• The Ophiuchi Hotline

  • By: John Varley
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • 3.7 out of 5 stars (224 ratings)

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The Ophiuchi Hotline

By: John Varley
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
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Publisher's Summary

The invaders came in 2050...they did not kill anyone outright. They said they came on behalf of the intelligent species of Earth - dolphins and whales. The invaders quietly destroyed every evidence of technology, then peacefully departed, leaving behind plowed ground and sprouting seeds. In the next two years, 10 billion humans starved to death.

The remnants of humanity that survived relocated to the moon and other planets. But they are not alone in their struggle - someone or something, somewhere deep in space, is sending them advanced scientific data via the Ophiuchi Hotline. And by the 25th century, the technological gifts from the hotline - especially its biological and medical solutions - have created a world unlike any ever known or imagined.

©1977 John Varley (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Varley's tight, clean writing, full of wit and good humor, evokes despair, joy, anger, and delight. His Luna is packed with wild inventions, intriguing characters, and stunning scenery." (Publishers Weekly)
"It is fast and complex, and it glitters most impressively." (Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels)
"This is a novel rich in societies, settings, and technological wizardry. It's a tough-minded, yet a playful book." (Ian Watson)

What listeners say about The Ophiuchi Hotline

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Capstone of the 8-Worlds

An SF classic where Varley deftly combines cloning and memory recording to give a sort of pseudo-immortality to its practitioners. It is a shame that this is the only story from John Varley's 8-Worlds series presently available on Audible. This should be read last. In the earlier stories Varley explores the societal impact of cloning, changing and memory recording through engaging characters and memorable events.

If this sparks your interest but you find yourself at a loss on some of the issues dealt with in THE OPHIUCHI HOTLINE, go back and read (yes like pick up a book with paper and ink) some of his earlier short stories. For starters try these stories that include Varley's suite of technologies that change human society:

"Options"
"Picnic on Nearside"
"The Phantom of Kansas"
"Lollipop and the Tar Baby"
"Beatnik Bayou"
"Equinoctial"

Gabra Zackman reads THE OPHIUCHI HOTLINE well. She gets the sarcastic tone of Lilo's voice in her own head just right.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My Favorite Science Fiction Author

I have read a number of John Varley's books and have really enjoyed all of them. This was the first audio version of one of his books that I have listened to and it is as fascinating as his other books. The Ophiuchi Hotline is extraordinarily imaginative and mind expanding - gender is not a constant, you may not be the only version of yourself and aliens are really interesting. The story has wonderful and surpizing things happening at every turn and John Varley gets you inside the skin and intimate with the characters, most of whom are highly likeable, all of whom kindle your interest. This also seems to be an Audible production - well done Audible and please give us more John Varley.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

pointless, nothing like the publisher's summary

I don't know what book the publisher's summary was written for, but I don't think it's this one. My husband & I listened for as long as we could stand the boredom of it during a long drive, and never even got close to anything in the plot that the publisher describes. Can't imagine ever being bored enough with real life to want to try to listen to this long enough to finish it.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very good Sci-Fi

This book flowed really well and was easy to follow for something with such a complex plot that follows a single character in multiple settings and times. It isn't about the invasion of Earth by aliens, but what happens long after that invasion from the perspective of a woman who has several possible roles in the salvation of various parts of humanity. Most of the book takes place on various planets in our solar system and outer space, and it is very imaginatively described without too much detail or invention of unneeded new words that some authors have a tendency towards in this genre. It was fun to listen to, though the narrator is not my favorite. She often speaks statements with an inflection that makes them sound like questions and tries too hard on male voices, but I got used to it after a while and was glad I'd chosen to listen.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Listened for nearly half an hour

...and couldn't take any more. The narrator seems to being taking inspiration from the rhythms and intonations of Laurie Anderson's performance-art spoken songs --- pitch rising in abnormal places for no linguistic reason. Great when it's performance art: irritating and overbearing when imposed on a novel. Any other book by this narrator is an automatic "No" for me.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not one for the kids

Interesting story, but seems rushed at the end. Characters developed nicely, then it just ends.

Lots of sex in the story. So not one for listening to in the car with younger kids.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Engrossing and complex

Though the publisher's summary suggests that this book is about aliens, the true focus is on humans—specifically, the trans-humans who have cloned themselves and altered DNA for their own purposes, some of which are nefarious. (possible spoilers ahead) The main character, Lilo, is cloned repeatedly and against her will, so that she is forced to exist in many places at once. Time travel is also involved, so things do get very complex. But I found myself rooting for Lilo, and caring about what what happened to her.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I loved it

This was as good as the Titian series. It continues with the post invasion world line.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Ok, good story, but narration is lacking.

Ok story in Varley's eight worlds universe. The ending left me less than impressed, but the narration seemed really lifeless. Reminded me more of the robonarration I get on my kindle. Steel Beach is a better story set in this universe, but sadly not produced yet.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

What a romp of a story!

I have read this book over and over for about the last 20 years, and have enjoyed it each and every time. So imagine my delight when I discovered that Audible had it in an unabridged version. And what a version! I found the narrator's version of the story as delightful as my own silent reading of it. As to the story itself, I loved the believability of the characters and the descriptions of the various planetary environments. I felt myself living in each of these environments as the story about it was told. I really hated to have the story end. This book is for those who don't mind reading a novel in which all sorts of "improbable" things such as memory recordings, living on airless asteroids, searching for small black holes to sell, etc. seem quite achievable and believable. In other words, for those who are not literal-minded and want to stretch their minds and imaginations by reading something that is just plain FUN.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 08-30-11

Ahead of it's time.

It's a bit of a cliché when dealing with Sci-fi to say it was ahead of it's time, but this truly was. Dealing with the implications of multi-personalities and re-birthing of clones it deals with the subject in a very inventive and adventurous way. This subject has been dealt with since this by the likes of Peter F Hamilton in his Pandora's Star but not in this much detail or with such aplomb.

I have a bit of a soft spot for 70's sci-fi, it's a little bit weird, a little bit hippy-ish in places and this book is very much of that genre. A good adventure with a good, strong thought provoking theme and well worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful