserved