book review: spacetime archaeology (planetary vol 4)

Warren Ellis’ Planetary has taken a long time to finish. It’s one of those books I keep going back to every once in a while just to reread. It’s science fiction about the weird fiction of the twentieth century. Spacetime Archaeology is the final volume of the series and it ended up pulling the whole thing together in a way I found satisfying, even though it felt a bit like it was speeding to a conclusion. There was a bit of anticlimax as is usual when it’s a story that’s taken so long to be resolved. In a couple of months I’ll go back and reread the entire thing through and will like it very much.

My favourite part of this book was the explanation of this spacecraft’s propulsion system. Elijah Snow (explains that the third dimension they experience is just a simulation and that really everything is information, and the spacecraft just manipulates the information that says it’s travelling without any of the messy physics. Which was awesome on two levels. 1) I like the idea of the universe being information. I’m an information kind of guy. It’s nice to feel important. 2) That exactly describes their reality as characters on the pages of a comic book. Which was so excellently meta I couldn’t stop grinning. It’s not done with a wink or a “See what I did there?” or anything. It’s just tossed out as a fact of how their tiny part of the multiverse is constructed. Which makes me glad it’s now sitting on my shelf next to the rest of the universes I’ve been collecting.

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