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$7.19 $2.92 list($7.99)
101. Ender's Shadow (Ender)
$11.16 $9.34 list($13.95)
102. Just a Couple of Days
$11.53 $10.00 list($16.95)
103. Light and Dark (Star Wars: Clone
$16.47 list($24.95)
104. Scattered Suns (The Saga of Seven
$10.17 $9.75 list($14.95)
105. The Dharma of Star Wars
$12.89 $12.32 list($18.95)
106. The Illuminatus! Trilogy : The
$17.13 $4.84 list($25.95)
107. Ilium (Simmons, Dan)
$7.19 $5.43 list($7.99)
108. Singularity Sky
$6.29 $4.00 list($6.99)
109. Starship Troopers
$13.59 $13.34 list($19.99)
110. SW Miniatures Rebel Storm Starter
$16.50 list($25.00)
111. Against the Tide (The Council
$16.47 $15.09 list($24.95)
112. Days Of Infamy
list($19.95)
113. The Art of Star Wars: Episode
$6.29 $4.45 list($6.99)
114. Good Omens
$17.13 $14.10 list($25.95)
115. Jedi Trial (Star Wars: Clone Wars
$16.47 $15.00 list($24.95)
116. Mercury : Planet Novel #4 (The
$3.49 $0.84 list($1.50)
117. Flatland : A Romance of Many Dimensions
$4.95 $1.57
118. The War of the Worlds (Bantam
$11.16 $8.90 list($13.95)
119. Anthem
$16.47 $2.45 list($24.95)
120. Marque and Reprisal

101. Ender's Shadow (Ender)
by Orson Scott Card
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812575717
Catlog: Book (2000-12-15)
Publisher: Tor Books
Sales Rank: 4927
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Orson Scott Card brings us back to the very beginning of his brilliant Ender Quartet, with a novel that allows us to reenter that world anew.

With all the power of his original creation, Card has created a parallel volume to Ender's Game, a book that expands and compliments the first, enhancing its power, illuminating its events and its powerful conclusion.

The human race is at War with the "Buggers", an insect-like alien race. The first battles went badly, and now as Earth prepares to defend itself against the imminent threat of total destruction at the hands of an inscrutable alien enemy, all focus is on the development and training of military geniuses who can fight such a war, and win.

The long distances of interstellar space have given hope to the defenders of Earth--they have time to train these future commanders up from childhood, forging then into an irresisible force in the high orbital facility called the Battle School.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School; he was just the best of the best. In this new book, card tells the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean--the one who became Ender's right hand, part of his team, in the final battle against the Buggers.

Bean's past was a battle just to survive. He first appeared on the streets of Rotterdam, a tiny child with a mind leagues beyond anyone else's. He knew he could not survive through strength; he used his tactical genius to gain acceptance into a children's gang, and then to help make that gang a template for success for all the others. He civilized them, and lived to grow older.

Bean's desperate struggle to live, and his success, brought him to the attention of the Battle School's recruiters, those people scouring the planet for leaders, tacticians, and generals to save Earth from the threat of alien invasion. Bean was sent into orbit, to the Battle School. And there he met Ender....
... Read more

Reviews (552)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book, but Ender isn't as great as we thought
One thing we learn is that Bean isn't as human as the rest of us. That is bad part about his character, we can't relate enought to him. Ender was the bright child in us all, I know most of my class (I read it in 9th grade GT English) felt like they were Ender. I didn't get as Emotionally wrapped up in Bean.

Bean accomplishments felt like they were taking away from the original book. Everything he did at battle school made Ender less brilliant and, at times, even more miserable. I went back and read Ender's Game to see what my impression were from both sides of the story.

The book is written extremely well though. Card creates an interesting look into the other countries of the world. I love the Sister in her endearing efforts to save Bean. Their dialogue made the book engaging (as well as her dialogue with the Colonel). Writing from her perspective seem better that that of the rest of the ender series (Xeno, Mind, etc). I feel like I can see Card's writing improving.

The book really was well written, but there is a lack of emotional connection.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Shadow of "Ender's Game"
I was really looking forward to this novel. After all, Ender's Game was so good, and Card failed to follow up with fabulous sequels. So, in a sense, this book was like a second chance for me to enjoy the universe Card created 10 years ago. Ender's Shadow is a VERY good book. However, it does take a while to get into. Not much happens in the first third, and frankly Bean's life before Battle School does not make for page-turning entertainment. Once Bean hits space, however, the book begins to take off. I was worried we would be reading exactly the same things we read in Ender's Game, but happily, I discovered that Bean's point of view on events was much different from Ender's. Bean has his own skills and abilities, and Card interweaves them into the story we already know, but in doing so, the story is vastly different. Yes, we know the ending, but because Bean is a different character, the ending is still satisfying. Also, I'm happy to say that Card has set up a sequel with Bean. I just hope he can write an exciting sequel this time, with even more action and adventure than in Ender's Shadow. He's crafty, this Card guy. He's created a new chance to explore Ender's universe. I just hope his next book isn't Speaker for the Dead, part 2.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I enjoyed this book, though I'm fairly particular about what science fiction I will read. If you liked Ender's Game, I suspect you'll like this book too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pick up a copy of ENDER'S SHADOW.
Growing up is never easy for anybody, but it would be that much tougher if you were living on the streets as a child, begging for food, and fighting with ruthless street gangs who would beat the living daylights out of you for a scrap of that food. Well, that's exactly how nine-year-old Poke and her crew are living on the streets of Rotterdam.

One day Poke meets a four-year-old boy who has learned to survive on the streets by using his brains. He gives her advice on how to get a bully to keep her crew safe, so Poke names him Bean and lets him into her crew. She also finds a twelve-year-old bully named Achilles to protect her crew and help them find more food. Achilles does his job well and manages to get them into a charity kitchen every day. Helga Braun, the owner of the charity kitchen, calls Sister Carlotta, a recruiter for the International Fleet's battle school for children, and tells her about Poke's family of kids. But tragedy strikes, when Achilles turns on Poke and kills her, so Sister Carlotta ends up taking Bean into her home and prepares him for battle school.

Life is very different in battle school --- it's up in space, and there is always food and shelter. Bean is so smart and learns so quickly he is soon promoted to higher and higher levels until he finally reaches Command School under the leadership of Ender. As they prepare for war with the Buggers, Bean learns many surprising secrets about himself including his real name, and that he has a twin brother. Pick up a copy of ENDER'S SHADOW to find out if Bean and his army win the battle against the Buggers!

--- Reviewed by Ashley

5-0 out of 5 stars Dipping into the same well twice works like a charm.
Although the reviews now indicate how I feel about the book. But at first many probably doubted that card could essentially tell the same story twice. However, the story while similar to Ender's Game, does a brilliant job in its own right in becoming a separate book from it's original predecessor. The storyline of Bean from his struggles on the streets of Rotterdam to his acceptance and difficulties in Battle School , is extremely compelling. If you loved Ender's Game, you might like Ender's Shadow even more. What makes it unique is the fact that not only does it tell some of the events but besides the plot of the Bugger War (Called Formics in Ender's Shadow) and Bean's original struggle to stay alive, is the subplot of his origins. Without giving too much away (POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD), Bean is not a normal child in any sense of the word normal. The source of Bean's intelligence is gradually unraveled throughout the book by the International Fleet and Sister Carlotta (Bean's mentor and protector during his time on Earth before Battle School). I found this subplot to perhaps be the most exciting of all. It gave the original Ender's Game a new dimension to look at. Ender's Shadow not only gives the reader some of the events that the reader read about in Ender's Game but fills in alot of the gaps as well that are told from the standpoint of the people on the "other" side of the equation.

Bottom line is if you haven't gotten this book yet, you are missing out on all the magic that made Ender's Game great and Ender's Shadow even better. Pick it up, you won't regret it! ... Read more


102. Just a Couple of Days
by Tony Vigorito
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0970141947
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Bast Books
Sales Rank: 5765
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

You are cordially invited to the party at the end of time...

When a graffiti artist tags a local bridge with the enigmatic phrase, "just a couple of days," an entire town is left wondering "till what?"Not least of all is Dr. Flake Fountain, who suddenly finds himself embroiled in a top secret plot to develop the ultimate biological weapon.Along the way to a climax of madness and mirth, the hapless Flake must figure out how to save the world--not to mention his own soul--and he has just a couple of days left.

Fast becoming an underground classic, this relentless satire will take you through the eye of a merry-hearted apocalypse and leave you laughing and dancing on the other side. ... Read more

Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars cool cool cool
First of all, this is one of the coolest books I've ever read. A review on the front cover calls it a "Dr. Strangelove for the biotech century," but I would also compare it to Cat's Cradle, one of my favorite books, although Just a Couple of Days is a good deal more lighthearted.
Second, it was very difficult to put this book down since the chapters are short. I found myself always wanting to read just one more chapter, until the next thing I knew I had read fifty more pages.
Third, the tangents are fascinating and hilarious. The writing got a little voluptuous at times, but that was one of my favorite things. It was clear that he was enjoying himself.
Finally, the philosophy of language and communication implied by this story left me engrossed in thought for hours. This book is a celebration of life. You'd have to be a jaded cynic to not like it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Original, hilarious, fantastic!
After seeing this reccomendation on Amazon for readers who have enjoyed Tom Robbins, I ransacked all the bookstores I could find to no avail. Finally, i caved and bought the book from Amazon, and it was worth it! Vigorito has achieved something you so rarely find these days: Originality. The way he writes is profound without being pretentious, and clever without seeming academic. The narrator has a tendency to digress, but the digressions are always interesting and never cause confusion in the main storyline. I don't care if you love or hate Tom Robbins (Chuck Palahnuik fans may also really enjoy this book), "Just a Couple of Days" is a must read for anyone who watches the world with amusement and a constant sense of humility. I am ready and waiting for Vigorito's second book!

5-0 out of 5 stars For Chuck Palahniuk fans who are not so pissed off
All I can say is Wow! This book is filled with so many great ideas and points of view that you almost have to read it twice just to start remembering them. The auther has no other books that I am aware of and his one book is published by a company I haven't even heard of but they sure hit the jackpot.

Everyone I have given this book to has loved it and it is one of the only books that I insist on getting back after lending it.

Be forwarned that you may need a good dictionary and a very good vocabulary to handle the writing style.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read
Just a Couple of Days, by Tony Vigorito is reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. It's a very amusing story about the end of the world. I enjoyed it, and I wish I could have given it 5 stars, but there were moments when it didn't shine. That's just my opinion. But still, I recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of humor.

5-0 out of 5 stars One for the bookshelf
The only thing I don't like about this book is that I can't find it in hardcover.

Every so often I come across a book that I want to add to my "permanent" collection. These are typically books that make me think, that allow me to see my life for what it is: an impermanent experience of the eternal divine. Why I keep them I don't know, but I do, and I like them to be hardcover. This one isn't in hardcover, but it's still earned a position on my shelf.

The best thing about this book is that it's not ponderous. Concepts whiz off every page, effortlessly. The outrageous humor, supreme articulation, and mind-bending plot made the pages turn themselves. The vocabulary was occasionally intense, but never unnecessary. I learned a few new words, like hierophantic. Look it up. It's a good one.

Five stars, easy. ... Read more


103. Light and Dark (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Vol. 4)
by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593071957
Catlog: Book (2004-05)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Sales Rank: 12896
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Book Description

The Jedi are taught to use the Force for good; to avail themselves only to the light side. But the dark side can be a dangerous temptation to even the strongest Jedi. Set against the backdrop of the Clone Wars, this novel-length adventure is filled with espionage, betrayal, and amazing lightsaber battles. It all begins with a dangerous undercover assignment that leads to...well, we dare not reveal the shocking ending! A story that is sure to have Star Wars fans talking - and wondering whether the fate of the Jedi lies in the light, or the dark. ... Read more


104. Scattered Suns (The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 4)
by Kevin J. Anderson
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446577170
Catlog: Book (2005-07-18)
Publisher: Aspect
Sales Rank: 12246
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105. The Dharma of Star Wars
by Matthew Bortolin
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0861714970
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Sales Rank: 10799
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Brings together the phenomenon of 'Star Wars with humanity's profound hunger for the spiritual. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars entertaining and wise
I really enjoyed this book. Matthew Bortolin uses the story of Star Wars (across all six movies) to illustrate Buddhist concepts and uses Buddhist concepts to highlight deeper themes in the Star Wars saga. The result makes Star Wars more profound and moving and Buddhism more accessible. Avid fans of Star Wars will appreciate all the detailed references provided by a true fan devoted to the series, while more casual Star Wars viewers will find the movies much more compelling after reading this book. Those new to Buddhism will learn a lot from Bortolin's accessible, human way of presenting these ideas, while those with more familiarity will likely experience new insights from Bortolin's novel approach. It's nice to read something that is funny and entertaining yet also contains real wisdom and insight. I find myself thinking about things mentioned in the book as I'm dealing with various situations in my life. And now I'm really looking forward to seeing Episode 3! ... Read more


106. The Illuminatus! Trilogy : The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan
by Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0440539811
Catlog: Book (1984-01-01)
Publisher: Dell
Sales Rank: 5385
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (209)

5-0 out of 5 stars To be read many times
Illuminatus! is pershaps one of the most wonderful books I have ever read. The combination of occultism, anarchism, and outright wierdness carries the reader through the most bizzare conspiracy theory ever dreamt of. This book will make you laugh, rage, and probably cause you to become a bit paranoid.

The story, or stories, hinge around a search for the truth about the Illuminati, a worldwide conspiracy that has apparently existed for centuries. Wilson complied a great deal of information, as well as tid bits from letters sent to him by crazies when he was working as the letters editor at Playboy magazine. The result is a book that leaves you wondering where fact ends and satire begins. That is, of course, the point. Wilson is out to blow your mind.

Professional cynics, who delight in nay-saying the creativity of others without producing anything of their own as an alternative, will find the book sentimental and a bit silly. For those with truly open minds, however, the Illuminatus Trilogy will be a book to read many times over. There is enough subtlety to keep you as busy as a thorough reading of Finnegan's Wake. The hidden messages and allusions seem to multiply each time you read.

You may even see the Fnords!

5-0 out of 5 stars Think For Yourself, Schmuck!
What this book is not: snooty self-congratulatory exercise in masturbatory obsession over ontology. This book isn't meant to have the literary gravity of Pynchon and company, though it does evince the same sort of ontological pluralism one would hopefully get from a reading of the literary heavyweights in the field.

What this book is: an 800-pages-long trade paperback with a cool image on the cover, written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. Wilson fancies himself as a guerilla ontologist, meaning he tells you a story and sneaks his ontological meaning into it, tweaking your brain while your attention is focused elsewhere.

What this book might be: Metaphysics for the mass of cultural malcontents (like me) - the literary equivalent of an acid trip, pulling your mind through the wringer as you are jerked through space and time in multiple viewpoints ("reality-tunnels"), existing in past, present, and future (is there such a thing as time?).

What this book might also be: incredibly difficult to read if you're not into it.

What this book could do for you: bore you to tears, maybe even annoy you, particularly if you take yourself too seriously, have an ego-complex about your particular take on reality, or are overly wedded to your conceptions of the real.

What it could do for you, 2: The end result, if Wilson succeeds in exposing to you your own limiting reality-tunnel, is a sort of model-agnosticism - an ability to see the world AND the reality tunnel without being wedded to either.

With this newfound awareness, one would be able to use various reality-constructs, as appropriate to any given situation, without imprisoning oneself within any of them.

In essence, Wilson points out that we all see the world through our own lens, and that we need to recognize that fact (opinion?) in order to move beyond the limitations of a singular vantage point.

Presumably we'll still have a preferred lens, but now we'll be able to use more than just that lens, and, knowing that we have choices in the matter, will use and view that preferred lens differently (if i could walk a mile in another man's eyes, they'd probably be really dirty afterwards).

And, lest I forget, the book is filled with sex, drugs, rock and roll, and conspiracies aplenty to always keep you guessing (and entertained), much like life.

Life is hysterically funny. Laugh a little. Wilson laughs a lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a test
This book is scientifically engineered to rewire your brain. It is a fictional walkthrough of Leary's Eight Circuits of consciousness and a living testament to the statement, "If you see the Buddha on the road. Kill him."
If you don't enjoy having someone challenge you mentally, go back to Grisham, and Clancey, this is not the book for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's a good book
This is a hard book to get started on. When I first started reading this book I got a hundred pages into it and set it down for 6 months. I did this two more times. After about 2 years, I was in between jobs and had enough time to devote myself to reading it. Reading this book is like looking at Finnegen's Wake for the first time. It is a good book that needs time, patience and a little understaning. Treat it like a new puppy and you will watch it grow up in front of your eyes. There are many drug and sexual references in it but they are to be taken light heartedly.

1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of my reality
This has to be one of the worst books that I have ever read, or, at least according to the number of better reviews posted, I just don't get IT, whatever IT is supposed to be. Obviously, the writers are just so caught up in their own reality that we lesser humans are sentenced to wasted time trying to grasp what the IT is that the authors so obscurely put forth other than that tripping is a mind opening experience. Like, Wow man, what's the story about anyway - that's the joke, there isn't one.

The only benefit of this book is that it acts as a sleep aid. Readers, if you want great science fiction, go read Cryptonomicon; which comparably is one of the best books that I have ever read. ... Read more


107. Ilium (Simmons, Dan)
by Dan Simmons
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380978938
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: Eos
Sales Rank: 6200
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Genre-hopping Dan Simmons returns to science fiction with the vast and intricate masterpiece Ilium. Within, Simmons weaves three astounding story lines into one Earth-, Mars-, and Jupiter-shattering cliffhanger that will leave readers aching for the sequel.

On Earth, a post-technological group of humans, pampered by servant machines and easy travel via "faxing," begins to question its beginnings. Meanwhile, a team of sentient and Shakespeare-quoting robots from Jupiter's lunar system embark on a mission to Mars to investigate an increase in dangerous quantum fluctuations. On the Red Planet, they'll find a race of metahumans living out existence as the pantheon of classic Greek gods. These "gods" have recreated the Trojan War with reconstituted Greeks and Trojans and staffed it with scholars from throughout Earth's history who observe the events and report on the accuracy of Homer's Iliad. One of these scholars, Thomas Hockenberry, finds himself tangled in the midst of interplay between the gods and their playthings and sends the war reeling in a direction the blind poet could have never imagined.

Simmons creates an exciting and thrilling tale set in the thick of the Trojan War as seen through Hockenberry's 20th-century eyes. At the same time, Simmons's robots study Shakespeare and Proust and the origin-seeking Earthlings find themselves caught in a murderous retelling of The Tempest. Reading this highly literate novel does take more than a passing familiarity with at least The Iliad but readers who can dive into these heady waters and swim with the current will be amply rewarded. --Jeremy Pugh ... Read more

Reviews (97)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simmons at the top of his game
Ilium was great. I've read everthing else that Dan Simmons has written and Ilium is as good as it gets. The writing is snappy, the plot is intriguing and, well, Simmons leaves you wanting more - literally- because Ilium isn't so much the first part of a novel and sequel set as it is part one of a much longer single book. The forthcoming Olympos is not a sequel - it will be the last half of a single book that starts with Ilium.

There is a lot to think about here. The quantum teleportation idea that is at the core of the story in more than one way is scientifically plausible and the rest of the triple-interlaced plot keeps you guessing about a lot of things - what has happened on earth, where and when exactly are Harman and company when their adventure begins, who and what are the Olympians etc. All in all, this was a lot of fun and I can't wait for the sequel - err... end of the story.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fast hot read for a cold winter's night
Other reviewer's either describe this book as disappointing or wonderful.
The concepts introduced are quite spellbinding in their implication. Of
course, as any book of space opera, It ain't Plato. So expect a rollicking
good tale but don't look for the meaning of the universe. Like Hyperion,
Simmons melds concepts from classic literature with classic Sci-Fic
concepts -- to very good effect. Most of the 60 odd reviews that I've
scanned through find this either great or purile. Granted that this book
and sequel -- (I hope) -- don't have the foundation shaking qualities of
Hyperion (I,II), it does make one look again to our college reading of
Homer and Aneneas, and appreciate the stature of a literary work that
can stand for 3,000 years and still affect use so well to this day.

Illium represents a work of great synthesia for Simmons. The combining
of elements for classic greek, dare I say - classic english literature to
gernerate a moral play set in some undreamt future -- is either the
play toy of a genius - or experimental chemist. Given Mr. Simmon's
coherent use of language -- I am inclined to the former.

Ilium, like unto it's name sake, the Iliad, - is a story told of the fate of
the fabled city of Troy. But most likely not how your mother would have
told this story.

I've not read any of M. Simmons work outside of the Hyperion works ( Hyperion,
Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, Rise of Endymion ) but I'm
quite pleased with his latest work. Either that or the scotch is working
on me really well.

Thank you Mr. Simmons. Please continue, I'm waiting to buy the
sequel.

P.S. A collaboration between you and Greg Bear may have the chemistry
to rival that of Niven and Pournelle in The Mote in God's Eye.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dan Simmons goes (Ancient) Greek!
Readers familiar with Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos will no doubt have been waiting with baited breath for his return to epic SF and his sizable new novel Ilium is certainly epic in both size and scope. The novel contains three very different narrative threads, which slowly intersect in provocative, if not necessarily revealing, ways. The first tale, as the title suggests, is based on The Iliad; we meet what appear to be the Ancient Greek Gods who are (subtlety) directing the action of the Trojan War, complete with a full cast including Helen, Paris, Achilles, Agamemnon and ill-fated Odysseus. For some reason the Gods have also 'resurrected' scholars from Earth who are experts on Homer's epic poem; these 'scholics' are charged with watching the Trojan War and ensuring that events are unfolding as narrated in The Iliad. The protagonist in this thread is Thomas Hockenberry, Ph.D. At first glance, Hockenberry seems to be living the classical scholar's ultimate fantasy of actually seeing the real Trojan War unfold. However, we quickly discover that his masters, the Ancient Gods, are every bit as childish, selfish and manipulative as suggested in ancient mythology. Hockenberry is the bound and bitter servant of a Muse, and after a parody of the opening of The Iliad, Hockenberry laments: 'On second thought, O Muse, sing of nothing to me. I know you. I have been bound and servant to you, O Muse, you incomparable bitch. And I do not trust you, O Muse. Not one little bit' (1).

In complete contrast, the second narrative thread introduces Moravecs, organic-machine hybrids who were 'seeded' across the solar system by human beings hundreds of years earlier. The central Moravec is Mahnmut, who spends his time piloting the submersible The Dark Lady through the waters of the Jovian moon Europa, and obsessively analysing Shakespeare's sonnets. When other Moravecs discover massive and very dangerous amounts of quantum shift energy emanating from Mars they decide they must investigate. Mahnmut joins Orphu of Io (who prefers Proust and argues literature with Mahnmut at the drop of a hat) and two others in order to investigate and possibly eliminate the cause of the extremely hazardous quantum energies.

With the Moravec characters, Simmons is again exploring ideas of artificial life. In the Hyperion Cantos, artificial life and artificial intelligences play a huge role; in the first two books they appear almost omniscient, while by the conclusion of Rise of Endymion, artificial lifeforms play a far more complex role as both part of humanity's survival and their ultimate threat. The Moravecs are far less empowered in Ilium and spend the majority of the novel trying to figure out exactly what is happening on Mars. The name Moravec is a nod toward Hans Moravec, the head of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, who argues in his book Mind Children (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1988) that the next stage of evolution is robotic and digital life which will supersede ordinary organic human beings. Simmons' Moravecs are less interested in replacing humanity than in making sure the solar system is not destroyed by experimentation which reeks of human arrogance.

The final narrative thread is set on Earth itself, at least a few millennia in the future. The narrative perspective is Daeman's, an ignorant twenty-six year old who prides himself on being a 'lady's man' and little else. Daeman is a typical of the few hundred thousand humans remaining on Earth: he cannot read, is generally content and uninquisitive, spends most of his time at social gatherings, travels instantaneously across the world via 'faxnode', and leads a pampered life with slavish servitor robots and slightly more mysterious Voynix creatures maintaining his indulgent lifestyle. However, when Daeman is at a party trying to seduce the alluring Ada, he finds himself mixed up with Ada's friend Hannah and the ninety-nine year old Harman who has rediscovered the ability to read; probably the only human being able to do so. Harman is living his final year, as all humans leave the Earth an one hundred years of age, possibly to join the 'posthumans' or 'posts' who left the Earth for the orbital habitats (and elsewhere) centuries earlier. Harman's quest to find a spacecraft, visit the posts, and discover what's really going on with the Earth lead the reluctant adventurers on a journey which uncovers many of the mysterious happenings on the planet Earth, and raises far more questions than it answers.

Just as Simmons used the style of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in Hyperion to draw together six separate stories and then end the novel just as they intertwine, the three narrative strands of Ilium slowly approach one another and the novel ends as they finally intersect. However, unlike Hyperion, where the novel stood well by itself and the stories all held readers with their own energy, the three stories in Ilium are only just finding their own momentum as the novel ends. The very disparate cast of characters are harder to empathise with than characters in many of Simmons' other novels and the shear weight of so many different story elements, settings and intrigues threaten to overwhelm the coherence of the novel; so much is going on, it's hard to enjoy any one story. So, too, are there many shared elements with the Hyperion Cantos which felt fresh and engaging a decade ago, but somewhat less so as they are rehashed in Ilium. However, I must confess not having read Hyperion until I owned its sequel, which made some of the story much clearer. Despite its shortcomings, Ilium has many powerful passages and reworks historical and literary material in quite creative and sometimes amazing ways. The next novel Olympos is already being written and I have high hopes that reading the two in tandem will clarify some of the loose ends from Ilium and produce a far more rounded and satisfying read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Combines The Tempest and The Iliad
The Greek Gods prefer human fodder to serve as scribes rather than wasting energy by doing it. Thus they send Dr. Thomas Hockenberry and several scholarly peers from the future into the past to study the war at Troy that "launched a thousand ships".

Though the years of rebirth were painful, Thomas expects to have a grand old time of comparing reality to Homer. However being enslaved to the Greek Gods and a Muse is no fun, but worse is the reality on the Plains of Ilium. The romanticism of Homer and others seem out of place as Thomas sees the atrocities of the war and the idiocy of the legends. In fact he dreams of a B-52 dropping the A-bomb on these Plains to end the insanity. If that is not enough, adding to his dismay is that Aphrodite orders him to help her kill Athena.

While Thomas finds reality monstrously disappointing, robots research the terra-like created atmosphere of Mars and selfish people reside on a genetically different future Earth. Time means nothing in this universe.

Combine The Tempest and The Iliad into a strange well-written speculative fiction and what you have is ILIUM. The story line takes some adjustment with the anachronisms of Thomas and his transplanted peers discussing A-bombs while the pre BC Trojan War occurs. The cast is a delight and the three subplots blend together into a tremendous science fiction novel with fantasy elements that will elate the audience. However, don't tell your English teacher about Dan Simmons' chutzpah messing with the classics even if it is quite entertaining and successfully achieved.

Harriet Klausner

4-0 out of 5 stars "Chariots on Fire"
First things first - Book 1 of a Simmons series which just sets up the action in the next book. Fits the Simmons pattern I guess. It can be annoying at times, but its not like this book had no action

Plot Summary: Maybe someone can help me with this. There are 3 main plotlines followed in this book. First is the ongoing "re-creation" of the Iliad where the gods live on Olympus Mons on Mars. I am not entirely sure where the human players are though, I believe it is Earth but I do not know what Earth and when (and they are most likely on Mars anyway). There are other humans re-created to observe the war, scholics. Scholic Hockenberry being the main character of this plotline. There is very much Quantum Teleportation from Ilium to Olympus and back by the gods and all that activity is getting the attentioon of the humanlike robots (moravecs) working out around Jupiter. These guys decide to send a contingent plus a "device" to Mars to investigate and report back. Back on what is modern Earth, there are only a few thousand humans left living on the planet. They are modified at the molecular level but live a sheltered life where the post-humans left them some technology and now no one knows how to build or repair or do anything. Harman is that odd human that craves adventure, and has even walked places where there are no fax portals (faxing is the mode of transportation). He does not want to go up into the rings after he turns 100 years old as is the custom. There are also some alien undertones and some godlike characters moreso than the Greek gods. Eventually all these plotlines meet up and then leave you hanging

Opinion: Well, like Hyperion, this is the first half. Tension building, drama escalating, etc. I liked what was going on and the complexity of the relations between everyone in the book. I'm not sure I've figured out the whole thing yet though. Much of the early book action is to build the characters and what I suspect is the real plot is not touched upon until much later. This is not a bad thing. Everything was pretty believable to me. I enjoyed the moravec plot the least but I saw in a few other Ilium posts that others really liked that one best. I will enjoy this book more after I know what happens to everyone I'm sure, but it was pretty damn enjoyable anyway. Now that I have started reading the actual Iliad, I am seeing just how well that was integrated into the story. Simmons has always been good at this.
4 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: Read it. Especially if you like Hyperion. ... Read more


108. Singularity Sky
by Charles Stross
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0441011799
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: Ace
Sales Rank: 11286
Average Customer Review: 3.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Four hundred years in the future, time travel has been perfected and groundbreaking developments in Artificial Intelligence have been made. But is this a great step forward for humanity--or its ultimate downfall? ... Read more

Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Riveting postmodern space opera - w00t w00t!
I blazed through this book. It is playful, irreverent, consumed by more raw ideas and imaginative takes on traditional scifi tropes than I've seen in a dog's age. And it contains the most vivid spaceship command deck combat dialogue I've ever read. If you enjoy the occasional fat mouthful of jargon, you're going to find yourself chewing vigorously throughout Singularity Sky.

Mr. Stross is obviously having more fun in some parts of his writing than others, which while noticable, isn't fatal. I think the other reviewers should give this book another read without their Clarion baseball hats on, or at least with them loosened a few notches. Perfection isn't required for enjoyment - just energy and novelty. Maybe they were dissatisfied at the denouement to the Big Space Battle, but that was the point - sometimes, you don't get the lollypop.

Singularity Sky is about *bigness*, like John Clute's _Appleseed_, but more accessbile. It's full of little in-jokes and sly tech-culture references, doing for the IETF what _Silverlock_ did for filk. It baps around collectivism, the principles of sovereignty, mutation theory, spy techniques, nanotechnology, Newtonian physics, kangaroo courts, secret police, and a character straight out of a Gilbert and Sullivan production. Oi vey!

I liked it. I'm looking forward to his next book A Lot. He will only get better.

bob

4-0 out of 5 stars Slightly Overrated
Which means it deserves a 3.5, but I'm feeling merciful...Began well (great opening line) but pretty quickly lost momentum and novelty. Stross may be good at writing action but not so good at characterization or plot pacing. There were some novel ideas in the book, but they were mostly in the background (like the idea of the Eschaton) and never fully explored, and the foreground plot was less compelling.

Plus, as others have pointed out, the book had too much of a contemporary feel to it, and then there was the horrid bit with the mimes...shudder...

Not sure why this is nominated for a Hugo - if you want far better-written and original space opera, or just a plain good read, try Alastair Reynolds or John Wright,

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but might have been better as a short story.
This book felt rather like a short story padded out (mostly with irrelevant space opera scenes) to novel-length. I found parts of it quite thought-provoking, though, particularly the question of what happens to a society in which everyone is suddenly given everything they ask for.

I love the way the prologue is written--it grabs you with its clever ideas and high speed--made me wish the whole story was written that way instead of bogging down in tiresome military drama, clunky romance scenes, etc...

Not really a book to buy--I'd recommend getting this one from the library and reading it quickly, skimming through the filler.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent example of a blend of high tech and space opera!
In my opinion, this book has it all, because it takes place hundreds of years in our future where technology has allowed humanity to travel faster-than-light in order to scatter himself amongst the stars, but it is also great sci-fi space opera and belongs with: "Foundation", "Ringworld", "Starship Troopers", "Rendezvous with Rama", "Childhood's End", "2001", 2010", "Advent of the Corps", and many others. Great read!

1-0 out of 5 stars Poor
Amazon censored my first review. Let's hope it doesn't happen again.

The gist of that review, and this one, is simple: This book was a poor read with lousy characters, an interesting plot hook that failed to realize its potential, and a sluggish pace. There are washed up sports writers who could write better. Unfortunate, because this author's material is usually very, very strong. ... Read more


109. Starship Troopers
by Robert A. Heinlein
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0441783589
Catlog: Book (1987-05-01)
Publisher: Ace Books
Sales Rank: 7424
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Juan Rico signed up with the Federal Reserve on a lark, but despite the hardships and rigorous training, he finds himself determined to make it as a cap trooper. In boot camp he will learn how to become a soldier, but when he graduates and war comes (as it always does for soldiers), he will learn why he is a soldier. Many consider this Hugo Award winner to be Robert Heinlein's finest work, and with good reason. Forget the battle scenes and high-tech weapons (though this novel has them)--this is Heinlein at the top of his game talking people and politics. ... Read more

Reviews (589)

5-0 out of 5 stars The book I read about once a year
It is my personal opinion that every high school student and/or military recruit should be required to read this book. THE MOVIE WAS ONLY LOOSELY BASED ON THE BOOK, so if you hated the movie, do yourself a favor and still give the book a chance.

It is entertaining, thought-provoking, action-packed and a great story. This book is, essentially, the coming-of-age tale of an upper middle class boy who joins the miltary and becomes a man. It is also the tale of his father growing to realize what is truly important in life and what it means to be a "man". Lastly, it is a political essay on Politics, particularly the purposes of Government, Military and Citizens with a comparison of the duties, responsibilities, and priveledges of each. It is quite a lot for a small book that is easy to read and hard to put down.

This book will use an interesting science-fiction story to explain to you the "whys" of the military development process (i.e. why do drill sgts 'break-down' recruits in basic training?), why democratic countries must have a strong military and the definitions of 'citizen', 'patriot' and 'citizen soldier'. Anyone who reads this book and ever misses another election should seriously consider whether or not they deserve to live in a democratic society. This book impressed upon me the undeniable truth that a free, democratic republic is only possible as long as there are men and women who are willing to risk their lives to guard that freedom. It has also made me question what I seek in an elected representative and from the government as a whole.

Though this is a science-fiction book set in the future, it just as easily could have been set in WW2 or any other major historical war. The characters, lessons and ideas of the book are timeless and eternally relevant.

At least half the people who read this book will be angry after reading it. Good. Whether you agree with the political ideas presented in this book or not, it WILL make you THINK.

The world, and the United States in particular, is at a crossroads. Many of the issues before us, particularly the purpose of the military, are addressed in this book. Read it. Put it down. Look at the world around you (Who did the United States bomb today?) and think.

Then take what you learned from thinking about this book and go make a difference in the world. It is that kind of book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still one of RAH's best.
Heinlein wrote three books with contrasting political systems. In Beyond This Horizon, he depicted a futuristic socialist utopia, where the most pressing social issue is boredom. In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Heinlein built a rugged techno-libertarian experiment on the moon, and set it against the authoritarian Earth in a war for independence. None of these was greeted with the derision and scorn that followed the filming of his classic Starship Troopers.

Heinlein painted the third form of government, democracy, using Troopers as a canvas. He asked the simple question, "what would happen in a democratic society if suffrage were limited to those who served their country?" With this simple start, he fleshed out an engaging and heroic vista, where men and women fight for the sake of preserving humanity's future.

Troopers has been criticized as a tribute to Fascism, which is true of the movie. Luckily, the movie bears no relation to book. Troopers was and is an experiment with democracy, the author hoping to create a world in which those who vote also were those who cared most about its future. Read it for yourself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quality Heinlein
Here's one way of looking at it. Science fiction is the situational inverse of historical fiction, the interpolation of a fictional narration not within the confines of a precise past but a theoretical future. Whenever I begin a new Science Fiction creative writing class, this is one of the first books I ask my students to pick up. What makes "Starship Troopers" so qualified as a resource? Plot-wise, this novel is nothing but stock quality, something my students could scribble out without breaking a sweat, but that is not the purpose or the goal intended.

This book is contextually similar to perhaps a thousand Sci-Fi novels written in the past fifty years, and half a hundred of which written by this most prolific author. No feature of the scenes, setting, or - most especially - character development in this novel will strike you as ingenious or unique, but Heinlein has penned here a book only superficially based on such elements. His motive is something grander, the ambition of all good Science Fiction writers: to interpret one's breed of history and future history, social setting, and perhaps even global expectations in the time period or environment discussed.

Inspecting the actual term "science fiction" reveals a co-importance of both science fact and fictional activity. One of the most famous sagas of our genre is the ongoing series of Star Wars - but how much scientific attention have you witnessed here? Novels (or movies) like these may seem to fit the field, but they are nothing more than the fantasy genre's technological subfield. "Starship Troopers," on the other hand, commonly puts individual characters and action on the back burner to focus on political theory and sociology. Early on in this novel Heinlein makes the point that, according to his future, "History and Moral Philosophy" are classified right along Math, Biology, and Physics as sciences, and his book serves through character debates, philosophizing, anecdotal supplements, and numerous other means to describe just what his vision of the subject is. He sees his present society (via 1959), and extrapolates onto this a teleologically final social order of mankind. The ideas he pulls out might seem tinted with age in particular regards to psychological theory, but they are undoubtedly thought out to the last detail. Like Aristotle, we cannot and do not fault him for his historical perspective.

This is not to imply, however, that a book with a name like "Starship Troopers" is all theory and no action. Heinlein knows balance and ease of communication, and it is not his ideas but his integration and high placement of these into a storyline that keeps readers, and therefore wins the novel. The result is a work most highly thoughtful, imaginative, and engaging, and not without its due share of adrenalin-pumped activity. All in all, I find this to be a model study on Science Fiction writing - something my students are happy to read as a pleasure, but something that will leave you thoughtfully questioning our own military and societal superiority.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Science Fiction.
Like many of the readers here, I'd seen the over-the-top movie adaptation of Starship Troopers before reading the book. Originally I thought the movie was just corny fluff to fill the theatre in Summertime. In retrospect, the movie does touch on many of the important themes of the book, although shallowly (and it's still corny). I was suprised to find that the idea of fighting bugs is only a platform for a larger exposition on the responsibility required to successfully run a democratic government. I know, I know, it sounds really boring, but there's plenty of shoot-em-up action to keep you enthralled in between Heinlein's political essays. For me, it had the best of both ingredients of sci-fi: Troopers was both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. Plus it's a short read, so give it a try - even if you don't like it (unlikely), it will take less time than watching all 476 Star Trek movies again.

5-0 out of 5 stars An incredible book destroyed by a horrible movie
I first read Starship Troopers when I was 16, and since then I have always come back to it. It is full of quotes and relevant philosophy for our modern age. The average reader takes only the seemingly fascist overtones that are present in the book, but they do not see the deep analysis of why the current system of rule works. There is a specific passage where an instructor in Juan's O.C.S. informs the class that during peacetime, most of the veterans that come from the Federal Service (and have the right to vote in Heinlein's world) are not soldiers, but rather come form the non-combatant auxiliary services. This key point is often overlooked in reviews that paint the novel as a fascist war utopia. Heinlein uses the science fiction genre to explore pressing philosophical questions with his novels, and Starship Troopers is no different.

This novel asks the reader to do a lot of thinking about their beliefs and philosophy, especially about the concepts of humanity and citizenship. I think that everybody should read this novel, especially those who consider themselves "liberal." Often times I have found that many people take being a citizen of the United States for granted (especially liberals, but some conservatives as well). There is not a glorification of conservative values here, just an examination of what it means to be a citizen of a government and to serve your government. That's the reason the U.S. Marine Corps has this book on its required reading list for O.C.S. students.

I personally really dislike the movie. Verhoeven destroyed a great novel with his arrogance and lust for sex and violence. The only redeeming value in the movie is the special effects. Hopefully in the future a director will want to tackle the challenge of bringing powered armor to the silver screen. ... Read more


110. SW Miniatures Rebel Storm Starter Set (Star Wars Miniatures)
by Star Wars
list price: $19.99
our price: $13.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078693476X
Catlog: Book (2004-09-14)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Sales Rank: 22032
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Book Description

A single box that contains everything needed to start using the new Star Wars miniatures.

The Star Wars Miniatures Entry Pack provides all the starting materials a player needs to become familiar with the brand-new Star Wars miniatures line. The miniatures in this product are randomized and playable right out of the box.This entry pack draws directly from the first set of figures, which features creatures and characters from the classic era of Star Wars, including Episodes IV, V, and VI of the Star Wars films.
... Read more

111. Against the Tide (The Council Wars)
by John Ringo
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743498844
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Baen
Sales Rank: 61260
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Book Description

In the distant future, the world was a paradise-and then, in a moment, it was ended by the first war in centuries. People who had known godlike power, to whom hunger and pain were completely unknown, desperately scrabbled to survive. As the United Free States, the bastion of freedom and center of opposition to the tyrants of New Destiny, prepared for the long-feared invasion by the Changed legions of Ropasa, Edmund Talbot realized that bureaucratic ineptitude and overconfidence was setting the USF naval forces of ships and dragons up for a disastrous defeat at sea. His fears came true, and the destruction of the fleet seemingly left the UFS open for a full scale invasion. But Talbot had new concepts and strategies ready to put into effect, along with new technical innovations from his brilliant engineer. He survived an assassination attempt and quickly assembled a formidable land force combining cavalry, longbowmen, Roman style legions, and dragons for airborne assault. The fascist forces of New Destiny thought that their war was all but concluded, and world domination within their grasp. Edmund Talbot was ready to show them just how wrong they were. . . . ... Read more


112. Days Of Infamy
by Harry Turtledove
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451213076
Catlog: Book (2004-10-30)
Publisher: New American Library
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Book Description

It is December 7, 1941, and the Japanese launch an attack against United States naval forces stationed in Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese follow up their air assault with an invasion and occupation of Hawaii. With American military forces subjugated and civilians living in fear of their conquerors, there is no one to stop the Japanese from using the islands' resources to launch an offensive against America's western coast.
... Read more


113. The Art of Star Wars: Episode 6: Return of the Jedi (The Art of Star Wars Series , No 6)
by CAROL TITELMAN
list price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345410890
Catlog: Book (1997-01-14)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 501402
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Artwork, But Lacks Descriptions and Organization
I really give this book 3 and a half stars only for the artwork.

Primarily, this book is rather disappointing. The pictures, and artwork are great, and I must say it is quite amazing to see the matte paintings that were used in the film. The book contains numerous paintings, sketches, and pictures, but they are very poorly organized. I often found that if I saw a picture I liked and wanted to look at it again, I would have to literally flip through almost every page to find it again. The pictures aren't organized into "sections" as were the ones in THE ART OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. But that is because the script for the movie is included in this book.

The script takes up a lot of space, but is often spaced apart by maybe 2-3 pages of artwork. So for example, once you're done reading the portion of script on page 9, you'd have to skip up to page 12 to continue reading it. It ruins the continuity of the script, but that is not that much of a deal. The script is nice to have, but then again, why would you really want the script? And besides that, why would you find a script in an art book to begin with?

Returning to the pictures, the main disappointment is the lack of descriptions for the artwork. They have little sentences like: ABOVE RIGHT, painting done by Ralph McQuarrie, and so on, but I had expected more descriptions, and rightfully so because this is an art book...isn't it?

If you are interested in the art AND the script, then you should get it. But keep in mind that there aren't many descriptions for the pictures. In my opinion, this book is a clash of script and fabulous art, and the script doesn't allow for the splendour of the artwork to come out in its full "capacity". But I don't regret getting this book simply because of the artwork, and really, this is the only book out there that has THE ART OF RETURN OF THE JEDI.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but lack of descriptions disappointing
This is a great book, but it doesn't have the descriptions for the artwork that the Episode 1 edition had. Putting the script in no doubt took up the space required to have the descriptions in. Still, the art is amazing and I am overwhelmed every time I look at one of these books. If you are a die-hard Star Wars fan, or are even curious about these movies, the "Art of.." series is great and a must-have.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW
This was an awesome book if you have any arguments shove it up your @$

2-0 out of 5 stars not nearly as good as the Empire "Art of"
In brief, this is NOT an "Art of" book. It's a script with a lot of pretty pictures. I can buy the script in several other different formats, but this is the only chance for me to find anything out about the artwork, and this book simply does not do it. Lucasfilm seems to alternate between so-called "Art of" books with the script shoved in (New Hope, Jedi), and actual, quality ART books (Phantom Menace, Empire) that recognize that the script can be found elsewhere. Hopefully the remaining books in the series will leave the script OUT.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for fans of the original triolgy
If you enjoy seeing how the classic stories developed, this is definately going to be a book you wont regret getting, and is a MUST for your collection, allong with the other two art books. ... Read more


114. Good Omens
by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441003257
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Ace Books
Sales Rank: 1681
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter--the world's only totally reliable guide to the future--the world will end on a Saturday.Next Saturday, in fact.Just after tea... ... Read more

Reviews (361)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Outragiously Funny Book!!
I decided to read this book after finishing 2 of Terry Pratchett's others books, Interesting Times and Feet of Clay, which were both great reads. I needed more of his hilarious writing style, so after hearing great reviews, I went out and got this, in my words, masterpiece. Even though I had never heard of Neil Gaiman, the co-writer of the book, I thought I might as well give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment as I devoured this superb "laugh-out-loud" (tragicomic?) book. Pratchett's and Gaiman's twisted humor really appealed to me as being remarkably funny.

The story begins with the misplacement of the Antichrist by a satanic nun, Sister Mary Loquacious of the Chattering order.

Warlock, the false Antichrist, gets raised by demons from hell to become the one who brings about the Apocalypse, and the great war between Heaven and Hell.

Crowley, the representative of Hell and Aziraphale, the representative of Heaven after many years of knowing each other, since the beginning of time, form a strong, yet awkward at times kind of relationship. Together they work to make life as good as it could be for them on Earth, and they don't want things to change..

Newt and Anethema, the witchfinder and the witch, are out to interpret the prophecies of Anethema's Great-great-great-great Grandmother Agnes Nutter, from her book, The wise and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter. When they figure out her prophecy about the Apocalypse, they get entwined into the quest to protect the Earth and all its people from destruction.

And finally there is Adam Young. He is a boy who lives in Tadfield England and when he is old enough will probably, well according to the prophecies, bring about the end. Together with the Them, the gang of 4 friends (including himself) that ultimately must try to fight Adams deep instinct to achieve what he was made for, and save the world.

After Adam reeks a Nuclear Assult on the world using a super computer at an airbase, the several groups come together to save themselves as well as the rest of the world.

When the impossible seems to be accomplished the characters as well as the readers that maybe their really isn't such a thing as faith, or that maybe that everything that happened, as unlikely as it may be is all part of the Ineffable Plan.

If you have not read this book yet than you should definitely go out and read Good Omens.

5-0 out of 5 stars My All-Time Favorite Book
I really wish there were something above five stars that I could give this novel. It is probably my all-time favorite book. It's a collaboration by two of my favorite authors, and combines the best traits of both -- Pratchett's wonderful sense of the absurd in our daily existance, and Gaiman's extremely dark, somewhat twisted sense of humor. The result is a book that made me laugh until my sides hurt, but also gave me a chance to think about the good and evil that are intrinsic parts of humanity.
Someone recommended this to me as "a funny book about the Apocalypse", and I was a little nervous -- I've never read the Bible, so would I not "get" the jokes? But an in-depth insight into religion is not needed; all you need is a sense of humor and a knowledge of the most basic points of Christian theology/culture (angels, devils, nuns, etc.).
The book centers around the actions of Aziraphale, an angel and part-time rare book dealer, and Crowley, a demon who's in love with his black vintage Bentley. Both have been on Earth since "the Beginning," which has produced something of a sense of camaraderie, although their respective supervisors fear that the two are "going native." The Apocolypse is scheduled to begin soon, but, alas, Crowley seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. Armed with little else than "Best of Queen" tapes and a rare book of obtuse prophecies, they race to track down the Antichrist before he gains the use of his powers. Joining in the fight are a witch and a wages clerk/Witchfinder Private. Sound odd? It does to them too. But one thing's for sure: once the Four Bikers (nee Horsepeople -- War's a woman) of the Apocolypse ride out, all is lost...

4-0 out of 5 stars If you like British humor...
Think Monty Python meets Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide. Throw in a bit of Dogma (the Kevin Smith film), and you have this book. If you like all three of these, you'll probably enjoy Good Omens. It helps to have a basic understanding of Biblical prophecy and a bit of appreciation for British humor. Without these, you might get a bit lost.

The only thing I didn't like about this book is that I had a hard time figuring out where it was going a lot of the time. It felt like there were a lot of unnecessary scenes. I kept waiting and waiting for the Apocalypse to come around, but it seemed to take forever.

Still, it was worth reading. I laughed outloud at several of the jokes, and the two main characters--the representitves from heaven and hell pictured on the cover were hysterical. It's worth the seven dollars just for them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get to it!
I was house-sitting for a buddy of mine in the Navy and came across this book - only I thought it went by a different title ("The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch"). Lo and behold, almost a decade later, that I read "American Gods", dug it, and looked into what else Neil Gaiman has written. I saw the blurb for "Good Omens", thought it would a quick fun read only to discover, gasp, I had found it.

I thought the book was hilarious and brilliant the 1st time around, and my perception of it has not changed. Terry Pratchett has a wonderfully twisted mind and incredible wit. The pop references are so well-handled (isn't so strue about all cassettes turning into Queen?), and the characters are so vibrant.

Do not pass up this book. Your very soul may depend on it - or you could get served a hamburger by the "King", go wild!

5-0 out of 5 stars hilarious!
In this satirical novel, the end of the world draws near and one demon and one angel are out to change the prophesied outcome. They've become quite comfortable with how things are. They've even grown quite fond of each other. However, their quest is a "tall order" even for angelic beings.

In this hilarious novelization of the end times, the anti-christ is a twelve year old boy (who is more concerned with environmental issues instead of ending the world), the four horsemen of the Apocalypse actually ride motorcycles (not horses), and the most accurate book of prophecy available was written by an insane witch named Agnes Nutter.

Authors Gaiman (Sandman) and Pratchett (Discworld) have created one of the funniest novels I've ever read in Good Omens. Even with the "touchy" subject matter, you can't help but laugh out loud at the crazy experiences each character in the book must overcome. ... Read more


115. Jedi Trial (Star Wars: Clone Wars Novel)
by DAVID SHERMAN, DAN CRAGG
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0345461142
Catlog: Book (2004-10-26)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 1793
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116. Mercury : Planet Novel #4 (The Grand Tour)
by Ben Bova
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765304120
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Tor Books
Sales Rank: 119938
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The closest planet to our Sun, Mercury is a rocky, barren, heat-scorched world.But there are those who hope to find wealth in its desolation.

Saito Yamagata thinks Mercury's position will make it an ideal orbit point for satellites that could someday create enough power to propel starships into deep space. He hires Dante Alexios to bring his dreams to life. Astrobiologist Victor Molina thinks the water at Mercury's poles may harbor evidence of life, and hopes to achieve fame and glory by proving it. Bishop Elliot Danvers has been sent by the powerful Earth-based "New Morality" to keep close tabs on Molina's endeavors, which threaten to produce results contrary to fundamentalist teachings.

Three of these men are blissfully unaware of their shared history and how it ties into one of mankind's greatest tragedies. Years before, visionary engineer Mance Bracknell made his own attempt to help man progress into space by building a ladder to the stars: a glistening tower stretching thousands of miles into the air, anchored by spans of steel to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. But technological endeavor was no match for human passions, and greed and jealousy provoked terrorists to an act of sabotage that resulted in the death of millions.

There's no telling how many more will have to die before Mance has his revenge...
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting picture of the future in outer space
Industrialist Saito Yamagata died from cancer, but his body was frozen, eventually nanotechnology provided a remedy, and cured him; he has a second chance at life and plans to live it to the fullest.He plans to provide mankind a venue to the solar system and ultimately the stars though a previous effort headed by Mance Bracknell a decade ago led to death and destruction, and ultimately exile of the chief engineer from Earth.

To achieve his stellar objective and avoid the earthly disaster of Mance in which millions died, Saito hires Dante Alexios to build a fleet of satellites to orbit Mercury.From these man made moons, spaceships will venture throughout space.Though he is positive he never met his space engineer, Saito wonders why Dante seems so familiar to him in a déjà vu way.At the same time, exobiologist Victor Molina learns that rocks found on Mercury include remains of a life form.Victor turns to Dante for help, but wonders why the space engineer who he swears he never met before looks so familiar.Meanwhile Bishop Elliot Danvers of New Morality plans to disgrace Molina.

Ben Bova provides an interesting science fiction thriller that will please his fans although ironically readers will know the connections between the prime characters long before most of the protagonists figure it out, which removes some of the air from the suspense.The cast is solid as readers will accept the brilliance and abilities of the different engineers to achieve their objectives including a personal agenda and the world they live in.Though not quite his best work, Mr. Bova writes a fine tale that paints an interesting picture of the future in outer space.

Harriet Klausner
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117. Flatland : A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Edwin A. Abbott
list price: $1.50
our price: $3.49
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Asin: 048627263X
Catlog: Book (1992-09-21)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 6382
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Classic of science (and mathematical) fiction—charmingly illustrated by author—describes the journeys of A. Square, a resident of Flatland, and his adventures in Spaceland (three dimensions), Lineland (one dimension) and Pointland (no dimensions). A Square also entertains thoughts of visiting a land of four dimensions—a revolutionary idea for which he is banished from Spaceland.
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Reviews (115)

4-0 out of 5 stars ...1 dimension, 2 dimensions, 3 dimensions, ... n dimensions
Flatland is Edwin A. Abbott's depiction of A. Square's (the story's narrator) odyssey though the spaces of many dimensions. It was written in Victorian England and is a very stylized piece. The book is divided into two parts. In Part I of the book Abbott describes Flatland and particularly its social structure in a satirical nature (akin to Animal Farm). Part II of the book is where the more mathematical and geometrical concepts are expounded upon. This section of the book is also written in the spirit of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. A. Square (analogous to Alice) ventures back and forth through Pointland (no dimensions), Lineland (one dimension), Flatland (two dimensions), and Spaceland (three dimensions). A. Square even eventually speculates the appearance of the inhabitants of a land composed of four dimensions! Flatland will appeal to both mathematicians and lay people alike. If you are curious about dimensionality and the world in which we live, and would like to see it presented in a playful and charismatic manner, then Flatland is the book for you. Although initially taken at face value, Flatland is very deep and fully of many hidden mathematical and satirical jokes waiting to be discovered by its readers (again similar to Alice in Wonderland). Furthermore, Abbott's style tends to be very wordy. To that end, his sentences are jammed packed with ideas. These final two aspects of the book may deem a reread useful. Nonetheless, Abbott blesses us with phrases such as "dimensionable Dimensionality," "Thoughtland," "Spacious Space," and perfect perfection." Brilliant! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Pleasing Speculation
Flatland and Sphereland are very well written books, but for entirely different reasons. Flatland is a fun story that takes you into the 2nd (and 1st, and 0th) dimensions to see what life is like there with its final goal to make you speculate on what the fourth dimension would be like. Flatland, the first book, excels at making you grasp the concepts and has a very good story to go along with it. The story seems to be the main focus, rather than the other aspects.

Sphereland is entirely the opposite. Sphereland deals with ideas such as the expanding universe theory others. This it explains even clearer then flatland did. But Sphereland's focus was not on the story, but rather on the theories that it tried to convey. This may be a good thing in some people's minds, but I enjoyed the story of flatland and didn't like it pushed aside to explain the theories. I also didn't like the fixing of flatland to make it less backwards (Besides giving equality to women) since flatland to me was backwards.

So If you want to learn complex Ideas simply and with fun, these are the books for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book that Introduces the Reader to Strange, New Lands
=====>

In order to understand this twenty-two chapter book (first published in the mid-1880s) by Edwin A. Abbot (1838 to 1926), you have to understand what is meant by the word "dimension," a word in the book's subtitle "A Romance of Many Dimensions." A dimension is any measureable distance such as length or width. So something that has one dimension has only one measurable distance, something that has two dimensions has two measurable distances, and so on. You also have to realize that there are geometrical forms that can be drawn in these dimensions. Thus a line is such a form that only has one dimension, a triangle is such a form that has two dimensions that appears flat and non-solid, and a sphere is such a form in three dimensions that appears solid. (Another name for three dimensions is space.)

Part one (twelve chapters) of this book gives us a glimpse of the two-dimensional land where the narrator, Mr. "A. Square," comes from. This place, called "Flatland," is inhabitated by two-dimensional beings of which Square is one. These beings no nothing of "up" and "down." Square tells us details of Flatland society such as its resident's domestic life and its political turmoil. It is a place dominated by such things as a rigid social hierarchy, sexism, and closed-mindedness.

Abbot was a Victorian and his description of Flatland is meant to be a parody (using wry humor and biting satire) of English Victorian society. Abbot seems to have fun mocking the upper classes of the 1880s in his book. I found that much of what Abbot says can be applied to modern society.

As an example, Square tells us of the social hierarchy that exists: "Our women are straight lines. Our soldiers and lowest classes of workmen are Triangles with two equal sides [called an Isosceles triangle]...Our middle class consists of Equilateral or equal sided triangles...Our professional men...are Squares...and five-sided figures, or Hexagons, and thence rising in the number of their sides till they receive the honorable title of Polygonal, or many-sided...Finally when the number of sides becomes so numerous...that the figure cannot be distinguished from a Circle, he is included in the Circular or Priestly order; and this is the highest class of all."

Part two (ten chapters) of this book is very interesting since Square tells us of his visits to "Lineland" (a land of one dimension), "Spaceland" (a land of three dimensions, a land Earthlings are used too), and "Pointland" (a land of no dimensions). Readers will find that they will have to adjust their thinking every time the two-dimensional Square visits a world of different dimensions. For example, when Square meets "Sphere" (of Spaceland), the reader will have to "see" Sphere as Square does--in two dimensions. The end of this part has Square realizing that three (and perhaps more) dimensions exist and trying to tell his fellow close-minded Flatlanders this.

My favorite sentence in part two occurs when Sphere makes an unexpected visit to Square's home (and Square doesn't know who Sphere is, fearing that he is a burglar). Square says, "The thought flashed across me that I might have before me a burglar or cut-throat, some monstrous irregular Isoceles, who by feigning the voice of a Circle, had obtained admission somehow into the house, and was now preparing to stab me with his acute angle."

Abbot, besides being a writer and educator, was also a theologian. So are their any spiritual or metaphysical aspects to this book? The answer is yes but this is not always obvious. For example, when Sphere makes his first unexpected visit to Square's home, he slowly seems to materialize in front of Square. Thus Sphere seems to be a supernatural, supreme being and Square refers to him as "your Lordship." Another example is Sphere sees Square as "a fit apostle for the Gospel of the Three Dimensions."

This book is written in Victorian English that may be difficult (for some) to comprehend at first. But I found that as I progressed further into the book and got used to this type of English, it becomes much easier to comprehend. The sketches found throughout the book also help immensely in getting across what Abbot was attempting to convey.

This book raises a number of questions, some of which are as follows:

(1) Why does our universe have three dimensions and not two or four?
(2) In what ways does our three-dimensional universe affect its physical, chemical, and biological properties?
(3) Do universes that have two, four, five, or more dimensions exist?
(4) If other universes of different dimensions do exist, then are there beings in these other dimensions?

Finally, for those who want a good non-fiction account of possible other dimensions, I recommend Dr. Michio Kaku's book "Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10TH Dimension" (1994).

In conclusion, this is a unique book that sparks your imagination and raises certain questions. Be warned though! By reading this book, you may become one in "a race of rebels who...refuse to be confined to [a] limited dimensionality."

<=====>

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific!
This may be the greatest science fiction story of all time. I have read this story at least ten times and I never tire of it. An all time classic that makes a wonderful conversation topic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Expand your mind!
Flatland is a great book for those who have the ability to think in an abstract way. If you appreciate mathematical puzzles, physics, or programming, you'll probably love Flatland. Although I liked it, I expect Flatland would be more popular among men than women.

The book is relatively short and an easy read. It doesn't have much of a plot; instead, the narrator spends time explaining the nature of a two-dimensional universe, and compares it to three-dimensional "Spaceland".

The book opens your mind - if two-dimensional characters can't see or imagine a three-dimensional universe, who is to say we can't see or imagine a four- or five-dimensional one? ... Read more


118. The War of the Worlds (Bantam Classics)
by H.G. WELLS
list price: $4.95
our price: $4.95
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Asin: 0553213385
Catlog: Book (1988-11-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 267609
Average Customer Review: 4.01 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds is a timeless science fiction classic that is still frightening over a century after its original publication. Well's exploration of possible extraterrestrial intelligent life has served as the prototype for countless twentieth century novels and films. ... Read more

Reviews (160)

5-0 out of 5 stars The very first - a classic in every sense
Okay folks, this is it. The very first alien invasion novel and it's 101 years old this year. That's right, over a century.

Yet this is still a wonderful book to read. Sure, we know there aren't any real Martians. Put that aside. The straight forward Victorian narrative style is odd and strangely formal by today's standards. But that's part of what sets the scene.

Here is a book that has all the basic elements of the genre - and Wells got them right the very first time. Better, in fact than most modern writers. There aren't any heroic moves we can make to save ourselves. There's no good-looking guy that defeats the Martians through cleverness and clean living. The Martians are centuries ahead of us technologically and we're going to lose. Period. Is that realistic enough for you?

How about a writer that predicts tactical battlefield lasers, chemical weapons, armored mechanical fighting vehicles, interplanetary spaceflight and computer controlled robots up to ninety years ahead of reality. Pretty impressive stuff that STILL hasn't come to pass in some cases, even though we can understand such things now. Imagine someone who takes a horse-drawn carriage to town conceptualizing battlefield lasers. That's what Wells did when he wrote this novel.

But most of all this book is there for its commentary on humanity - Victorian imperialism and lack of humility, the arrogance of invulnerability just waiting to be burst. Watch a cultured society crumble in the face of harsh reality. Watch us devolve into elemental things once more, as we learn what it means to be dominated as we have dominated other, less advanced cultures. Wells' book was meant as a commentary on English Imperialism and arrogance, but that lesson still has relevance today, whether you apply it to superpower politics or global environmentalism.

Take the time for this book. It's worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction At It's Very Best
This is the book that got me interested in Science-Fiction in the first place, and i've never really read anything else that has drawn me in in quite the same way. It is along with two other H.G. Wells books (The Invisible Man, The Time Machine) quite possibly the blueprints for everything else that followed. For me the only apocolyptic books that came even come close to War Of The Worlds, are The Stand and The Day Of The Triffids.

It works on a number of levels. You can read it as a novel about a Martian Invasion and it works, or you can reads it as a political commentary on the British empire and it still works. It also gives you a pretty good account of life and attitudes in England a century ago.

Quite simply in my humble opinion it is the best piece of literature written in the last 150 years. Now if only Hollywood would make a proper adaption of it. One set in England in the 1890's and with proper tripod fighting machines.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hard to hate creatures with such cool toys
I don't know if H.G. Wells can take all the credit for pioneering modern science fiction, but his 1898 novel "The War of the Worlds" is certainly a revolutionary stroke, apparently the first conception of what a hostile extraterrestrial invasion would be like. The invaders here are Martians, who, as Wells describes, are superevolved beyond humans, having had to sharpen their intelligence and develop superior technology in order to survive their planet's cold climate. Looking with jealousy towards their larger, warmer sunward planetary neighbor, they have decided to take over Earth, where they can build a new civilization.

Meanwhile on Earth, astronomers, their telescopes pointed towards Mars, notice strange luminous flashes on the surface of the red planet; these, it can be surmised, are the Martians launching their interplanetary spacecrafts towards their target. A few months later the crafts land in the English countryside one at a time; it turns out the Martians have traveled in gigantic cylinders which contain all their equipment, including their land vehicles--tall walking tripods with rotating control centers that look like hooded human heads--which evidently are stored in parts and need to be assembled. These machines have weapons that deploy "Heat-Rays" which roast anything on contact and dense black powder which poisons the air and water. With these undeniably cool toys, the Martians have no problems advancing towards London and decimating every living thing in their path.

Undiplomatic and incommunicative with earthlings, the Martians are cold-blooded killers with possibly the ultimate goal of enslaving the human species for labor in their colonies. The Martian beings themselves are described as vaguely globular, tentacular monsters that are mostly brain and little else, creatures seemingly borrowed from the distant future of Wells's imagination in "The Time Machine." What I found most original and bizarre about them was Wells's description of their machinery, which does not use wheels or any kind of angular mechanism, but rather complex systems of sliding parts on curved surfaces--in other words, their mechanisms approximate biomechanisms. Their cleverness is indeed formidable, but their information about Earth is lacking in one important area which causes their downfall.

The human characters in the novel are hardly worth mentioning, especially the narrator, which is probably why he doesn't have a name; he is used simply as an eyewitness to relate the events. The Martians and their incredible machines were the only things that really drew my interest because Wells is at his best when he invokes the horror of the unknown rather than the realities of human behavior. Upon its first appearance, this novel must have struck many Victorians as distastefully grotesque, the idea of a cataclysmic war (at the dawn of the century that invented the cataclysmic war) the willful nightmare of a madman; but Wells was a visionary if not the most elegant writer, and visionaries sometimes shock us.

4-0 out of 5 stars War of the Worlds: ground breaking sci-fi
H.G. Wells, is one of the first the introduce readers with the idea of aliens from mars taking over the earth, and triggered many writers later to write books involving martians. In the masterpiece, Wells introduces many ideas and masterfully blends them into his story.
England is in trouble as cylinders of metal carrying martians constantly crash on the earth every 24 hours. Each cylinder carries a walking tripod, that has a heat beam attached, a beam that melts and burns anything it hits. As more aliens come, they bring gasses that can kill a human just when they inhale it.
All seems lost for the main character as he tries to dodge martians, and return to leatherhead, where his wife has taken refuge. He is forced to hide from the martians byhimself, for almost everyone is dead.
Hope of survival is almost noting for humans, when they find out the martians have developed flying machines, to promote their world wide destruction, but something happens to the martians......
This is a great book and I am very pleased that I took the time the read it, even though some parts were very slow.

3-0 out of 5 stars A little too retro "Sci. Fi." for me.
In "The War of the Worlds" Martians come down from space and start their conquest of our home Earth. The Martians, with their heat rays and giant robotic machines, are attempting to conquer Earth and use it as their new home because Mars has become uninhabitable. This story is told from an English man's point-of-view, with vivid descriptions telling what it was like when the Martians came down and waged their war on Earth. The story takes the reader through a chaotic and suspenseful journey seen through the eyes of one man trying to survive.
In my opinion the story was well written, overall. It was just a bit too retro science-fiction for me. The plot mainly revolves around a man's travels while he is trying to escape the onslaught of the Martians. I lost interest about mid-way through the book, because the plot became redundant. The character descriptions in the book were good, as well as the descriptions of the Martians. There was good visual depiction of the destruction that took place as the Martians conquered more territory. I think the conclusion could have been a little more climactic. Although it was clever, it just wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. Although the concept of this story is interesting, I would not recommend this book to teens that enjoy futuristic adventure. ... Read more


119. Anthem
by Ayn Rand
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0452281253
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 25116
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Available for the first time in trade paperback--this provocative book is "an anthem sung in praise of man's ego"--from the legendary author Ayn Rand

Anthem has long been hailed as one of Ayn Rand's classic novels, and a clear predecessor to her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In Anthem, Rand examines a frightening future in which individuals have no name, no independence, and no values. Equality 7-2521 lives in the dark ages of the future where all decisions are made by committee, all people live in collectives, and all traces of individualism have been wiped out. Despite such a restrictive environment, the spark of individual thought and freedom still burns in him--a passion which he has been taught to call sinful. In a purely egalitarian world, Equality 7-2521 dares to stand apart from the herd--to think and choose for himself, to discover electricity, and to love the woman of his choice. Now he has been marked for death for committing the ultimate sin. In a world where the great "we" reign supreme, he has rediscovered the lost and holy word--"I."
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Reviews (378)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand - The Short Version
This is pretty typical Ayn Rand, except 1/10th the size of her other works (Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged).It's individualist ideology wrapped in slightly better than mediocre short fiction.If you hate the ideology, you'll probably come back here and post a 500-word rant that has nothing to do with the book itself but somehow concludes that Anthem is trash.If you love the ideology, you'll trick yourself into believeing this is one of the greatest books ever written.If YOU are somewhere in between, you'll recognize that this BOOK is somewhere in between.

4-0 out of 5 stars Novel depicting future in which all men are equal
In line with other novels of this type, Ayn Rand paints a dark picture of a world that all men are equal. The book gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Equality 7-2521 a man that exists in this future world.

Equality 7-2521 lives in a world where men are equal. Mankind's zeal for knowledge has been vanquished, and people exist and work as the "greater good" see fit. For example, individuals (in the book Equality 7-2521 uses "we" or "they" to describe individuals) in this world spend the first 15 years of their life in school. After this time passes, a Council of Vocations picks the job that the person will work unto his death, or placement in the House of the Useless. There is no contact, per se, between human beings. Complete solitude is frowned upon.

The world has turned into a very primitive place where the candle has become the greatest invention. One day, however, Equality 7-2521 makes a discovery that will change his life forever...

After reading this novel, I could not help to think about communism (or maybe even socialism). I will not pretend to be an expert on those forms of governments, but obviously they had a large part to do with this story. The kind of world that is presented in these story paints a dark picture of what could become of such a government. My initial feelings about the author's dislike of communism was confirmed when I read that Ayn Rand had actually took part in protesting the Bolshevik Revolution. This books does exaggerate the system (as far as I can tell), but really paints a good picture of one man's willingness to fight that system.

The only reason I gave the book four stars is due to the length. A diligent reader can finish the book in less than two hours; still the book is a great thought provoking read!

4-0 out of 5 stars An hour well spent
You can finish it in an hour.It is the beauty of Rand's Anthem.Also, if you ever wanted to learn about Rand's famous philosophy of objectionism, this would be the way to go.You don't have to wade through countless hours and 1,100 pages of Atlas Shrugged, because after reading this novel, you will get the gist of what she believes and stands for,(although if you want a superior story to go along with the philosophy, I recommend The Fountainhead).

The story opens in the cold dreary future.Everyone in society has become part of the great "we".Everyone is taught to think, feel, and act the same.It is basically an accelerated form of communism.If you think on your own or do anything against the will of the Supreme Council, you are beaten and lashed.No one has real names, but are given names like Equality-76512 or Fraternity-67832, and likewise.

In the midst of this dark world, a group of street sweepers (you are also not allowed to choose your occupation in this world) decides to rebel.Every night they secretly tamper with experiments to try and find out new things about the world around them.One day, they learn how to invent electricity.Excited about their new discovery, they take their new invention to the Supreme Council, who is shocked in outrage.They have broken the rules.This band of street sweepers escapes into the un-chartered forest, where no one dares enter.

Alone, in the wilderness, they finally discover who they really are, and what happiness is all about.

This is an original, if not totally profound book.Rand puts her own to spin on ideas than have been presented before.The ending is wonderful as well; it makes the book a lot better and puts down the exclamation mark down on everything Rand had been telling us.It also provides a nice forum for Rand to present her ideas in a non-intimidating manner, unlike Atlas Shrugged did.

Reading this novel, I appreciated even more the range Rand has in her writing.In some of her other works like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, she explores with pain staking detail: her characters, situations, and philosophy.However, Anthem is essentially a simple, straight forward tale of the damages of collectivism and the positives of individualism. Yet, the vocabulary, along with the story, is easy to understand, all of which proves that Rand has considerable talent in both the short story and the long, drawn out novel.It also manages to be entertaining.Part of that might be how extraordinary short it is.

This is a creative new vision of the future.Has this idea been explored before?Yes.Does Anthem surpass its predecessors?For the most part it does not.Brave New World and 1984 both do a better job on this same issue of mind control and the future.

Anthem, although not a great novel, is still a very good one.If you haven't read anything by Rand, this would be a good place to begin.Anyway, I can think of a lot worse things you could waste an hour of your time on.Reading Anthem certainly was a more productive use of time then some of the others things I seem to waste time on.

Grade: B+

5-0 out of 5 stars Look beyond the facade
Anthem may very well be one of the finest examples of literature to grace our intellectual periphery. It is a bold statement coming from a tough critic, I assure you.
Anthem is one of the few books that reaps its true power from its lenth, and contrary to "Atlas Shrugged", it is barely over one hundred pages.
However, bear in mind that the message is revolutionary, but fragile. If handled incorrectly it is but a cliche. As a reader I advese you to look beyond what would seem the potent message to the philisophical nuances. If read with camparison to "Brave New World" or "1984", this book is a failure.
Consider the message and the book as something entirely different, and entirely new.
If you can follow the author, you'll absolutely love it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Simple: not great, not bad.
'Anthem' is a very easy read and can be done in an hour. However its simplicity made the storyline very predictable. I recommend this book toward philosophical/religious people. The ending wasn't that great but the theme is a very interesting topic that can be easily discussed with others.
... Read more


120. Marque and Reprisal
by ELIZABETH MOON
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345447581
Catlog: Book (2004-09-28)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 5008
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Amazon.com

Marque and Reprisal is Nebula Award winner Elizabeth Moon's second novel about Kylara Vatta, starship captain in her family's interstellar shipping business. Fresh from war, Ky is trying to resume a normal trading schedule when an unknown enemy attacks her prestigous family. Though her family is large, Ky may be its only surviving member. But she cannot confirm this, for sabotage has cut off communications between star systems. And Ky has other problems. She's been turned into a privateer against her will. Her family's mysterious foe knows where she is, and is trying to kill her. And she has a bloody secret of her own.

Packed with action and intrigue, Marque and Reprisal and its prequel,Trading in Danger, are as strong and interesting as Elizabeth Moon's popular Serrano Legacy series, which also successfully combines hard SF, military SF, and adventure SF with interstellar and familial politics. The Kylara Vatta novels will please fans of the Serrano Legacy, Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan saga, David Weber's Honor Harrington series, and Robert A. Heinlein's juvenile novels. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more


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