when i finished, i was disappointed that no one died. then i realised that quite a few people died. but none of it felt important: the only death that seemed significant was the twin's, which was presented as an acension, not loss.
the loss that was presented by the narrator and i felt was abstract. it was the loss of something that could have been, not of something that was. and in the end, all of the bemoaned could-have-beens have become realised.
especially in the twin's death. he is groomed to spearhead this program; he gives himself wholly to understanding the nature of the phenomenon that has imparted this sense of loss to mankind. he literally (yes, i mean literally) gives himself to the phenomenon. he understands and replicates his understanding. he dies--not as one afraid or full of loss or regret, but as one who is fulfilled.
the only significant death to the reader isn't even portrayed as tragic or heroic; simply a logical end.
it read like a less upbeat and less involved neal stephenson novel. for that, i'd rather just read stephenson. the only "excuse" i'd accept for the novel's personally unsatisfying presentation is that it is told from the pov of a fourth, which would improve it, but not redeem it.
i fucking fucking loved the sf aspects (i.e. the spin, "martians", biotech, the hypotheticals), but wasn't over the moon about the story itself. to be redundant, it was exciting in geeky ways a la stephenson, but smacked of an atwood dystopia, though gave me the satisfaction of neither. to be fair, it was provocative--something that can hardly be said of many things.
i just can't abide "happy" endings. totally lame--though revealing about me, i suppose!