Perhaps it wasn't from our time, perhaps it wasn't even from our universe, but the arrival of the 300-kilometer long stone was the answer to humanity's desperate plea to end the threat of nuclear war. Inside the deep recesses of the stone lies Thistledown: the remnants of a human society, versed in English, Russian and Chinese. The artifacts of this familiar people foretell a great Death caused by the ravages of war, but the government and scientists are unable to decide how to use this knowledge. Deeper still within the stone is the Way. For some the Way means salvation from death, for others it is a parallel world where loved ones live again. But, unlike Thistledown, the Way is not entirely dead, and the inhabitants hold the knowledge of a present war, over a million miles away, using weapons far more deadly than any that mankind has ever conceived.
©1985 Greg Bear (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I started reading this as a teenager, and rejoiced when I found it on Audible.
Although it is a very linear story, the ideas were compelling.One weakness of the story is that it felt a little like a screenplay - though it would make a fabulous movie/tv mini-series.
Again, another book where i am eagerly awaiting to find the time to read the sequel.
It's a "great big object" plot which is so cliché today, borrowed from the mind of Arthur C. Clark who did it first with Rendesvous with Rama, but it's such a great idea and so much fun that I didn't care! I love asteroids and stories about them! But I do wish that Bear had fleshed out the characters and environments better. I had a hard time rendering the scenes in my mind before Bear just charged ahead. Even after a second time, I still don't quite know what each of the six areas really look like or what Thistledown city looks like. Bear describes some of the technology but we're left guessing as to what the city actually looks like.
When I realized that the universe in which the narrator exists is NOT our universe! That moment came when Vasquez was testing the value of pi, presumably in "our" universe, to test her multi-meter device, and showed: 3.41592645, and she said "ok". Wow. Because, when I'd read that as a teenager for the first time, I'd assumed it was a typo.
Mon. O. Tone. Easy to get lost listening to this complex story. I like his voice, and it may just be this material which is complex, but I found it hard to see the picture his voice was painting in my mind's eye and had to backtrack quite a bit. A second listening will be needed to really get into the story the way I want to. Reading on my own with the Kindle edition I was able to follow the story much better. I'm not sure if the reader can be blamed for that but there are times when he does go full-on monotone and delivers some really sleepy lines.
World War 3. I read this in 1986 so that part of the story was disturbing. But it's funny to think about that now because the Earth in this story isn't "our" Earth (i.e. Greg Bear's Earth).
Multiple readings/listens are required to fully appreciate this difficult but enjoyable story. It's hard sci-fi of the hardest type, not for casual fans who know nothing about science.
The story is excellent but the narrator takes a long time to get used to hearing. If you can make it past the "4 Beginnings" that start the book you should be able to acclimate to the narrator. This is definitely a case of the story being more intriguing than the storyteller.
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