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Lord of All Things

Lord of All Things [Kindle Edition]

Andreas Eschbach , Samuel Willcocks
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Winner of the 2012 Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for best German science fiction novel, Lord of All Things is also a story about love against all odds.

They are just children when they meet for the first time: Charlotte, daughter of the French ambassador, and Hiroshi, a laundress’s son. One day, Hiroshi declares that he has an idea that will change the world. An unprecedented idea of how to sweep away all differences between rich and poor.

When Hiroshi runs into Charlotte several years later, he is trying to build a brighter future through robotics. Determined to win Charlotte’s love, he resurrects his childhood dream, convinced that he can eradicate world poverty by pushing the limits of technology beyond imagination. But as Hiroshi circles ever closer to realizing his vision, he discovers that his utopian dream may contain the seeds of a nightmare—one that could obliterate life as we know it.

Crisscrossing the globe from Tokyo to the hallowed halls of MIT to desolate Arctic islands and Buenos Aires and beyond—far beyond—Lord of All Things explores not only the dizzying potential of technology but also its formidable dangers.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Andreas Eschbach studied aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart and later founded his own IT consulting company before becoming a full-time writer. Several of his novels, including The Jesus Video and One Trillion Dollars, became nationwide bestsellers in Germany. He has been awarded both the Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis, Germany’s most prestigious science fiction award for best science fiction novel, and the Deutscher Science Fiction Preis several times. The Carpetmakers, his only other book translated into English, was listed as one of the best science fiction books of 2005 by and recommended by Locus Magazine. In 2002, his novel Jesus Video was adapted for German television. He lives with his wife in Brittany, France.


Mehr über den Autor

Andreas Eschbach, geboren am 15.09.1959 in Ulm, ist verheiratet, hat einen Sohn und schreibt seit seinem 12. Lebensjahr. Er studierte in Stuttgart Luft- und Raumfahrttechnik und arbeitete zunächst als Softwareentwickler. Von 1993 bis 1996 war er geschäftsführender Gesellschafter einer EDV-Beratungsfirma. Als Stipendiat der Arno-Schmidt-Stiftung "für schriftstellerisch hoch begabten Nachwuchs" schrieb er seinen ersten Roman "Die Haarteppichknüpfer", der 1995 erschien und für den er 1996 den "Literaturpreis des Science Fiction-Clubs Deutschland" erhielt. Bekannt wurde er vor allem durch den Thriller "Das Jesus-Video" (1998), das im Jahr 1999 drei literarische Preise gewann und zum Taschenbuchbestseller wurde. ProSieben verfilmte den Roman, der erstmals im Dezember 2002 ausgestrahlt wurde und Rekordeinschaltquoten bescherte. Mit "Eine Billion Dollar", "Der Nobelpreis" und zuletzt "Ausgebrannt" stieg er endgültig in die Riege der deutschen Top-Thriller-Autoren auf.
Nach über 25 Jahren in Stuttgart lebt Andreas Eschbach mit seiner Familie jetzt seit 2003 als freier Schriftsteller in der Bretagne.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen
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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen sehr gut 28. März 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch hat mir sehr gut gefallen
Diese erforderliche Angaben gefallen mir ganz und gar nicht, reicht es nicht einfach 5 Sterne zu geben?
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  79 Rezensionen
29 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen "What Might Have Been!" (4 1/2 Stars) 28. Januar 2014
Von G. Ratcheson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
First, I want to state clearly that I highly recommend this book. It's
extremely well written, a very important topic, tells a great story &
the translator makes it an easy, fast, gripping read for English
speaking readers.

The first time I opened it, I read 178 pages non stop before taking
a break!

I would have liked to give it 4 1/2 stars, but Amazon doesn't offer
that option. There are 2 issues that (barely) prevent me from
giving it 5 stars:

1. The attention to detail in Nanotechnology that takes up a
significant amount of the 647 pages (though other readers may
enjoy this).

2. At times he seems to be trying to do too much in one book: this
book could be categorized as any & all of the following:
Technology Sci-FI
Sword & Sorcery Fantasy
Espionage Thriller
Utopian (Left Wing Politics)

Despite the above, it works. And it works well. I'm going to give a
very short plot summary for 2 reasons:

1. This is a long book, & it has more subplots than possibly any
fiction book I've ever read

2. One of the biggest joys of this book are the plot surprises (there
are a ton of them, & some are major surprises), I don't want to
diminish the book for you by giving any away. I hope other
reviewers show the same respect for potential readers.

Brief plot summary: Hiroshi is a genius. He makes Steve Jobs look
like an amateur. He is largely selfless. He also believes that no
one would have to work who didn't want to if technology could be
harnessed correctly to distribute the resources of the planet
without human intervention. And he wishes to help people to have
happy, meaningful lives.

Charlotte is his childhood friend & also (though to a lesser degree)
his friend as an adult. She has the power to read actions of and
emotions experienced by those who have touched an object. Their
relationship is one of the major subplots of the book.

