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161. Children of God (Ballantine Reader's
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162. Island (Perennial Classic)
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163. Vision of the Future (Star Wars:
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164. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
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169. Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel
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170. White Gold Wielder (The Second
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171. Dystopian Literature
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178. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm
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179. Kindred (Black Women Writers Series)
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180. Breakdowns (Star Trek: Starfleet

161. Children of God (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by MARY DORIA RUSSELL
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044900483X
Catlog: Book (1999-02-02)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 10937
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

4 cassettes / 4 hours
Read by Stephen Lang

Mary Doria Russell's debut novel, The Sparrow, took us on a journey to a distant planet and into the center of the human soul. A critically acclaimed bestseller, The Sparrow was chosen as one of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Books of the Year, a finalist for the Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction Prize and the winner of the James M. Tiptree Memorial Award. Now, in Children of God, Russell further establishes herself as one of the most innovative, entertaining and philosophically provocative novelists writing today.

The only member of the original mission to the planet Rakhat to return to Earth, Father Emilio Sandoz has barely begun to recover from his ordeal when the So-ciety of Jesus calls upon him for help in preparing for another mission to Alpha Centauri. Despite his objections and fear, he cannot escape his past or the future.

Old friends, new discoveries and difficult questions await Emilio as he struggles for inner peace and understanding in a moral universe whose boundaries now extend beyond the solar system and whose future lies with children born in a faraway place.

Strikingly original, richly plotted, replete with memorable characters and filled with humanity and humor, Chil-dren of God is an unforgettable and uplifting novel that is a potent successor to The Sparrow and a startlingly imaginative adventure for newcomers to Mary Doria Russell's special literary magic.
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Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully moving and worthy sequel
"Children of God," equally worthy sequal to Mary Doria Russell's "The Sparrow," picks up where the earlier volume left off, with Father Emilio Sandoz confronting what happened to him during a doomed Jesuit expedition to the planet Rakhat. Sandoz, bitter, his faith in God challenged, seeks to leave the Society of Jesus.

Like "The Sparrow," the plot unfolds from two perspectives: On Earth, the Pope and the society's Father General have plans of their owns for a commercial mission to Rakhat. Sandoz refuses to be a part of these plans, leading to a thorny moral dilemma for the mission's advocates. And on the planet Rakhat, the missionaries' inadvertant overthrow of the Jana'ata's carefully controlled breeding of the Runa leads to chaotic upheavals in the planet's social structure.

The inability of Earth's and Rakhat's people to interpret context as well as language are the catalyst for the personal and large-scale upheavals that these two books chronicle. Much that Sandoz suffers in "The Sparrow" is due to his host, Suparri va Gayjur's misunderstanding. While Suparri's treatment of Sandoz seems like a betrayal in "The Sparrow," we learn in "Children of God" that he actually had good intentions for what he did based upon his understanding at the time.

Both books are wonderful examples of the use of fiction to present a sensitive and intelligent discussion of religious issues. Deeply moving and lyrical, the books are wonderful works of literature as well as outstanding representatives of what can be accomplished within the science fiction genre.

3-0 out of 5 stars Recommended but not as highly as The Sparrow....
I couldn't wait to read Children of God after finishing The Sparrow (which I loved, by the way). However, I was disappointed in the sequel, which I found more confusing and less enthralling than the original. There were too many characters, so that none of them seemed as fully developed as the characters in the first novel. After awhile I was getting the various aliens mixed up with one another. I almost needed to take notes to keep them all straight! And although the 2nd book explains some of the events from the 1st book, at least one mystery remains unsolved - e.g. what DID happen to the party from the Contact Consortium (the guys who found Emilio Sandoz on Rakhat, returned him to Earth on his asteroid, and then disappeared)? That seemed like a real omission to me. Still, I think that if you enjoyed The Sparrow, you HAVE to read the sequel, simply because things were not always what they seemed in the first book, there is at least one really nice surprise, and Children of God fills in many of the missing pieces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Even better than the first one
I highly recommend The Sparrow. After you've read it, pick up Children of God. Mary Doria Russell's ending of The Sparrow leaves the main character in despair and confusion about his relationship to others and to God. His experiences in the second book (along with those of other major characters from the first) don't give pat answers to his questions but force him (and the reader) to consider how the Lord may be guiding the universe.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fine follow-up
Russell continues to grow as a writer in this sequel to The Sparrow. Children of God brings different sets of themes and issues into the milieu of Rakhat. Once again the characters are a strength of the work, and I particularly like the way Russell develops the linguistics angle in her work. The involvement of the Italian underground is far-fetched, and the church politics that were used to justify the return trip and the return of Sandoz to the scene of his humiliation and loss of faith were unnecessarily contrived. But the deft handling of time and the ethical and survival problems that take place on Rakhat are fascinating and engaging. In many ways, Russell is for me like Heinlein--when I think back on their stories I can think of a multitude of things to criticize, but when I am reading their work I enjoy every page. I think this must be a sign that I'm under the spell of an excellent story-teller.

2-0 out of 5 stars consider not reading it
this is not a bad book. however, the sparrow is a great book, and this one does not do it justice. there are some interesting ideas in it, but all in all i would rather have been left at the end of the sparrow than had this addition to the story. the biggest flaw is the way she takes sandoz to rakhat; also, this book doesn't have the moral weight of the sparrow and the resolution is a little too pat. ... Read more


162. Island (Perennial Classic)
by Aldous Huxley
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0060085495
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 20119
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Island, his last novel, Huxley transports us to a Pacific island where, for 120 years, an ideal society has flourished. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala and events begin to move when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn't expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and -- to his amazement -- give him hope.

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Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars An altered being
I finished this book two days ago and I can't stop thinking about it. I'm no slack when it comes to knowledge about Eastern philosophy--I've been to Tibet and Nepal, into the monasteries, and made blessings at Buddhist Stupas. Of all modes of thinking, Buddhism probably best captures that essential element of all religions, that mystical and ever-present aspect of the universe. I've never thought it reasonable, however, to extrapolate Buddhist thinking into a functional and at least semi-modern society. In Island, Huxley creates this--an oasis of peace and spirituality in a working society that does not contradict its own Buddhist teachings. The book sharply and blatantly contrasts life on the Island to Western society and even Eastern society and their inherent problems. It's obvious Huxley is trying to send a message, that the world does not have to be the way it is, but he explains it and gives examples of it so well that his obvious message comes through as realistic and reasonable. The end is sad, and yet hopeful, emotionally ripping, and yet you feel somewhat indifferent to this end, which is exactly what the book is trying to say--that life has ups and downs and peacefulness can only be found when one lives detached from life's vicissitudes.
For all the English Lit. teachers out there, I'll be fair and say that his message is thinly disguised. It's right there out front and sometimes the book is even preachy. But, you only feel that *during* the book, and only in parts. By the time you finish though, all you can really do is say "Wow," and if you really want to do the book justice, just sit there...in a silence filled with awe and redefined perceptions. One more thing--tonight, I downloaded Brandenberg Concerto #4, and I have to say, I know *exactly* what Huxley is talking about. (awed silence)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read!
One of the best books I have read is Aldous Huxley's 'Island'. It is a take-off on the utopia theme and not his first one on it, the earlier one being 'The Brave New World'. His 'The Brave New World' was a brilliant trenchant satire, written on the premise that the human race has only two alternatives viz. being either insane or lunatic. 'The Brave New World' was a fantasy fable. 'Island' published in 1962, 30 years after 'Brave New World' was written by a much mellowed Huxley. Huxley's premise had changed from the earlier one. He believed that humanity had a third choice, of being sane. 'Island' is no satire, less fable like, the socio-political, economic system exposited in it is less fable like, and though might seem very difficult to realize, is not impossible if we all manage to be sane!

Pala is a tiny (fable) island in the Indian Ocean, where it's small community has made the best of western and eastern worlds. The inhabitants are basically Shivaite-Buddhists. They have adopted the western technology but not to the extent that the technology becomes dehumanizing and prevents them being full human beings. They have steered clear of the three pillars of the western prosperity:- armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence. They have of course their tradition of empathy for all the living beings, their respect for the environment, habitat and the practice of their traditional mind science. The Community believes that God is immanent, man is potentially transcendent. The island's enlightened community have attempted the enormous folly of trying to make a marriage between Hell and Heaven and succeeded at it. They have blended their tradition with western technology in a perfect synthesis. Rather, one of their prime credo is making the best of all the worlds.

The book opens in a dramatic fashion. An English journalist on a secret mission to push the Oil interests of his tycoon boss is regaining consciousness an early morning on the fable island Pala. He had the previous afternoon procured a boat at the neighboring island (a separate country) and planned to sail into the Pala harbor. Unfortunately, he gets caught in a squall. Instead of sailing into the Pala harbor, he is washed ashore the wrong side of the Island with steep hills to be negotiated to reach habitation. Even as he is descending in the failing light of dusk, negotiating the slippery rain washed rocks, he espies snakes (not necessarily venomous) slithering around. Probably finding live snakes around for the first time in his life, he panics, loses hold and falls. Fortunately for him, this fall to the ground is cushioned by an obstructing tree. Still badly bruised, shaken and utterly terrified he loses consciousness. He regains consciousness the next morning with two Palanese urchins - a ten year old girl and a four year old boy- solicitously looking down upon him. The girl sends off the boy to get help. Meanwhile she feeds the famished journalist with bananas. The journalist is still carrying the phantom images of the slithering snakes though they are no more around. How the ten year old successfully administers therapy to the adult journalist to rid of the snakes crawling in his mind is one of the high points of the novel!

One of the other high points in the novel: - the character Lakshmi, in last dying stages of terminal cancer is treated by her relatives. Death is treated as any other incident in life. It is as if Lakshmi's relatives are seeing her off for a long journey she is undertaking. She is helped in every way to live to the very fullest even as she is dying. Huxley had been deeply influenced by the book 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead' so popular in the west during 1920s & 1930s. This particular episode seems to have been inspired by 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead'.

Huxley concludes the book on somewhat tragic but realistic note.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read!
One of the best books I have read is Aldous Huxley's 'Island'. It is a take-off on the utopia theme and not his first one on it, the earlier one being 'The Brave New World'. His 'The Brave New World' was a brilliant trenchant satire, written on the premise that the human race has only two alternatives viz. being either insane or lunatic. 'The Brave New World' was a fantasy fable. 'Island' published in 1962, 30 years after 'Brave New World' was written by a much mellowed Huxley. Huxley's premise had changed from the earlier one. He believed that humanity had a third choice, of being sane. 'Island' is no satire, less fable like, the socio-political, economic system exposited in it is less fable like, and though might seem very difficult to realize, is not impossible if we all manage to be sane!

Pala is a tiny (fable) island in the Indian Ocean, where it's small community has made the best of western and eastern worlds. The inhabitants are basically Shivaite-Buddhists. They have adopted the western technology but not to the extent that the technology becomes dehumanizing and prevents them being full human beings. They have steered clear of the three pillars of the western prosperity:- armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence. They have of course their tradition of empathy for all the living beings, their respect for the environment, habitat and the practice of their traditional mind science. The Community believes that God is immanent, man is potentially transcendent. The island's enlightened community have attempted the enormous folly of trying to make a marriage between Hell and Heaven and succeeded at it. They have blended their tradition with western technology in a perfect synthesis. Rather, one of their prime credo is making the best of all the worlds.

The book opens in a dramatic fashion. An English journalist on a secret mission to push the Oil interests of his tycoon boss is regaining consciousness an early morning on the fable island Pala. He had the previous afternoon procured a boat at the neighboring island (a separate country) and planned to sail into the Pala harbor. Unfortunately, he gets caught in a squall. Instead of sailing into the Pala harbor, he is washed ashore the wrong side of the Island with steep hills to be negotiated to reach habitation. Even as he is descending in the failing light of dusk, negotiating the slippery rain washed rocks, he espies snakes (not necessarily venomous) slithering around. Probably finding live snakes around for the first time in his life, he panics, loses hold and falls. Fortunately for him, this fall to the ground is cushioned by an obstructing tree. Still badly bruised, shaken and utterly terrified he loses consciousness. He regains consciousness the next morning with two Palanese urchins - a ten year old girl and a four year old boy- solicitously looking down upon him. The girl sends off the boy to get help. Meanwhile she feeds the famished journalist with bananas. The journalist is still carrying the phantom images of the slithering snakes though they are no more around. How the ten year old successfully administers therapy to the adult journalist to rid of the snakes crawling in his mind is one of the high points of the novel!

One of the other high points in the novel: - the character Lakshmi, in last dying stages of terminal cancer is treated by her relatives. Death is treated as any other incident in life. It is as if Lakshmi's relatives are seeing her off for a long journey she is undertaking. She is helped in every way to live to the very fullest even as she is dying. Huxley had been deeply influenced by the book 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead' so popular in the west during 1920s & 1930s. This particular episode seems to have been inspired by 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead'.

Huxley concludes the book on somewhat tragic but realistic note.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Satire
Huxley gives us a lot to ponder in his "utopian" schemata. His satirical and humorous protagonist, Farnaby, was hilarious. His snide comments and thoughts made me laugh out loud at times. I felt Huxley's writing style was much clearer and more accessible than A Brave New World and as a result I liked Island much better. Island reflects a great deal of cynicism about America and the world. Huxley attacks, among other things (1) consumerism; (2) the cold war ideology of both the capitalistic west and the socialist east; (3) religious suppression of the right of others to develop and practice their own sexual and other "private" mores and the use of the state to further this suppression; (4) violence and militarism clothed in religion, progress (technological and moral), and so called freedom; (5) political and social corruption of corporatism and the power of corporations and those that control them to use their resources for political power.

The key point I feel Huxley makes is that capitalistic or corporate power in the west is able to use it vast resources to obtain what it desires. Corporate power uses money, religion, and the greed of the State to pursue its ends. Had the leaders of Pala given into greed then the Island would not have suffered its eventual fate at the hands of an outside force--but would have suffered an erosion of its "utopian" nature and everyone except the greedy would have lost in the end anyway. But either way it is clear that the corporate interests will take what it desires and use the tools of religious fervor and state power to further their own ends. Its key resource, however, is still MONEY---and in pursuit of what?----more MONEY. The happiness of everyday citizens is sacrificed at the altar of corporate greed.

Island was published in 1962 and really reflects Huxley's views, I suspect, of the latter half of the 1950's. Interestingly, the 1950's are marked by (1) the true rise of consumerism and corporate exploitation of American demand for goods; (2) entrenchment of the Cold War and suppression of individual rights and free thought based on ideological extremism (McCarthy, Hoover, John Foster Dulles, Castro, and Stalin are all towering figures of the 1950s); (3) the emerging battle and public expression of a new set of sexual mores which met a backlash by conservative/religious segments of society; (4) The emergence of cold war capitalism fueled both by American defense corporations and the attempt of the Soviet Union to catch up with the west in terms of industrialization and military might (Eisenhower, during his Presidency, warned of the might of the military industrial complex). Some argue the entire cold war was generated by the greed of American defense industries (this is far-fetched in my opinion).

The scary thing about all this--the same set of circumstances can be said to have exit today, despite the end of the cold war. Certainly, the power of corporations to dominate the political agenda and decision making process is still intact. Whether this limits or threatens individual liberties and democracy is another question. Certainly it did in the 1950's in America. It is amazing to me the correlation between the 1950's and the 1980's at the height of the cold war in American History. (For more information on the 1950's in this country I would recommend a perusal of David Halberstam's The 1950's). Huxley's book is as timely and poignant today as it was in 1962. The right or ability of an individual and a society to choose how it is going to live and progress is as impeded today as it was in the early 1960's---and by the same forces.

Some rogue comments:

1. I found the discussion of "maithuna" or the "yoga of love" to be quite humorous. I especially liked Farnaby's snide thought "What shall be do to be saved? The answer is in four letters". Is there really such a thing as "maithuna"?

2. The use of mind altering drugs for experiencing a different slice of reality was provocative. Huxley wrote a book called "The Doors of Perception" which I have not read. I found these elements of the book to be interesting and really wanted more explication on the subject.

3. The commentary on population control was also quite timely then and now. This exchange I found quite clear and commonsensical:

Farnaby: "You seem to have solved your economic problems [on the Island] pretty successfully".

Dr. Robert: "Solving them wasn't difficult. To begin with, we never allowed ourselves to produce more children than we could feed, clothe, house, and educate into something like full humanity".

4. One of the scary pitfalls of the book is the Island's use of psychological drugs to control and shape the personality of its children so they don't grow up to be problems. Huxley, I felt, placed too much trust in science and medicine in this instance. This seemed to me like something not out of a peaceful utopian society but "A Clockwork Orange" (see p. 154-155 of the Perennial Library paperback edition for the reference-about 2/3rds into chapter 9).

5. I know little about Buddhism and Yoga so those parts of the books I did not get as much out of, although I found them of interest. I wonder why he chose forms of these religions as those most applicable to his utopia as opposed to atheism or some form of spiritualistic religion other than Buddhism?

One last comment: The ending was perfect in its cynicism. (...)

4-0 out of 5 stars The other side of "A brave new world "
This science fiction novel walks around the speculative situation about a natural (not social and not even political choice) population distribution, in agreement his skills and gifts.
Naturally many facts occur in this interesting tale , but the most remarkable issue is to make us think the elusive dreams about a better and even pacific society. ... Read more


163. Vision of the Future (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn, Book Two)
by TIMOTHY ZAHN
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553578790
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 59104
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For a beleaguered Empire, desperate times call for desperate measures. Sowing discord among the fragile coalition of the New Republic, remnants of the once powerful Empire make one last play for victory. Having implicated the Bothans in the genocide of the Caamas, they now plan an attack on Han and Leia that is also to be blamed on the Bothans. If they are successful, the New Republic will be torn asunder. To prevent inevitable disaster, Luke, Leia, Han, and their friends must prove the Bothans innocent and reveal the Empire's treachery. But time is running out.

The cunning major Tierce has joined with the ambitious Moff Disra in the Empire's master plan. At its heart lies the most elaborate con of all: the rumor that the legendary Grand Admiral Thrawn, long believed dead, has returned to lead the Empire to a prophesied triumph. The news of Thrawn's return is already rallying Imperial forces against the New Republic.

As Leia travels to a secret rendezvous with an Imperial commander who claims to want peace, Han and Lando Calrissian journey into enemy territory to learn the truth of Caamas destruction. Meanwhile, Luke and Mara Jade infiltrate a hidden fortress where Thrawn's most fanatical followers await his call to arms. And Talon Karrde returns to his underworld past and a brutal crime lord whose knowledge may save the Republic. But it is the truth about Thrawn that is most important. In his hands--alive or dead--rests the fate of the New Republic.

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Reviews (321)

5-0 out of 5 stars Zahn does it again!
WOW! I thought Zahn's Thrawn trilogy couldn't be beat, but I was wrong! "Vision of the Future" summed up the Star Wars books beautifully and gets you ready for the New Order books. Zahn's plot is, as always, amazing. He takes the characters we already know and love, and gives them new life. We see Luke as we never have before, discover Karrde's secret past, and meet the REAL Mara Jade.

In Vision, the New Republic is on the brink of civil war over a long forgotten issue. While in the Empire, Pelleon plans for peace. But neither side realizes the danger lurking in the fringe...

I thought the story was excellent, especially the Luke/Mara relationship! Star Wars needs some more of that kind romance. I thought the Luke/Mara scenes were refreshing, beautiful, and a wonderful plot twist. I hope to see more of these two in future books!
I give this book five stars and it deserves every one! THANK-YOU ZAHN!

5-0 out of 5 stars The best Star Wars Book so far!
Mr. Zahn has outdone himself. The conclusion of the exciting "hand of Thrawn" series is just about perfect. It reads quickly, has plenty of action, great dialogue, and even good romance. An additional bonus is just about every character related to Star Wars is in this book. From Corran Horn, Karrde, Mara, Wedge, Lando, the droids, Luke, Leia, Han, the Noghri, Pellaeon, etc... The only exception is that Chewbacca is away throughout the entire series, but you really don't miss him because there is too much going on. Everything from an emminent civil war, secret Imperial raids, secret fortresses, undercover espionage, and the usual space battle keeps you glued to the book until the last page is finished. Luckily, there aren't even any really slow or boring parts that unfortunately creep into most of the recent Star Wars novels. Welcome back, Timothy Zahn!

5-0 out of 5 stars great enhancement to the universe [no spoilers]
"Vision of the Future" is the final second novel in The Hand of Thrawn series approximately ten years following The Thrawn Trilogy. It concludes the story in the tradition of creativity and intrigue from the prior novels.

Although the preceding novel has more political developments dominating the storyline, this book returns to creative battles and stunning revelations. The Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker duo along with Major Tierce and Admiral Pellaeon sections of the storyline are interesting. In addition, the use of High Councilor Leia Organa Solo's Jedi skill is exciting.

I was aggravated when I calculated New Republic characters heading in four different directions searching for the same thing without consulting each other. Considering the closeness of the group such behavior is peculiar. A couple loose ends are available for future stories whereas one piece of information regarding Grand Admiral Thrawn could have been left alone to leave a greater mystery.

I recommend this series to any fan of the Star Wars universe.

Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Departing on a High Note
It's tough to classify Timothy Zahn's Hand of Thrawn Duology. Sure, it's got all the space battling, swashbuckling, hero derring-do that you'd expect from the franchise, but it's also something inherently individual. In Specter of the Past, Zahn took the road less-traveled, creating a story apart from the usual "New Superweapon" cliche, adding lots of political intrigue and shadow games to the mix.

What readers got was a sort of Tom Clancy Star Wars novel, if you will. The characters and situations felt incredibably real, despite the fantastic setting, and the plot threads and character arcs were more than believable. There was a feeling in the book that, because this was so different, the outcome could also be different, forever changing the Star Wars universe.

And it is, and it does. In Vision of the Future, the opus of Zahn's Hand of Thrawn Duology, there is easily enough material for two books, or more. Encompassing nearly 700 pages, Vision manages to both drive the narrative along at a perfect pace, but also deepens the mythos of the universe, the characters, and the history of what went before the rise of the Galactic Empire.

The book starts, as does all of Zahn's Thrawn-related material, aboard the Star Destroyer Chimera, as seen through the eyes of Admiral Pelleon. From here, we are swept through the galaxy, from Coruscaunt to the Bothan's home planet, from the Imperial strondhold of Bastion to the planet Nirauan, a mysterious and dangerous fortress with links to Thrawn's past.

Han and Lando continue their search for the truth about the supposed return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the greatest threat the New Republic has ever faced, and also seek the truth about the Bothan involvement in the massacre of an entire planet. Leia struggles to hold the New Republic together as factions split over the scandal and the galaxy is once again pushed to the brink of civil war.

Luke and Mara, on the other side of the cosmos, fight their own battles. Making their way through the mysterious fortress known as The Hand of Thrawn, they must avoid hostile aliens, entrenched Imperials, uncover the secrets of Thrawn's past and future, and come to terms with their feelings toward one another.

Here, Zahn brings the galactic conflict as we know it to a brilliant close, while setting the stage for the darker New Jedi Order series. Even as he weaves a tale of power and peace, he also deals with important issues with the main characters; namely the relationship between Luke and Mara. I for one was glad to see this resolved, as NONE of the previous books even tried to add anything to these characters who Zahn had set up in his original trilogy with an almost painful amount of foreshadowing. It was infinitely satisfying to read the beginning of the next stage of their wandering relationship. Bravo.

All in all, I couldn't ask for a better way to see the old guard of Star Wars books depart, of think of a better high note to hit while doing so. With some of the most reading, best humor, frenetic action, and pleasently subtle series references, Vision of the Future is just that, as well as being a wonderful memory of the past.

