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5.0 out of 5 starsquite extraordinary - a superlative pice of writing and imagination
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2019
I join with others in their praise of this book. Its easily the best piece of science fiction I have read in many years and is Hugo awardable. The characters come alive, their deaths are drawn with compassion and acknowledge the immense dangers of space flight and the exploration of our solar system. The narrative is gripping and full of excitement, suspense and drama. I love the mix of science and fiction - this is true science fiction at its best. I was sad to have finished this book knowing that I would have to wait long to find another that even approaches it in quality. The writing is way above what one usually expects, totally captivating and appropriate for describing the magnificence of the universe. The endnotes fleshed out the narrative beautifully and enhanced the overall experience. Few novels can deliver the experience that awaits the new reader here. Read it !!!!
3.0 out of 5 starsAudacious, Interesting Plot but...
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2019
The concept is fantastic—a privately funded manned mission to Saturn with the mission on a compressed timeline. Indeed, the plot is intriguing and engaging. The author’s writing, not so much.
The author’s handling of describing scenery, objects, and action is subpar, in fact it was often confusing. The characters felt like they were about 60% fleshed out. I had only a passing idea what the interior of the spaceship was like. This is the setting for about two-thirds of the book and I couldn’t form a mental picture of it, because the author didn’t do a good job describing it. Yes, there are five levels. There’s an observation deck, a common area for meals, crew quarter’s deck, navigation, etc. Yes, each crew member’s quarters are pie shaped and about 10 feet deep by 8 feet wide. But what is inside their rooms? What is on the observation deck, besides a big window and a telescope?
Same problem when describing Saturn, the moons of Saturn, the rings of Saturn, Jupiter, Titan, etc. Either I had only a sketchy idea of what the characters were seeing or the description was so detailed the author lost me with minutiae.
The author has a habit of putting footnotes at the end of the chapters sometimes containing factual information on the mission parameters and sometimes containing character’s dialogue to advance ideas presented in the text. At first these were interesting, but after a while I tired of them as they devolved into soap box lectures, or speculation about things that might happen in the “real” world. Just stick to the story, please. (Author even had a warning at the beginning of the book that some readers might not like this format.) But I kept on reading because I wanted to see what would happen. The plot rules this book.
The blurb says readers that liked The Martian, 2001, A Space Odyssey, Apollo 13, and Interstellar would like this book. This is true. So, if you liked these other stories you will like this one. However, those other stories were executed far better than Oceanworlds.
I would give the concept and the plot 5 stars. I would give the characterization, descriptions, and execution of the story 3 stars. Overall, I would give this book a rating of 3.5 if I could, but since Amazon won’t let me, it ends up being a 3.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent Sci-Fi for the universal reader
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2019
Beautifully written, thrilling and captivating story. The intertwined and uncomplicated physics throughout the book are a delight and emphasize the author’s deep research in constructing an adventure that is technically feasible today. Excellent Sci-Fi made accessible to the universal reader, with the broader purpose of questioning whether we, as a species, have enough ambition to seek answers to our most fundamental questions. A herculean and successful effort by the author. Strongly recommend!
Honestly, I would give this book a 10 star rating if I could. This is by far the best science based fiction I have ever read, and second place would be held by The Martian. Do yourself a favor and read this book right away. It is not only a fascinating look into space exploration, but it's a well told story with very interesting and well spoken characters that provide a certain appeal that is rarely encountered in a sci-fi novel. Absolutely excellent!
I found myself taking every available minute to read some of this book. The story is gripping. The characters are compelling. And we're getting closer by the day to it not being impossible. At first I was irritated by the after chapter "explanation" chapters... But I soon grew to enjoy them. And having the option to skip them without losing the thread of the story was very nice. All in all... I'd recommend this book to anyone that likes a good space opera. But... even if you don't do space opera... keep in mind that this is something that's based on fact. The spaceship in the story is being built as I write this review. We'll get to live the history of watching humanity's first true spaceship be tested and succeed or fail. The heady days of Apollo making history are back.
A tour de force of scientific, and creative wit. One part adventure novel, one part science, one part psychological thriller, Landau skillfully merges disciplines, genres, and themes into an abundantly-refreshing tale of intellectual prowess.
Here, you’ll encounter the boldness of Musk, the bravado of Hemingway, and the poignancy of Sagan, all wrapped together into a delightful bundle. I found myself contemplating the fundamental nature of what it means to be human, and above all else, filled with hope and excitement for the future of our species and the scale of our discoveries.
The term ‘masterpiece' gets too-easily thrown around these days, but for Oceanworlds, the phrase somehow feels insufficient. Simply put, this was the most refreshing piece I’ve read in years, and what I’m confident will be a coming out party for an exceptionally-promising new writer.
5.0 out of 5 starsA must-read for the intellectually curious
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2019
This book was recommended to me by a friend who knows the author, as "a crazy-ambitious novel." It delivers in a big way. Some people will no doubt comment about the actual novel – a multi-layered, you-won't-know-how-to-stop read – but I was also intrigued by the Appendix, which describes the principal requirements for a manned mission to Saturn. In a nutshell, if SpaceX develops Super Heavy / Starship, this could be done the next decade. How stunning that would be!
4.0 out of 5 starsA good read from a promising author. Good story, characters you empathise with, credible science.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2019
Hard science, I thought, I bet the characters are cardboard and the plot is predictable. Well I was wrong. This author has worked hard to develop a good story with realistic characters supported by credible science. It’s a longer, fuller story than the Martian in that it covers a mission to Saturn from its conception to its ending, whereas The Martian is a ‘how do I get out of this mess’ escape story. I enjoyed it just as much. If you liked The Martian this is well worth a read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 28, 2019
Really good space exploration story using real science-captivating story building current knowledge of the solar system, current technology, and gives a great insight into the science and technology we will be using when we send crewed exploration craft out into the solar system
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2019
As a devotee of ‘credible’ SF this is one of the most thought provoking, well researched and engrossing reads for quite a while. Written with vast knowledge and set in a believable context. Sets a milestone in the genre akin to Clarke and Asimov. The character development was decent, though secondary to the story, which had me reading far too many chapters in one go. Highly recommended.