The Chronoliths

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The Chronoliths
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
AuthorRobert Charles Wilson
Country Canada
GenreScience fiction novel
PublisherTor Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
813/.54 21
LC ClassPR9199.3.W4987 C48 2001

The Chronoliths is a 2001 science fiction novel by Robert Charles Wilson. It was nominated for the 2002 Hugo Award for Best Novel and tied for the 2002 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

Software designer Scott Warden is living with his family in early twenty-first century Thailand after his latest contract has ended. He and his friend Hitch Paley are among the first to find an enormous monolith which appears out of nowhere in the jungle. On closer examination, it is found to be a monument made of a mysterious, indestructible substance. It bears an inscription commemorating a military victory by someone named "Kuin", presumably an Asian warlord—twenty years in the future.

Over the next twenty years, increasingly grand monuments to Kuin continue to appear—first in Asia, then in much of the rest of the world. Pro-Kuin and anti-Kuin political movements spring up, leading to the rise of economic problems, fatalistic cults, and open war.

Scott has become entangled with his former teacher and mentor Sue Chopra, a scientist who has assembled a team of fellow researchers to investigate the chronoliths and learn to predict their appearances. With Sue's team, Scott witnesses a new chronolith that appears in Jerusalem.

Kaitlin, his daughter, becomes caught up in the hysteria and joins a pro-Kuin youth cult; while trying to find her, Scott meets Ashlee, a single mother whose son Adam Mills joined the same cult. This leads to Scott and his companions being on hand to witness yet another chronolith appearance in Mexico.

Sue Chopra comes to believe that Kuin has made the chronoliths in order to inspire fear and defeatism, making the future victories inevitable by gaining support ahead of time. In an effort to fight Kuin's growing influence, Scott, Sue Chopra, and her team plan to destroy the first chronolith predicted to appear in the United States.

The chronolith self-destructs; apparently sabotaged by a maker who exceeded the limits of the technology.

A militant faction, now led by Adam Mills, attacks their base of operations, takes Chopra hostage, and menaces Scott's family.

Scott lives to see the collapse of the Kuinist movement and a scientific renaissance sparked by Chopra's chronolith research.


  1. ^ "2002 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-29.

Publication history[edit]

External links[edit]