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Literature / The Chronoliths

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The Chronoliths is a Sci-Fi novel by American-Canadian author Robert Charles Wilson. It revolves around the sudden appearance of destructive and indestructible monuments around the world, with inscriptions that talk about military victories of someone named Kuin... dated twenty years in the future.

The main characters are Scott Warden, a programmer whose life is ripped apart by events of the Chronolith appearances, Sulamith "Sue" Chopra, a scientist devoted to study them, Morris Torrance and Hitch Paley, a former criminal and a former FBI agent who aid her, Janice and Kaitlin, respectively ex-wife and daughter of Scott, Adam Mills, the main antagonist, and his mother Ashlee.

This work provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Averted. Most cultural references are made as addressing someone who already knows them.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Ashlee's son Adam, a psychopathic devotee of Kuin who has his mother tortured for information and his stepsister gangraped.
  • Anti-Hero: Hitch, definitely. He's somewhere between a Type IV and a Type V. Scott may well be a Type I. Even Sue, with her delusions, has aspects of this.
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  • Applied Phlebotinum: All the Tau-technology used to create the Chronoliths.
  • The Atoner: Scott spents several chapters doing this.
  • Badass Biker: Adam Mills and his gang of Kuin loyalists.
  • Black Shirt: Adam Mills, Whitman Delahunt, and the rest of the Kuinists.
  • Book Dumb: Adam was a failure in school, but as Ashlee points out, it takes a lot of brains to survive on the streets for as long as he has. Hitch is also an example.
  • Break the Cutie: If something can go wrong and hurt Kaitlin, it will.
    • But at the end it all gets better, of course.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Inflicted by Adam on Hitch, Ashlee, and Kait.
  • Cult: There really is no better way to describe the Kuinists. They're a religious cult who believe that Kuin will reward them upon his actual appearance.
  • Dark Messiah: Kuin grows into this, with an entire quasi-religious cult based around his prophesied appearance.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Played straight with Kuin. And to the very ultimate extreme
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  • The Heavy: Adam, who moves the storyline, is the only disciple of Kuin to actually have a face and may in fact be Kuin himself.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Supergenius Ray has a crush on the lesbian (and aromantic) Sue, largely because she is one of the few people who can understand his theories.
  • Ivy League For Every One: Scott and Janice met while attending to Cornell. Ray comes from MIT.
  • Love Martyr: Ray to Sue (for the entire book), Ashlee to Adam (until the end).
  • Made of Iron: Adam manages to survive the arrival of two Chronoliths and the destruction of one without protection.
    • Scotty and Sue did that and also were at the arrival of the Chronolith in Jerusalem, but most of the time they were inside bunkers.


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