Thank you Timothy Zahn. The Force will be with you. Always.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yet ANOTHER 5 Star effort from Star Wars' Best author
'Vision of the Future' is a stunning conclusion to this 2-book cycle which ended all too soon, and hinted of things to come -- hopefully sooner rather than later (rumor has it Zahn will return to the Star Wars Universe in early '04). Internal conflict within the New Republic...the possible resurrection of Grand Admiral Thrawn...and the relationship between Mara Jade & Luke finally (FINALLY!!!!) comes full circle. Who is framing the Bothans for an unspeakable act which happened many years before? ARE they in fact innocent, or did they conspire to destroy a planet? As much as we love to hate Borsk and his fellow Bothans, if they are innocent, whoever is responsible ought to be brought up on charges. I absolutely loved the more detail behind these characters originally fleshed out in Zahn's original Trilogy. Everyone from Talon Karrde to Captain Pellaeon receive extra attention here, and thankfully Mara & Luke's relationship is given a chance to go where us fans have been hoping it would go since the end of 'The Last Command'. Nobody, and I do mean NOBODY can spin a Star Wars yarn like Timothy Zahn. One reviewer even stated that you can almost hear John Williams soundtrack playing in the background as you read his books, and I SWEAR that I could hear it several times as I read along.

Everything that makes Star Wars one of (if not the) most popular science fiction series of all-time is all here. Zahn doesn't write about just a bunch of characters named Luke, Leia & Han, but he captures the very essence of what made the original 3 movies so darned entertaining: their humor...their quirky personal attributes and a keen eye for recreating exactly what that character really would be saying if it had been written by George Lucas himself. While Zahn wasn't totally able to re-create the magic his original trilogy managed to pull off (that is in part due to the fact that he had to write 2 novels incorporating information that came out in books following his original 3, and those novels that followed just plain reeked, for the most part) he DID manage to thoroughly entertain me during the 4 days it took me to finish up this book. HIGH marks indeed for helping to bring me back to a time when I actually enjoyed reading Star Wars. Mr. Zahn, please give us more. ... Read more


164. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
by Robert A. Heinlein
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312863551
Catlog: Book (1997-06-15)
Publisher: Orb Books
Sales Rank: 3182
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, "modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean." He won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, a record that still stands. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the last of these Hugo-winning novels, and it is widely considered his finest work.

It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people--a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic--who become the rebel movement's leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution's ultimate success.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom.
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Reviews (173)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read Supplying Some Heavy Hits
I have read three other Heinlein books, two of which are considered his masterpieces. Moon is a Harsh Mistress really outshines them all. Mike the intelligent computer is an interesting character, the godlike child who helps the libertarian revolution. Professor De La Paz is a radical with a heart of gold, typical Heinlein "old man with philosophies that no one in the bood ever truly understands." And Manuel O'Kelly makes a great unwilling narrator and participant. The book is about American ideas (attempting, of course, to debunk them), morality, love, friendship, and most importantly, what it is to be human. It is also about what it is that a just society has to be based on. Here are the Loonies, far away from home, starting something new, and in that new beginning they have a chance to truly find the basic needs and rights of a society. Heinlein, through the Prof, explores their options thoroughly, thought-provokingly, and humorously. He has a light touch when needed and is heavy when that is needed. Read this book and you will definitely be hit by the moonrocks!

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting, thought provoking and amusing tale
I was very skeptical of this book after reading some of the reviews here. Overall, I feel I got my money's worth reading this book. Was it the best book I ever read? No, but it was amusing, worth the money I spent, and worth the time it took to read it.

I found myself stopping and thinking about some of the points Heinlein made throughout the story. I found myself relating to Mannie time and again. As an idealistic libertarian who has grown cynical with age, this story seemed to take my ideas and beliefs, jump ahead 75 years and say "what if".

The story is somewhat dated. We have already advanced technologically beyond parts of the story. Story includes Soviet Union. Nothing too distracting.

Most of the controversy I have heard about this book is the "bizarre" marriages and sexual relationships in the story. Look, the author was trying to make a point about human nature and adaptation under extreme conditions. When men outnumber women 10 to 1, multiple husbands makes mathematical sense.

As a Christian, yes, I find this view of marriage offensive, but hey, it is fiction. It was an interesting exploration of one possible future.

5-0 out of 5 stars A stunning achievement in hard-science and hard-politics
Written at the peak of Robert A. Heinlein's creative powers in the mid-sixties, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" ranks with "Stranger in a Strange Land" as his most popular and acclaimed novel. Heinlein was furiously ingenious at this stage in his career, and this novel is an incredible feat of imagination, intellect, and writing talent. It is, however, a difficult and heavy novel (much like "Stranger in a Strange Land"), loaded with hard science and even harder politics: Heinlein at his best is a writer who attracts and repels the reader at the same time, and no one could read "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" without forming some very strong opinions about it.

The story follows a revolution on the lunar colonies against Earth authority. The lunar colony was originally a penal colony, but even though the lunar residents ("Loonies" as they call themselves) are no longer technically prisoners, they have become economic slaves of the Earth. Also, because of their adaptation to the Moon's lower gravity, they cannot safely return to live on Earth, so their exile is a permanent one. Amidst growing but unorganized discontent amongst the Loonies, four remarkable individuals begin the meticulous planning of a revolution to free the Moon: Mannie, an engineer and our narrator; Prof. de la Paz; fiery Wyoming "Wyoh" Knott; and a newly sentient supercomputer named Mike. Starting from this small group, the resistance spreads across the Moon. But how can the nearly defenseless colonists and miners face down the juggernaut of the nations of Earth? Mike has an ingenious solution: "Throw rocks at 'em"...literally!

Told through Mannie's point of view, the novel is written in a clipped, abbreviated style that represents the Loonie version of English: many pronouns and articles are dropped, leading to sentences like: "Stomach was supposed to be empty. But I filled helmet with sourest, nastiest fluid you would ever go a long way to avoid." This takes a few pages to get accustomed to, but soon you won't notice the odd style at all and accept it as part of the book's revolutionary spirit.

Heinlein unfolds the revolution in a meticulously detailed style, using lengthy conversations between the characters about how to step-by-step overthrow the authority of an overwhelming power. Heinlein not only provides in-depth details on the technology, but also of the philosophy of revolution and the unusual customs of the Loonies (such as their group marriages). Like most of Heinlein's great novels, this is a trip for the mind, and you have to be prepared to do plenty of thinking along with the passages of action. The novel does tend to drag somewhat in the middle, but the last hundred pages are feverish with both action and ideas.

Where Heinlein really triumphs in this novel is in the characterization of Mike the computer. Mike, along with Hal from "2001," is one of great artificial intelligences in science fiction. You will quickly forget, as Mannie does, that Mike is a disembodied voice from a machine, and instead think of him (or sometimes 'her') as another character. Mike's growth from his shaky beginnings as a thinking being is fascinating and one of Heinlein's great achievements as an author.

However, if you are new to Robert A. Heinlein (or science fiction in general), this isn't the novel to start with (and neither is "Stranger in a Strange Land"). You should ease yourself into Heinlein's brilliant mind first through his novels from the 1950s, most of which were aimed at teenagers but are nonetheless wonderful books that anyone can enjoy: "Have Space Suit -- Will Travel," "Starman Jones," and "Citizen of the Galaxy" are good places to start. Also recommended: "The Puppet Masters" and Heinlein's short stories from the 1930s and 40s collected in "The Man Who Sold the Moon" and "The Green Hills of Earth." You should definitely read "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" -- it's an essential classic of the genre -- but you may need to build up to it. After all, as Loonies say: "TANSTAAFL!" ("There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!")

4-0 out of 5 stars Well written if somewhat dated...
Although originally written in the 60's, this book was still interesting to read even in 2004. Obviously, some of the technology seems a little out dated - but the book is mostly about politics, and politics never really change.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cast the first stone
I am not much of a science fiction reader or film watcher but when my friend bought THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS for my birthday, it instantly became one of my favorite books. Not one of my favorite science fiction books, one of my favorite books period. And what makes it such is its sturdy character development and plot development. All the characters are believeable and likeable. This includes Mike the computer. His desire to understand humor and humans must have been revolutionary for the time the book was written.

I have heard of Heinlein's political leanings and how they affected his writing. However, I did not sense that the novel was a veiled attempt at spewing a manifesto. The story is simply about humans wanting to be treated as such, and having to fight for that treatment. Mike's suggestion to "throw rocks" at the oppressors was absolutely brilliant. It made me think of the Biblical line: "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone". Maybe there's a link, maybe not. I'm sure there are dozens of master's theses out there on this subject. In any event, this is a brilliant work of fiction of any kind! Read it! ... Read more


165. Earth Abides
by GEORGE R. STEWART
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449213013
Catlog: Book (1986-09-12)
Publisher: Fawcett
Sales Rank: 14998
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.
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Reviews (171)

4-0 out of 5 stars Survivors of a terrible plague attempt to rebuild society.
Earth Abides is a book concerning a plague that kills off most of humanity and the survivors' attempts to reconstruct civilization. The pace of the book is rapid in the beginning and the reader doesn't have to get very far before they realize something terrible has happened. We are initially with one character, Isherwood Williams, who seems emotionally well suited to survive this tragedy in which 99% of everyone has died in the space of two to three weeks. The story continues with Ish traveling across the country looking for survivors and eventually returning to his home in Berkeley, CA where he meets a woman, Em, and they marry each other. Slowly a group of people calling themselves "The Tribe" forms and Ish tries to lead his small group back towards civilization and away from a more "primitive" existence.

Strengths are the good character development as well as interesting asides on how the world is readjusting to no longer having man dominate it. It offers some interesting insights on human nature and societies in general and as a disaster book ranks highly on the list. In a sense it is like The Stand except for that this plague is strictly natural, not a tool for a climatic battle between good and evil. The plague simply comes and kills humanity off and that is that.

Some of the negatives are found in the style of writing. This book was written in the late 1940's and the language used is rather dry. The author seems to go overboard on his word usage and sometimes seems to be talking down to the audience a bit.

Still, if you like disaster stories you should pick up Earth Abides, it is well worth any effort.

Robert Merkamp

5-0 out of 5 stars Men come and go, but earth abides.
First published in 1949, this novel won the 1951 International Fantasy Award in Fiction (the first one awarded) even though this is not a true fantasy novel. The International Fantasy Awards were originated by four British science fiction and fantasy fans (Leslie Flood, John Beynon Harris, G. Ken Chapman, and Frank A. Cooper) for the 1951 British science fiction convention. The awards lasted between 1951 and 1957. George R. Stewart (1895-1980) was a Professor of English at the University of California in Berkeley. This well-read novel is about life after a plague has killed all but a few people on Earth. Isherwood Williams, a graduate student in geography, returns from a trip to the mountains to find everyone dead. He travels throughout the land and finds a female survivor. They settle down in the Bay Area around San Francisco and a small community grows around them. As time goes by, Isherwood tries to teach the children reading and the knowledge of the past. As the decades go by, he discovers that he is the only one who recalls the greatness of the past. Humans have become a band of hunter-gatherers. History has come full circle. "...men go and come, but earth abides." Carl Sandburg considered it one of the best novels of its time. It is regarded by many as a masterpiece and was a precursor for many later disaster novels (note that one of the voters of the International Fantasy Award was J. B. Harris, whose pseudonym was John Wyndham and author of another classic disaster novel, "The Day of the Triffids." One of the earlier reviewers suggested that Wyndham was a better disaster writer. But, "Triffids" came out in 1951, and Wyndham still chose "Earth Abides."). The name "Isherwood" is a direct reference to Ishi, the last surviving member of a California Indian tribe who was brought to the University by Kroeber of the Anthropology Department (many science fiction enthusiasts are very familiar with Kroeber's daughter, Ursula K. Le Guin). Ishi is still quite famous in the study of native American cultures. This book has had such an impact in the development of the science fiction genre that it is now required reading for all serious students of science fiction and speculative literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerfully Tragic
In 1957, Nevil Shute wrote, "On The Beach," the quietly heart wrenching drama of the graceful farewell of Mankind after World War Three. In 1959, Pat Frank countered with the triumphantly defiant "Alas, Babylon!" telling us of Mankind surviving World War Three, although in a much-reduced way. Stephen King, in 1978, gave us "The Stand," where the near-end of Mankind comes thanks to a Man-made plague.

