On September 28th, a geologist working in Death Valley finds a mysterious new cinder cone in very well-mapped area. On October 1, the government of Australia announces the discovery of an enormous granite mountain. Like the cinder cone, it wasn't there six months ago.
Something is happening to planet Earth, and the truth is too terrifying to contemplate.
©1987 Greg Bear (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Thank you audible. I have been waiting years for the audible version of this novel, and am not disappointed. In my opnion this is Bear's best work. A perfect balance of science and drama, with very compelling characters. It builds slowly but brilliantly to its inevitable, terrifying, and heart breaking climax. Though it is bleak in some ways, and frightening, there is the ever present flicker of hope throughout. It is thoughtful, intelligent and haunting... A science fiction classic.
I would absolutely recommend this book. Greg Bear does the best job of bringing hard science into speculative fiction of anyone I know. The story never subsumes the science, nor the science the story. VERY satisfying to the head and the heart.
The last third of the book is loaded with stuff that would not have changed the story at all if it hadn't been there. Sorry, Greg. If it hadn't been for Stephen's excellent reading, I wouldn't have stuck with it.
I wonder if this book could have gotten published these days. Every story now seems so addicted to "it all works out in the end" that true tragedy isn't really dealt with. I really liked the fact that Greg Bear acknowledged that sometimes the worst case happens. He has a silver lining, all right, but it doesn't eclipse the catastrophe of the event.
Honestly, the last third of the novel was full of things that covered in 20 pages what could have been covered in one. Perhaps when one is Greg Bear, editors are (or were) reluctant to intervene. In any event, one of the advantages of having a good narrator is that his energy can carry you through the slow spots. And I really appreciate that, because the last pages of the story were really worth getting to. I would certainly buy another Greg Bear book, as I've done in the past, and will certainly look for anything narrated by Stephen Bel Davies. Hurrah and thanks to you both. A great yarn.
I might give Greg Bear another shot someday, but I would definitely not pay for it. Stephen Bel Davies did a decent enough job.
He could've cut out the tons of superfluous point-of-view characters that were only there to fluff things out, and make the story seem more widespread. They rarely added anything to the story, and their undeserved melodrama just dragged things out and muddled things. "Oh look, here's another person that has no idea about what is going on, and is struggling with their emotions."
The first two acts of the book are a complete waste of time. Incomprehensible aliens mess with humanity's heads for no reason, while the central protagonists heads up a presidential task force that travels all over the world, discovering absolutely nothing.
There are perhaps two interesting ideas in the book, buried under acres of contrived angst. There is no story arc. No character development. Some decent speculation on how one can blow up the earth, and what that might look like. And hours of boredom.
The one where nothing happened, and people were angsty and uncertain about it. Then something semi interesting popped up, and the story suddenly cutaway to another boring character before you could be entertained.
Disappointment. I thought Bear would be better.
Save yourself the trouble and read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia instead. You'll get just as much out of it with out wasting hours of your life.
Greg Bear, yes. Stephen Davies, NOOO.
It was difficult to distinguish between characters and their personalities when he was narrating.
I actually purchased the hardcopy of the book and read it because I very much disliked the narration.
The narrator is really engaging; he completely brings the story alive. With most books it takes me a little while to get into the story, and this one was no different. But after about 30 minutes or so I was hooked. Very entertaining.
Whiskey and Gunpowder
People who believe that Aliens will arrive speaking English. I'm not one of them.
People of faith are automatically crazy. As already mentioned Aliens arrive speaking English.
disappoinment amd annoyance, if I had known what it was really about I could have avoided wasting my money.
"Slow but good"
It's a slightly passable storyline, but way too slow moving. the end was kind of predictabe, but too many loose ends.
"Dont buy it it doesn't add anything to story"
Ugh what rubbish Greg Bear at his worse. Did i really waste my time listening to this self centred driveal. By the end i was hoping all of them had died or would die
"Slow, dull, wordy and painfully long"
I bought this because I was intrigued by the premise and love a good sci-fi story. However, by the end of the 19+ hours, I had lost the will to live and just wanted it to be over. Here are some reasons why:
1. there is far too much description about everything - the scenery, the science, the characters' inner thoughts - all of this just slows down the action. There were entire sequences were nothing much happened and, half way through the second part, the story stopped to allow the characters to have long moments of introspection about the meaning of life, death etc. For what seemed like hours (and it probably was) - nothing much happened. In fact, I ended up fast forwarding the book by 30 seconds at a time to see when the story would pick up again. I was totally bored and frustrated by this stage
2. there are so many characters that it was difficult to keep track of them all (especially on audio). This also resulted in a huge amount of 'he said, she said, he said, she said' which was distracting. The number of characters also made it difficult to know who was the hero. I presume this was Arthur since he was in the story the longest, but he wasn't all that relatable and I found it hard to warm to him. In fact, I didn't really care at the end what happened to him - which is never a good sign.
It wasn't all bad - the idea is good, reasonably original and raises some interesting questions. The narration by Stephen Bel Davies is excellent - his accents were superb and he brought the different characters to life. The ending did not disappoint.
If you like your books full of inner thoughts, descriptive sequences and philosophical debate then you might enjoy this. I prefer books to have strong characters and a good brisk pace that keep me hooked to the very end. The only reason I managed to finish listening to this was out of curiosity to find out what happened in the end, not because I cared. I’m not sure this was the best use of 19 hrs of my life.
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