Cover image for The fourth circle
The fourth circle
Živković, Zoran.
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Uniform Title:
Četvrti krug. English
Publication Information:
Tallahassee, Fla. : Ministry of Whimsey Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
240 pages ; 24 cm
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At long last, the brilliant first novel from World Fantasy Award winning author, Zoran Zivkovic is being published in English. The Fourth Circle takes the reader on an amazing journey from frescoed medieval monasteries to Buddhist temples to different planets to a paralyzed scientist's bedroom in London to the edge of black hole at the far reaches of the universe to a place not all the dissimilar from 221 B Baker Street. Zivkovic's masterful voice cradles the reader safely from one place to the next and in the end deposits the reader carefully at the singular spot in which all the storylines coincide.

The Ministry of Whimsy edition of The Fourth Circle concludes with an afterword by Zivkovic about the travails of writing his first novel, translating it into English, and then finding a publisher for it. All while war in Zivkovic's native Serbia surrounded him.

"In its rich tapestry of prose and compositional skills, as well as in its imaginative leaps and intellectual sophistication, The Fourth Circle must be considered, so far, as the author's masterpiece, an acclamation that extends well beyond a mere appreciation of Zivkovic's own and singular work."

"Zoran Zivkovic is a subtle, intelligent, wonderfully inventive writer who brings a fresh point of view, an idiosyncratic angle of attack, to everything he produces. He is one of the finest writers currently at work in the 'New Europe.' Read him and celebrate."

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Four great scientists--Archimedes, van Ceulen, Tesla, and Hawking--gather at an ancient Buddhist temple deep in a jungle to meet computer scientist Srinavasa; his sentient computer program Rama; and the latter's child, sired by an ape. Elsewhere, a radio telescope awaits a specific signal, spherical beings go about their lives, the pack travels to see mysterious presences during the month they call Thule, and a medieval artist's assistant embarks on a journey into what he perceives as the circles of Hell. Then Sherlock Holmes receives a mysterious note--a perfect circle--and must join forces with his nemesis Moriarty to close the Fourth Circle. As the prologue, which is also the ending, informs us, Holmes' task is not one of obtaining answers but one of asking new questions and making contact across the varied worlds of the novel. Zivkovic distinguishes the book's discrete narratives stylistically and links its semicircular development back to itself seamlessly, opening the door to speculation about what happens next, which turns out to be a perfectly satisfactory conclusion. --Regina Schroeder Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Time and space are fluid and perspectives are intriguingly alien and off-kilter in this cosmological first novel from Serbian author Zivkovic. Built from multiple intertwined plots fleshed out in short chapters rich with impressionistic images, it attempts the difficult feat of conveying a parallel world through the experiences of characters largely unaware that alternate realities exist. Two principal story lines-one involving a Buddhist techno-whiz who creates a female computer program, the other concerned with a medieval novitiate who witnesses the mystical resurrection of a master whom he believed dead-anchor a narrative that also admits episodes in which Archimedes, Stephen Hawking, Nikola Tesla and other scientific luminaries find ways to slip the bounds of the time-space continuum and inadvertently travel to a common meeting place. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Conan Doyle all make appearances in the final chapters to deduce a dizzying, if talky, rationale for what exactly is going on. Zivkovic does a superb job of communicating the befuddlement, confusion and awe of individual characters as they wrestle with mysteries that exceed the understanding that their time, place and intellectual capacity permits. He also suggests a coherent cosmic blueprint that incorporates the novel's many episodes yet still remains intriguingly beyond full comprehension. Not all the mysteries are laid bare at the novel's somewhat abrupt end, but readers will enjoy the tale's epistemological gymnastics and the interplay of real and imaginary personalities. (Mar.) Forecast: The Ministry of Whimsy imprint is known for its offbeat, experimental, genre-exploding work. Fans of books by Jeff VanderMeer and Forrest Aguirre will find this one up to the same high literary standard. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In a universe known as the Circle, a strange mixture of characters comes together in a cosmic collaboration that results in the closure of the Fourth Circle and the beginning of a new world. Bringing together such disparate figures as Stephen Hawking, Archimedes, Tesla, and Arthur Conan Doyle while telling the tale of a sentient computer program named Rama, Serbian sf author Zvaivkovic crafts a heady amalgam of sparkling prose reminiscent of Samuel Delaney and Stanislaw Lem. Suitable for libraries where literary sf has a readership. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.