Tor, Apr 2002, 24.95, 304 pp.
Ten millenniums into the future, the solar system is a human utopia as mankind has achieved near immortality. However, at the millennial High Transcendence gala, Phaethon Prime of Rhadamanth meets a Neptunian who insists they are old friends, but Phaethon fails to recognize the individual. Though the latter is part of a nonstandard neuroform renowned as pranksters, Phaethon believes the Neptunian and wonders why he recalls nothing about what has happened to him over the past five centuries.
Phaethon begins investigating his memory loss. He learns that he volunteered to temporarily surrender his memories to a government storage facility in an attempt not to use them for three months in order to inherit the estate of his deceased father. If he breaks the agreement, Phaeton faces exile and a loss of immortality. However, he worries that his lack of recollection could prove threatening to the lifestyle of the Golden Oecumene that comprises every sentient being in the solar system. In spite of the moral dilemma Phaethon feels in exile and begins his quest to find his stored memories.
THE GOLDEN AGE is a great futuristic science fiction that genre fans will absolutely love. The story line is fabulous as the heroic Phaeton struggles between his own needs and that of the greater good while he does not grasp either. The only weakness in Mr. Wright's strong debut is that the audience needs to wait for the release of the second book to learn what happens to Phaethon. This left this reviewer crashing from a reading high. To avoid major disappointment I suggest waiting for the concluding novel in order to read both together.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner