Tor, Aug 2001, 27.95, 428 pp.
In Denver realtor Sarah Beaumont and her architect explore the possibilities of the old vacant house. They quickly find a reference to a late nineteenth century gunfight in which an innocent bystander, Brady Quinn, a former owner of this house, was the only victim. They also find a list of other seemingly unrelated events from the second half of the nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century. Finally, there is the word clilology, but neither knows what it means.
Unable to resist, Sarah begins to investigate the death of Brady. That leads her to Babbage's analytical machines, 1880s computers. Soon her methodical research brings her to the attention of the Babbage Society, who control the world, but are split over how far to use their powers and what to do with Sarah.
This is a reprint of a late 1980s science fiction tale with a revised afterward, providing stronger insight and support to cliology so that those readers wanting more science and math will have that too. This reviewer, who never heard of cliology before, remains uncertain whether the afterward is satire like that of Professor Putts' R&D articles from the 1970s or the real thing. The story line is intriguing and well written as the Babbage Society forecasts the future and uses any means including assassination to alter the dynamics of their prediction and change what will happen. With the exception of Sarah, the characters represent plot devices to enhance Mr. Flynn's theories yet they are cleverly interwoven into the tale. Fans of classic style science fiction will want to read IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner