Cover image for Killing time : a novel of the future
Title:
Killing time : a novel of the future
Author:
Carr, Caleb, 1955-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, 2000.
Physical Description:
274 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1240 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.9 14.0 46847.

Reading Counts RC High School 9 18 Quiz: 24243 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780679463320
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Meet Dr. Gideon Wolfe, expert criminologist of the new millenium. A professor at New York's John Jay University in the year 2023, he lives in an era that has seen plague, a global economic crash, and the 2018 assassination of President Emily Forrester. In this turbulent new world order, Wolfe's life and everything he knows are turned upside down when the widow of a murdered special-effects wizard enters his office. The widow hands him a silver disc from her husband's safety deposit box, hoping that Wolfe's expertise in history and criminology will compel him to track down her husband's killers. The disc contains footage of President Forrester's assassination, the same video that has been broadcast countless times on TV and over the internet-with one crucial, shocking difference: This version shows that before the video was released, it was altered with sinister special effects. This explosive discovery will lead Gideon Wolfe on an electrifying journey from a criminal underworld of New York to the jungles of Africa and on a quest to find the truth in an age when all information can be manipulated. With this novel, Carr has boldly established a new genre-future history-combining the best elements of mystery and thrillers with unique historical insight. Breathtakingly suspenseful,Killing Timeunfolds as the work of a master novelist.


Author Notes

Caleb Carr, a lifetime resident of New York, was born in 1955 and grew up on the Lower East Side. His father was an editor and close friend to famous Beat Generation writers, such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Although Carr was personally exposed to their style of writing and Bohemian lifestyles, he chose to take his own work in a different direction. Where the Beat writers wrote purely from expression and feelings, Caleb Carr's works are diligently researched and known for their historical accuracy.

Caleb Carr developed a love of history at a young age, acquiring a keen interest in military history while attending a Quaker high school. This interest led him to major in history at Kenyon College and NYU. Notable works by Caleb Carr are The Alienist, which was on the New York Times' bestseller list for 24 weeks; The Devil Soldier; and Angel of Darkness. In addition to writing fiction, Carr is a contributing editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.

(Bowker Author Biography) Caleb Carr was born in Manhattan and grew up on the Lower East Side, where he still lives. In addition to his bestselling fiction, Mr. Carr writes frequently on military and political affairs. He is series editor of the Modern Library War Series and is a contributing editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Carr, whose Alienist (1994) helped launch the literary-thriller juggernaut, turns from the past to the future with this anti-utopian mix of sf and mystery, set in 2024. It's Blade Runner times 10 in a world ravaged by technology, especially by the rampant misuse of misinformation, spread like a plague by the Internet. Investigating the murder of a video wizard vaporized by an unknown weapon, criminologist Gordon Wolfe soon finds himself in league with a band of cyber-rebels out to expose what technology has wrought: "a world where intelligence is measured by the ability to amass information that has no context or purpose save its own propagation. The plan is to perpetrate frauds--false documents, for example, suggesting that George Washington was assassinated--and then reveal the hoaxes, proving that facts are no longer trustworthy, and information science is utterly corrupt. Unfortunately, nobody will believe the truth when it is finally revealed. Matters come to a head when a terrorist, convinced by misinformation that Stalin was a coconspirator in the Holocaust, sets out to nuke Moscow. Can the cyber-rebels save the world with the same technology that ruined it? Anyone with even an ounce of Luddite blood will love Carr's premise, but unfortunately, the novel doesn't quite live up to its subject matter. Carr spends too much time explaining the premise and detailing all the horrors that have befallen the information-glutted world; consequently, his characters are more mouthpieces than people. Ironically, in a novel that pleads passionately for humanity, the human voice is nearly lost in the rhetoric. Still, this is the kind of story bound to attract attention. --Bill Ott


