“The Chronoliths” by Robert Charles Wilson (Orb Books, 2011)


Bestselling author Robert Charles Wilson really has a knack for sucking a reader in: the cover alone for The Chronoliths immediately catches the eye with this mighty rocket shaped stone construction that piques anyone’s interest, and then one reads the description on the back of the book and one is transported to this unique alternate world to our own where Wilson is at home and the reader is taken on an unforgettable journey.

Scott Warden, at the moment, is in Thailand with his daughter and wife.  He’s a mid-level computer guy who goes off walking one night with his friend Hitch Paley after some drinks, and then a miraculous event occurs right before their very eyes: the violent arrival of a 200-foot long obelisk appears literally out of thin air, collapsing and obliterating trees for a quarter of a mile around.  It seems to be made of a matter unknown to this world, while there is an inscription at its base that commemorates a great military victory taking place twenty years and three months in the future.

Part of the book is spent researching and studying these enigmatic pillars that become known as Chronoliths, as they begin appearing all over the world, to the point where Warden is working with Sue Chopra and a skilled team to predict where and when the next Chronolith will arrive.  The other part of the book philosophizes and discusses the undeniable questions and thoughts that arise when one knows of a predestined event scheduled to arrive at a specific time in the future; the question is whether it will happen as planned, or because humanity now knows about it, will it be forever altered?  This is classic Robert Charles Wilson at his best; The Chronoliths will captivate Wilson fans as well as fans of the science fiction genre.

Originally written on September 21, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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