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Book Ramblings

Long winded reviews

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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin


Eon - Greg Bear
"Of course, " she said. "It's like touching the square root of space-time. Try to enter the singularity, and you translate yourself through a distance along some spatial coordinate." "You slide along," Farley said. "Right."
I never tried touching the square root of space-time before so I cannot attest to whether it is in any way similar to trying to enter the singularity (which I have also never attempted for some reason). Still, as an avid sci-fi reader I like reading the odd bits of technobabble as long as they do not overwhelm the book to the point of rendering it unreadable. I like how Greg Bear makes that bit of dialog sound as if it makes sense. It’s just cool (fits my conception of cool any way).

Eon is a classic sci-fi book featuring one of the most beloved tropes of the genre, the Big Dumb Object. A gigantic alien construct that shows up in the vicinity of our Earth, the origin or purpose of which is unknown. It is interesting to compare Eon to Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama. Clarke’s book is all about the B.D.O. and the group of characters’ exploration and adventures inside of it. Explorations and adventures inside “The Stone” (the name humans give to the gigantic asteroid shaped B.D.O.) are also featured in Eon but they constitute less than half of what this book is about. The fate of Earth and humanity also become involved as the USA claim prior right to manage the exploration and studies of The Stone on account of being the first nation to discover its appearance. This at a time when East-West relations are already precarious, and the Russians fear that the Americans would discover some kind of alien super-weapon to gain global dominance.

Without wishing to go into details of the thrilling sci-fi wonders on offer I will just vaguely mention that nuclear holocaust, time travelling, parallel universes, posthumans and aliens all come into play. Eon is quite well written and the characters are developed to some extent but they never really come alive for me, perhaps there is too much plot and world building to cover to allow room to flesh out the characters. The pacing is a little slow to begin with but gathers momentum to become quite the pager turner by the second half of the book.

Over all Eon is really an ideal book for fans of hard science fiction and those of us looking to escape from our daily drudgery for a while. There are two sequels and a short story which form The Way series. I have not read those yet but Eon stands very well on its own as there is no cliff hanger to speak of. Definitely worth the time.