Publisher's Weekly Review

Famous for his bestselling thrillers re-creating old New York (The Alienist; The Angel of Darkness) and trained as a military historian (The Devil Soldier), Carr leaps into the future for his third novelDand lands with a thud. Set about 25 years ahead, the first-person narrative describes the grim adventures of Gideon Wolfe, a bestselling author who joins forces with a band of outsiders intent on alerting the world to the dangers of excess information untempered by wisdom. By 2023, the Internet has multiplied wildly the ability of power possessors to deceive the general populace, resulting in a globe devastated by ecological blight and filled with near-zombies glued to computer screens. Some groups have escaped this fateDparticularly those living in unwired if disease-ravaged areas of Africa and AsiaDand a few, led by the enormously wealthy and brilliant brother-and-sister team of Malcolm and Larissa Tressalian, have vowed to fight it. These two, with a small crew, bring Gideon aboard their fantastic flying/diving fortress vehicle. They explain that for years they've seeded world-shaking disinformationDfor instance, that Winston Churchill plotted the outbreak of WWI and that St. Paul advocated lying about the life and miracles of Jesus in order to spread the faith. They've planned to reveal these hoaxes as such, to warn about the power of disinformation, but they're stymied by both the cleverness of their own lies and by a new threat that sees one of their hoaxes lead to possible nuclear Armageddon. This book is as much didactic essay as novel, filled with preachy talk. Characters are broad but memorable, and there's some brisk action, but the suspense relies too much on forebodings and cliffhangersDno doubt because the text originally appeared as a serial in Time magazine, from November 1999 to June 2000 (it's been slightly revised for this edition). The prose Carr uses is elaborate, near-VictorianDperhaps a holdover from his other novelsDand ill suits a futuristic tale. As readers navigate it, they won't be quite killing time, but they'll be wounding it for sure. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Historical novelist Carr moves from the past to the future in his latest novel. The year is 2023, and narrator Dr. Gideon Wolfe, a noted criminal psychologist, has just been asked to solve the murder of a special-effects man. The victim left behind an encrypted computer disc that revealed the existence of conspiracies at the highest level. Someone out there has been manipulating information to mislead and even terrorize the public. Who are they, and why are they doing this? During the course of his investigation, Wolfe makes some unusual allies who are experts in advanced technology. Perhaps they can shed some light on the matter, before Wolfe's enemies catch up to him. As usual, Carr's well-written prose deftly combines character development and a fast-paced plot. Fans of The Alienist and Angel of Darkness won't be disappointed by this futuristic adventure. Highly recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/00.]ÄLaurel Bliss, Yale Univ. Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

CHAPTER 1 SOMEWHERE IN THE MITUMBA MOUNTAIN RANGE OF CENTRAL AFRICA, SEPTEMBER 2024 We leave at daylight, so I must write quickly. All reports indicate that my pursuers are now very close: the same scouts who for the last two days have reported seeing a phantom airship moving steadily down from the northeast, setting fire to the earth as it goes, now say that they have spotted the vessel near Lake Albert. My host, Chief Dugumbe, has at last given up his insistence that I allow his warriors to help me stand and fight, and instead offers an escort of fifty men to cover my escape. Although I'm grateful, I've told him that so large a group would be too conspicuous. I'll take only my good friend Mutesa, the man who first dragged my exhausted body out of this high jungle, along with two or three others armed with some of the better French and American automatic weapons. We'll make straight for the coast, where I hope to find passage to a place even more remote than these mountains. It seems years since fate cast me among Dugumbe's tribe, though in reality it's been only nine months; but then reality has ceased to have much meaning for me. It was a desire to get that meaning back that originally made me choose this place to hide, this remote, beautiful corner of Africa that has been forever plagued by tribal wars. At the time the brutality of such conflicts seemed to me secondary to the fact that the ancient grievances fueling them had been handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth alone; I thought this a place where I might be at least marginally sure that the human behavior around me was not being manipulated by the unseen hands of those who, through mastery of the wondrous yet sinister technologies of our "information age," have obliterated the line between truth and fiction, between reality and a terrifying world in which one's eyes, ears, and heart can no longer be trusted. There are no newspapers here, no televisions, and above all no computers, which means no damned Internet. Dugumbe forbids it all. His explanation for this stance is simple, though no less profound for its simplicity: information, he insists, is not knowledge. The lessons passed on from one's elders, taught by the wisest of them but recorded only in the mind, these, Dugumbe has always said, represent true knowledge. The media I've mentioned can only divert a man from such wisdom and enslave him to what Dugumbe calls the worst of all devils: confusion. There was a time when I--a man of the West, the possessor of not one but two doctorates--would have laughed at and disdained such beliefs; and in truth, during the time I've been here the laws and folklore of these people have come to trouble me deeply. Yet in a world stuffed full of deliberately warped information, of manufactured "truths" that have ignited conflicts far greater than Dugumbe's tribal struggles, I now find myself clinging to the core of the old king's philosophy even more tightly than he does. There--I've just heard it. Distant but unmistakable: the thunderous rumble that heralds their approach. It'll appear out of the sky soon, that spectral ship; or perhaps it will rise up out of the waters of Lake Albert. And then the burning will begin again, particularly if Dugumbe attempts to forcefully resist the extraordinary brother and sister who command the vessel. Yes, time is running out, and I must write faster--though just what purpose my writing serves is not quite so clear. Is it for the sake of my own sanity, to reassure myself that it all truly happened? Or is it for some larger goal, perhaps the creation of a document that I can feed out over what has become my own devil, the Internet, and thereby fight fire with fire? The latter theory assumes, of course, that someone will believe me. But I can't let such doubts prevent the attempt. Someone must listen, and, even more important, someone must understand . . . For it is the greatest truth of our age: information is not knowledge. Excerpted from Killing Time: A Novel of the Future by Caleb Carr All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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