All of these were preceded by George Stewart's "Earth Abides". The near-end of Man comes from a plague, and the story focuses on the survival of a small, diverse band of people in California. The group is led by a reluctant hero, with the unlikely name of Isherwood Williams. Ish is an introspective, intellectual loner who is prone to rumination. He ends up surrounded by a group of good, ordinary people, who have to figure out how to live in the slowly-decaying ruins of a suddenly-lost civilization.

Whereas "On the Beach" is a graceful farewell and "Alas, Babylon!" is a defiance of annihilation and "The Stand" sees the subtotal extinction of Man as a pruning in preparation for a showdown by Good and Evil, "Earth Abides" is a well-written, character-deep lament for the death of civilization. Technically, the story is a gradual but steady and logical unfolding of the realization, by Ish the protagonist, that, while Homo sapiens might not be dead, the world built by Homo sapiens is gone forever. The book could have been subtitled, "Let Us Mourn For Man As Master of the World."

The book has five sections. First, we see the initial impact of the plague, through the eyes of the then-solitary Ish. He finally finds a small group of fellow survivors, and they form a community. Next, comes a small subsection that summarizes the first years of the community. Then, the third section shows us that, after seeing the little group grow and, in a very limited fashion, find prosperity and contentment, the seeds of decline begin to bloom. After this third (second large) section, there is another small, transition subsection, summarizing a marked group of heart wrenching losses. I found this little section overwhelmingly tragic. The last major section tells us . . . I will not give the end away.

Is this a good, or even a great, book? I did give it five stars. It is well-written and, while there are a few anachronisms (e.g., no cellular telephones, no computers, oil furnaces) and one logical problem inadequately or unrealistically addressed (i.e., where did all the bodies go?), overall, "Earth Abides" is quietly powerful and unforgettable. When I finished reading "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke, I vowed to never re-experience that brilliantly terrible tragedy again. I make the same vow with "Earth Abides". It is great, and it overwhelmed me.

5-0 out of 5 stars After the pestilence Humankind abides.
I had read this book several times in the past and before reviewing it I read it again.
His author was more than fifty years old when he wrote it. This maturity is perceptible all along this work. The story is situated in a world devastated by a sudden pestilence that annihilates most of the humankind. Taking into account the last SARS epidemic, that jumped abruptly from China to Canada, it doesn't look an impossible scenario.
Isherwood Willams comes down from an isolate spot in the mountains to discover an empty world. He starts a search all across USA, from California to New York and back again. He only find isolate human cells, couples or trios, overwhelmed by catastrophe and in a near catatonic state. Returns to his native town and contemplate with a certain scientific detachment the fading world around him.
Mr. Stewart intercalate brief vignettes describing what happens to dogs, cats, cattle, plants, roads, dams, bridges. Contrasting them with Ish's daily experiences. Little by little the story grip reader's attention and even if action is somehow slow, the book can't be putted down.
Human cells began to approach each other an a rather feeble structure starts to grow up.
This is the story.
The author approaches universal questions about survival and extinction; civilization and savagery; social structure and anomie. He also examines religious values, ethics and the ultimate sense of life itself.
This book gives the reader a lot of stuff to think about. A very enticing read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written
This book reaches across time and avoids the technology trap. It hits home in many circumstances and is an excellent read. I liked its energy and symbolism. It avoids being grim and actually gives you hope for a disastrous future. ... Read more


166. Replay
by Ken Grimwood
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 068816112X
Catlog: Book (1998-08-05)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 8763
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jeff Winston, forty-three, didn't know he was a replayer until he died and woke up twenty-five years younger in his college dorm room; he lived another life. And died again. And lived again and died again -- in a continuous twenty-five-year cycle -- each time starting from scratch at the age of eighteen to reclaim lost loves, remedy past mistakes, or make a fortune in the stock market. A novel of gripping adventure, romance, and fascinating speculation on the nature of time, Replay asks the question: "What if you could live your life over again?" ... Read more

Reviews (205)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful look at a man reliving his life again and again
Ken Grimwood's Replay is the 1988 World Fantasy Award winner. It's about a man who dies in 1988, only to wake up 25 years in his past, replaying his life. He retains all his memories. First time around, he makes a fortune by betting on remembered sporting events, but when he tries to do something major (save Kennedy), he is frustrated. He decides he can't really make significant changes. He builds a decent life, then in 1988 - wham! he dies again. This keeps happening, and he goes through several permutations: a wasted cycle of drugs and sex, a careful rebuilding of a relationship he had previously messed up, and finally he meets another replayer, a woman. Working together, they try to change history for the better, with unintended consequences. Soon they realize that they are coming back later and later in time. What will happen when there replays start in 1988?

The novel is pretty good, but not great. The best part is the examination of what it really means to live a "good" life. What makes a life worth it? On the down side, the characterization is a bit thin and convenient: Jeff, the hero, for one example, is apparently a babe magnet: he never has serious trouble getting together with whichever beautiful woman the plot needs him to get together with. But Grimwood does a decent job of ringing most of the reasonable changes on the idea. He never explains things (how could he?), and I'd quibble with his assertion that the small changes Jeff and Pamela make wouldn't have larger overall effects. (Among other things, I think they risk changing the future enough so that their "psychic" investments and avoidance of plane crashes, etc., won't work, but Grimwood posits that they do: except in the one case where they purposely try to make major changes.) The resolution is pretty well handled. I liked it, but not as much as its reputation would have seemed to indicate I would.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite book
This book was recommended to me by a friend, which was recommended to her by someone else. I picked it up to help kill the time in my old inane job, which involved sitting or standing, depending on how I felt, about 70% of the time. Needless to say, I couldn't stop reading this. Customers had to go out of their way to get my attention sometimes. Read it at work as well as at home, where I'm mostly indulgent in distractions like video games, the TV, and the DVD player. This book became more than a distraction. It takes you in, and it holds you in a story you can't get enough of, even after you finish. Jeff Winston has a heart attack in his office at the age of forty-three, and wakes up in his college dorm room at the age of eighteen. From this moment begins Jeff's journey of having to grow up again, making different decisions in his life with results both rewarding and painful. He finds love, money, abandonment, betrayal, and loss. Each life he lives is a new revelation to himself and of course, the reader. Exploring different possibilities of what if this happened and such, what if you made a different decision in a certain point in your life, will be questions you will begin to ponder, or ponder further, especially if you're a huge fan of the TV series Sliders.

