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Bowl of Heaven: A Novel de Gregory Benford
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Bowl of Heaven: A Novel (edició 2013)

de Gregory Benford (Autor)

Sèrie: Bowl of Heaven (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
3712456,455 (3.12)4
A human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by the discovery of an immense bowl-shaped structure in space that leads to hostile alien encounters and profound revelations about humanity's place in the universe.
Membre:DKoons
Títol:Bowl of Heaven: A Novel
Autors:Gregory Benford (Autor)
Informació:Tor Science Fiction (2013), 448 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Bowl of Heaven de Gregory Benford

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» Mira també 4 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 22 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Just when I was thinking that I had been really missing some Big Dumb Objects in my life... this book comes to save me!

Yay!

It's a riff on Niven's old theme of Ringworld, true, but with a rather huge twist. This is a stir-fry bowl of unimaginable proportions.

No. Actually, it's just a bowl driven by a star. A hemisphere of a Dyson Sphere. With hundreds of thousands of Earth-size landmasses, a locked sunlight schedule, and many, many types of aliens.

Can you say adventure? I can say adventure! Bird aliens, a much bigger cast of aliens compared to Niven's other series, and a particularly interesting reliance on a conscious/unconscious theme.

I'm not going to say that the characters in this book are all that special, but when you're dealing with exploring spacecraft and an exploring STAR, tons of hi-tech, adopted aliens, and people doing what people always seem to do, it's not really meant to be a character study.

It's an adventure with a huge scope.

Just what the doctor ordered. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I've been a longtime fan of Larry Niven and a more recent fan of Gregory Benford, so I was quite excited to find this series. On the down side, this story seemed to start very slowly and was plagued by what appear to be some editing problems in the first half of the first book. Some grammar / spelling issues and some writing that seems to assume knowledge that the reader doesn't have made me feel like the first 50 pages or so were a bit of a slog. Enough that I was thinking of just putting it down. But I couldn't give up on Niven or Benford that easily, so I got to the good.

Once it gets rolling, these books are a compelling read, comparable (intentionally) to Ringworld. There's a lot of the hard Sci Fi elements I like to see from Benford and a lot of the human touches we know Niven for. All in all, this was a very fun series ... after I got through the beginning. ( )
  Mactastik | Sep 4, 2019 |
Don’t buy this book! Or rather, don’t buy this book unless you also buy ‘Shipstar’, the book which follows. ‘Bowl Of Heaven’ is not a novel, it’s half a novel. The story ends in the middle so it isn’t a part one that can be read independently of part two, namely ‘Shipstar’. Quite why they did it this way, I don’t know. The reading public is certainly ready to buy doorstops nowadays, in fact, they seem to like them, whereas buying a book and reading it to the cliff-hanger ending only to find you need another book might be annoying. Luckily, I have ‘Shipstar’ to hand.

So, given the above…buy this book! At least buy it if you’re a fan of good, hard Science Fiction on an epic scale. The most obvious comparison is with Larry Niven’s solo novel ‘Ringworld’ which was similarly concerned with a huge artificial living space. Good writers can make gripping stories from the exploration of these wonders and, with Niven and Benford, we are in the capable hands of two old pros if they’ll forgive the expression.

To the plot, then. On a colonising voyage in ramscoop ship SunSeeker to a distant star system, some crew members are woken from cold storage because the ship has encountered something unusual, namely the Bowl of Heaven of the title. About the size of our entire solar system, it’s an artificial habitat, something like half of a Dyson sphere. At, first they call it Cupworld. Problems with their own ship mean they may starve to death before they reach their destination, so they haven’t much choice but to investigate Cupworld. A team is landed but gets split up and lose each other and are soon on the run from hostile aliens.

The term ‘hard Science-Fiction’ should probably be changed, as it leads to the impression that reading it is hard or hard work. Not so. Writers like Benford and Niven make it accessible to the layman. There’s certainly a lot of science in here as there has to be to explain the workings of an entire world construct. Evolution, physics, engineering, biology and so forth are to be expected. There is also some sociology and quite a bit of psychology explaining how the aliens' minds differ to ours.

Something else that puts people off ‘hard’ Science Fiction, perhaps, is the notion that it is all about science and not about people. Well, any good fiction is about people and that’s the case here. The cast is a mixed bunch of characters, some likeable, some not so much. The point of view changes frequently enough that you get some variety in how you see the adventure but not so frequently that you’re confused.

The main narrators are Cliff, his wife Beth and a high ranking alien named Memor. Showing the alien’s point of view is a masterstroke of storytelling as it lets the reader know things the poor, struggling characters don’t and gives him a better idea of the peril they face, increasing the tension. The aliens are also quite alien and go a long way to fulfilling what classic editor John W. Campbell, Jr. demanded of his writers, to give him an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man. A difficult task as writers inevitably think like men, except the women.

Given that both Gregory Benford and Larry Niven are in their seventies and presumably not sorely in need of funds after successful careers, I wonder why they bother anymore. But I’m glad they did. I also wonder what shaped worlds the genre will come up with next. I’m sure Dyson spheres have been done and Ringworld, and Discworld, and this is Cupworld. What next? Cubeworld? Coneworld? Spiralworld?

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/ ( )
  bigfootmurf | Aug 11, 2019 |
I really enjoyed this book, but it took me far longer than I expected to read it. ( )
  shadrachanki | Jun 8, 2018 |
An interesting premise but not one that delivered on it. I struggled to finish this one as it just did not keep my interest. On the fence on whether to read the follow up to this which is actually the second half of the story... ( )
  ConalO | Apr 23, 2018 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Gregory Benfordautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Niven, Larryautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat

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A human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by the discovery of an immense bowl-shaped structure in space that leads to hostile alien encounters and profound revelations about humanity's place in the universe.

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