When the Agency discovered that Dr. Hellstrom's Project 40 was a cover for a secret laboratory, a special team of agents was immediately dispatched to discover its true purpose and its weaknesses - it could not be allowed to continue. What they discovered was a nightmare more horrific and hideous than even their paranoid government minds could devise.
First published in Galaxy magazine in 1973 as "Project 40", Frank Herbert's vivid imagination and brilliant view of nature and ecology have never been more evident than in this classic of science fiction.
©1973 Herbert Properties LLC; (P)2008 Tantor
"A speculative intellect with few rivals in modern SF." (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction)
"Brick never ceases to up the ante and terrify his audience." (Publishers Weekly)
I first read Helstrom's Hive in college in the early 70s. I re-read it a number of times over the years until I lost track of my copy. I was delighted to find it in the new audio releases.
Herbert tells a fascininating and provocative story about governemnt out of control in conflict with a new societal order. Throughout the fast paced story you are constantly pulled from one end of the story spectrum to the other, not sure who you want to prevail. Both groups are admirable and repellant. Beyond that are the disturbing implications for humanity if Helstrom's society could actually work.
I was a little worried that almost 40 years would make the story jarringly out of date, but I found that it still works well. Just as I re-read the original over the years, I expect to listen to this audio file again and again.
Like other Herbert books I was a bit confused for the first hour or so. I rated this book a five because toward the last few hours of the book I found myself looking for times to listen more of the story beyond my normal work commute listen. Overall an excellent story with great imagination. The book seems to just stop with about as loose ended ending as one could come up with. Herbert was either looking to write another book or was rushed to publish the book. I really wish it would have ended differently.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
The narration is well done, though it seems the narrator sometimes gets a bit more, err, "excited" than it would seem the scene warranted. There are a lot of jumps between "scenes" (i.e. from the farm to the agency to the history of the queen) that don't seem to have enough of a pause between them - you'll be listening to events at the farmhouse then in the next breath it'll be a snippet from the history.
The first quarter of the novel has a lot of characters to keep track of which takes a bit more concentration than some novels might. In fact, a lot of the characters aren't fleshed out anyway so I'm not sure why they're even in there...
The story itself is almost good... it's definitely worth a 3 but certainly not a 4. Part of the problem with the story is that we aren't led to care about any of the characters - they are all rather plastic. Female characters are all cardboard cutouts and exactly what you'd expect from 1970s science fiction (but, to be fair, the males are also cardboard cutouts). And, even though the narrator is good enough so we know which character is "acting" at any given point, it doesn't really matter which one it is because for the most part they all seem to be interchangeable.
There are better scifi books from the 70s here on Audible (i.e. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang) so unless you can get this for less than the cost of a credit, or are looking specifically to read classic scifi, I wouldn't buy it.
Struggling between which side I most empathized with, then finally embracing one faction over the other. I won't disclose which side I took as I wouldn't want to jade your own experience. I also think which side one takes is up to the dispositions of the reader and was implicitly intentional.
The problem for me is it took about half of the audiobook to get me really interested. It was only faith in Frank Herbert's other great books that kept me going that long, usually I would have given up. At that half way point, it really was interesting and I admit I didn't want it to end. It definitely had some really original ideas and was thought provoking. Yet as mentioned, the fact that half the book was so slow was the reason it didn't get 5 stars. That and every other book I've read by Herbert (almost all, only the Whipping Star left) have been excellent (save some of some of the slower later Dune series books. The performance got dull. This narrator is generally good. However he has done one too many narrations for Frank Herbert's books and doing almost all of them just gets old. The narrator has done much better and shown a much better diversity of voices in other books. I wonder if Mr. Brick also just got rather bored with the book through the first half and lost his passion that is clear in his other narrations. Still if you are a Herbert fan, or a scifi fan in general, there is no reason to miss this book and its ideas so long as you are prepared to trudge through the first half of the book relatively unimpressed. The later half makes does make it worth while.
A lot of books leave you hanging and waiting for the sequel but this one seemed to end right in the middle of the action. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the sequel.
I rarely find a download that I can't finish. The narrator is ok, and probably the novel would be great as a novella. The agency stuff as mentioned by others is just too boring to make it through.
I was a little wary that this book would be dated, but there was suprisingly little to give away the fact it is set in the early seventies (on earth), you could pretty much forget that side of it. Has everything you would expect if you liked Dune series, breeding programmes, sign languages etc etc. A much more fast paced story than anything I heard from Herberts stuff which I liked. Recommend it.
"Frank Herbert's best book - brilliantly read"
Hellstrom's Hive is a brilliant story. I think it is Frank Herbert's best book. Scott Brick reads it very well and manages to convey all the nuances of the text. Highly recommended.
"the sound of inevitability..."
I've read most of Frank Herbert's work, and this was a good find. The usual themes of power, ecology and surprising twists are all found here. Most importantly, I liked the narrator. He sounds a little like Agent Smith from the Matrix (Hugo Weaving). This works as Herbert's narrator and characters are mature, hard-edged and cynical. If you like Dune, and the various tales of Jorj X. McKie etc, you'll like this. Recommended ****
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