Corporations, rival scientists, and the rich & powerful (+ an evil
rival for Charlotte's attention who just happens to be filthy rich)
don't want Hiroshi to succeed.

That is intentionally a bare bones plot summary, there is so much
more to this fine work of art. It's also amazing how many small
details he plants during the course of the book that become
important & tie things up as the book progresses.

I chose this book to read & review for 2 reasons:

1. The official synopsis said it won the 2012 award for best
German Sci-FI. Good recommendation!

2. The synopsis also gives the plot description about the
protagonist attempting to create a Utopian society & that he is
saddened by his failure to do so.

Questioning why some semblance of Utopia hasn't happened has
also been a major theme & frustration for me. I was hoping to get
some insight into WHY it's never come close on this planet.
Unfortunately for me (again without giving away the plot), the
author takes the same basic position that I have: the answer is
human nature; or at least the nature of a % of the human race
(basically but not exclusively the rich & powerful in all arenas)
is selfish, greedy & at times evil.

I am also grateful that he avoids religion.

Though I didn't learn any new answers (& it is a fiction book, not a
self help book), again this is an amazingly gripping read (other
than the too many pages of Nanotechnology details). It took me to
many places that I didn't expect to go, & also deprived me of sleep
because I didn't want to stop reading! I think it only took 3 sessions to
get through 647 pages!

I cried for 15 minutes at the end.

Highly recommended (& if you read it, I suspect you'll understand
why I didn't want to give away very many details). One last hint:
the title of this review is a quote from page 645 of the book.
23 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Paging Doctor Asimov, Stat! 2. März 2014
Von Kevin L. Nenstiel - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Growing up poor in the shadow of Tokyo's glimmering prosperity, Hiroshi Kato has a vision. He foresees a world where technology banishes poverty forever. Humanity's established order, including his best friend, a wealthy ambassador's daughter, mock Hiroshi's vision. But in an epic spanning decades and crisscrossing the globe, Hiroshi Kato stops at nothing to realize his dream. If that means remaking human civilization in Hiroshi's image, so be it.

Award-winning German author Andreas Eschbach crafts a vision American science fiction readers will find numbingly familiar. Eschbach's themes precisely mimic those in Isaac Asimov's classic I, Robot, though at much greater length. Eschbach requires a cast of thousands, globetrotting narratives, and decades upon decades, to retell Asimov's story. At least Asimov offset his talky, intellectually dense novels with rapid pace and action-driven scenes.

Like Doctor Asimov, Eschbach uses characters and situations to expound authorial principles. Character dialog resembles academic discourse, even from children's mouths, because they're less humans than personifications of the author's message. Yet Asimov redeemed his story through concision, running about one-third Eschbach's glacial Teutonic length. Eschbach might have saved this massive, brick-like book if, like Doctor Asimov, he excised everything that didn't serve his story. Which is quite a lot.

Moreover, it's hard to swallow Eschbach's message when it contradicts everything an informed audience already knows. Technology isn't morally neutral. Hiroshi, and perhaps Eschbach through him, lives in a world untouched by environmental catastrophe; a world free from Wendell Berry or James Howard Kunstler; a world where more technology can fix problems existing technology has created. In real life, as in casinos, doubling down is a stupid strategy.

Asimov published "I, Robot" in 1950, when technology's potential seemed limitless. Machines would replace human labor, making every human necessity free, liberating us for lives of intellectual fulfillment. "I, Robot" is an excellent book (though a lousy movie). But sixty-four years later, our understanding of technology's social impacts has evolved appropriately. Eshbach's expectations nevertheless remain mired in Jet Age utopianism, making grandiose promises already three generations outdated.

Eschbach divides humanity into two groups: those who support Hiroshi's dreams, and tragicomic straw men Hiroshi demolishes effortlessly. Besides a handful of close friends, every character has one or, at most, two character traits, and exist to enact allegorical roles in Hiroshi's morality play. The ambassador's migraine-prone wife, the MIT professor who can't successfully debate an undergraduate, even Hiroshi's own mother, all provide colorless background chatter while Hiroshi redeems humankind.

Meanwhile, as Hiroshi's human community becomes increasingly one-dimensional, his technological dreams become increasingly detailed and specific as the book advances. What begins as a sweeping desire to eliminate poverty bogs down in abstruse descriptions of robotics, nanotechnology, and other sci-fi buzzwords. Technology, for Hiroshi, is a Platonic ideal, free from human interference. Hiroshi understands humans so vaguely, and technology so precisely, that I wonder, is Hiroshi perhaps autistic?

It's dangerous to assume a character represents the author's message. Authors sometimes foreground characters who exist to get demolished, or who represent societal failure; consider everything cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson ever wrote. But because Hiroshi's vision brooks no argument, and every circumstance eventually breaks Hiroshi's way, I suspect Eschbach at least doesn't dispute Hiroshi's technological romanticism. I work in a factory, so I'll say, technology makes work harder, not easier.

When I reviewed Stephen Kiernan's The Curiosity, which made similar attempts at scientific moralism without relying on empirical science, several people criticized my review, saying, "it's just science fiction." So I ask: when did science fiction become unmoored from science? We should evaluate this novel's technological dictums based on what we know of science, including human psychology and technology's social history. Doctor Asimov would have.

Essentially, this book suffers because Eschbach hugs his sympathetic hero much too tightly. Our viewpoint protagonist, and presumably our author too, has an idea early, and life happily conspires to see this idea germinate. Hiroshi's ideas don't endure any tests, don't get revised by life, and suffer only token resistance from opponents so trivial, he demolishes them effortlessly. In the final sale, our hero isn't so much triumphant as vindicated.

Every time I set this book down, picking it up again became increasingly laborious. While I support Hiroshi's economic egalitarian dreams, he bases his dreams on naive faith in eternal human progress, unencumbered by boring Newtonian physics in a finite world. This novel brooks no dissent, bends all characters to serve its protagonist's themes, and plays to an inevitable end. You deserve a book that respects your valuable reading time.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS 11. Februar 2014
Von Larry Dunlap - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This author seems to break all the rules but it works for me. It starts as a wonderful love story and progresses, a little unbelievably but I'm willing to suspend belief because I like the characters so much. Bit by bit, it turns into the science fiction story that was promised, and takes it to some very interesting philosophical and timely points. We're reaching a new machine age, where there are machines that not only can replace labor, but many of the information jobs once thought secure. There are many mid-level jobs being replaced by software. The labor force is less and less relevant, but what happens to the people? There are forces in our country that are willing to take jobs from the people as technology takes them but unwilling to supply safe havens to them. This book, whether wittingly or not, considers parts of this very modern storm that is forming between the 'knows' and 'don't knows'. I consider it a literary triumph and recommend to anyone who loves a good, hefty story.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Nanotech, aliens, robotics, class warfare. Yet at its heart this is a book about two children who become exceptional friends. 20. März 2014
Von D. Brennan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Hiroshi is a young child in Tokyo with a passion for technology and a hatred for income inequality that will drive the rest of this compelling, though sometimes overly ambitious novel. Hiroshi befriends Charlotte, a young girl who is the daughter of the French Ambassador, whose mother exerts an oppressive level of control over her life. Hiroshi realizes early that there is a connection between him and the girl and goes to extraordinary lengths to spend time with her. Though they live next door to each other (Hiroshi's mother works in the laundry room of the French Embassy) they might as well live on different planets. This relationship offers a beautiful introduction to characters and the theme of rich vs. poor from a child's eyes. This simple narrative becomes much more complex once Charlotte discloses her secret to Hiroshi - she has a gift that will shape her life, as well as Hiroshi's. They are to be abruptly separated through forces outside the control of young children.

A decade later Hiroshi and Charlotte are drawn together again. Hiroshi understands that this is not chance and that their lives are interwoven in ways that must be acknowledged, even if they can't understand why and how. Hiroshi has followed his passion for robotics to MIT and is recognized as a genius in his field. His problem though is that he is cautious and will come to realize that his vision for the future allows no room for caution. He will need to take a huge leap of faith if he is to succeed in changing the world in ways that even his professors and peers cannot begin to understand. The second 'book' ends with Hiroshi disappearing and Charlotte wondering where he went.

Science fiction doesn't make an appearance until the book is half way over and then in ways that don't seem so very far fetched. Hiroshi and Charlotte will reunite again, this time to see the outcome of years of Hiroshi's single-minded focus on building robotic tools that will uproot the nature of Property and the idea of work and subservience.

Years will go by before they see each other again. At this stage the SciFi elements are in full effect. Charlotte will accidentally lead the world to the edge of ruin through a casual recommendation though she may well hold the key to its salvation through her relationship with Hiroshi. This is where the geeks among us will get our well-earned fill of very well thought out science fiction. Andreas Eschbach does a great job of uniting some of the more interesting theorems of scifi - if there are so many inhabitable worlds out there, why don't we hear alien communication? Is it possible that humans evolved advanced civilizations before the modern era? What are the possibilities and pitfalls of nano-tech? What would humans do if they truly were able to master this tech and become the Lords of all Things?

Despite the arguably overambitious number of concepts tackled I give this book my highest recommendation. I wish that all scifi could be this good. I wish that all authors could write stories with characters that I can become so thoroughly emotionally bound to. I wish that more authors could use science fiction is a flavoring to the story rather than as a substitute for real substance.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A mixed bag 19. März 2014
Von Ana Braga-Henebry - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
A long story, not without its qualities, Lord of All Things by Andreas Eschbach is sort of a mixed bag. I found it a bit uneven as it goes from a serious beginning to a tale of immature students at MIT to hard-to-follow technological developments... I would give it more stars if it weren't for the couple of completely unnecessary graphic scenes. Still an interesting story if you like the genre.
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