5-0 out of 5 stars LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST...
This is a World Fantasy Award winning book that should appeal to those who are interested in alternate realities and time travel themes. This is the second time that I have read this book, and I love it as much the second time as I did the first. Time has not diminished the capacity of this book to entertain the reader.

The book has a wonderfully intriguing plot. What would happen if one were to have the opportunity to relive one's life after death? That is exactly what happens to Jeff Winston, a forty- three year old man who is trapped in a stale and loveless marriage with a dead-end job as the icing on his personal cake.

In 1988, Jeff has a fatal heart attack and wakes up in 1963 as his younger self, an eighteen year old college student. After his initial shock wears off, he realizes that he remembers what the future holds. Using that knowledge, he goes about trying to improve his life the second time around, only to die again at forty-three and have to replay his life, over and over.

Along the way, Jeff tries to correct his mistakes in judgment and develops a new perspective on life. He also discovers that he is not alone in terms of the ability to replay one's life and finds a soul mate who shares a similar fate. Jeff ultimately discovers true love, romance, adventure, and a deep appreciation of life itself. This is a wonderful book that will keep the reader turning the pages. Bravo!

5-0 out of 5 stars Throuroughly enjoyable
I found this book to be completely enjoyable. As should know the book is about a man who is forced to replay his life from the age of 18 to 40 something over and over again. The book is not so much about the concept as it is about the way we view our life and the choices we make. The sci/fi is just the backdrop through which we get to see what the characters do the impact their decisions have on life.

The book is not perfect. There are some snippets of conversation that do not seem believable. This slightly detracts from the believability of the characters. In some areas the pace slows down. However, these are very minor quibbles in what otherwise is a great book.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Second Time Around
What if you died at age 43...and then came back to life, as yourself, at age 18, with full recollection of your earlier life? What if you could live most of your life over again? Would you change anything? Would you make the same mistakes? These are some of the questions facing Jeff Winston, who died of a heart attack in 1988 while on the telephone with his wife. Instead of resting in peace however, he revived. Jeff comes to in his old dorm room at Emory University in 1963. He has become a "replayer." And this is the beginning of a series of replays in which Jeff will have the opportunity to live his life over and over and over again. Is this a blessing or a curse?

I was quite taken with this literate novel's theme, the humanity of the characters and the choices they make. The main characters, Jeff and Pamela Phillips, a fellow "replayer," are well developed personalities and their thoughts and actions drive the plot. Their dilemma is deeply felt. They are on a seemingly never-ending cycle which they cannot understand or make sense of except on the most elementary level. Their bewilderment and struggle to live better lives, and to reunite each time around makes for some emotional reading.

In "Replay" Ken Grimwood has touched on many of our fantasies regarding immortality, reincarnation, time travel, the acquisition of wealth and power, love, lust, creativity, hedonism and the meaning of life. Most important, he touches on how very precious life is and how we should all make the most of the time we have.
JANA ... Read more


167. Star Wars Chronicles
by Deborah Fine, Aeon Inc.
list price: $150.00
our price: $94.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081181498X
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 182251
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This is the ultimate must-have for the Star Wars fanatic. Spendy, but definitely worth it, the Star Wars Chronicles is a big, beautiful book that comes in a gold and black box--it will look great on your coffee table next to your Star Wars Logbook. The Chronicles cover the beloved trilogy of movies in thousands of behind-the-scenes and up-close photographs, many you've never seen before. From the creation of all the aliens to the details of Boba Fett's jet pack, you'll find fascinating facts, drawings, paintings, and photos to pore over endlessly. Each detail is lovingly presented for the appreciation of serious fans, and the whole package will be a delight to collectors. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great if you can afford it, thankfully there's alternatives
Star Wars Chronicles may be the best single Star Wars photo reference out there, but nearly the same thing can be accomplished for much cheaper by getting a few other books: DK's Star Wars Visual Dictionary in combination with Sansweet's Action Figure Archive (as good of a movie photo-reference as it is a toy one). Add to this From Star Wars to Indiana Jones and the Magic of Myth and you have little reason left to crack open an expensive copy of Chronicles.

That being said, here's where this book earns high marks:
1) Cantina Aliens (the best photos anywhere)
2) The Holo-Chess pieces
3) Boba Fett (6 pgs)
4) Vehicle models, including many prototypes & the Tauntaun
5) Jabba's palace aliens

And here is where I find it lacking:
1) Imperial Troop Costumes
2) Costumes of the main characters after Star Wars: ANH
3) Set photos (including the Falcon interior)
4) The Bounty Hunters (aside from Fett)

A fantastic book if you can afford it; but had I not purchased mine used for half price, I doubt I'd be willing to shell out $150 or even $100 for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb photo history but lacking in dialogue strength
... What it lacks in reading material it more than makes up for in photographs. The detail shown makes you appreciate even more, if it were possible, the skill that went into the model making. I spent many happy hours admiring the finite details that this book highlights brilliantly. Also the opportunity to see prototype models as well is more than welcome, giving an insight to the creative process. Overall, I would say that this is an essential purchase for SW fans. But, until we get a book that combines both in depth narrative AND crisp photographs then the ultimate Star Wars book is still waiting to be written.Oh, and it's size and weight makes it murder to read in bed!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Props for the Props
If you want to read in depth articles, skip it.
But if you want superior photos of all things Star Wars, this is the best! Prop builders, costumers, and model builders should all own at least one copy of this book. Well worth the price!

4-0 out of 5 stars Of course it's thebest book about pictures, but...
I must say there were translation problems.First I borrowed a Japanese copy from library and decided to get a English version,because it's already out of print here in Japan.What I found out after camparing both version was very shocking!Author Deborah Fine is eliminating every single mechanial data(about size,weapons and materials etc.)and few columns.This book was first published in Japan about 1995 and translated to English 1997.What the hell this author was doing for two years?If this book had different name,it's absoulutely OK,but once you put the title of "Star Wars Chronicles"that will mean totally different book here in Japan.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!
If you're ever gonna buy a Star Wars book, this is IT!! Amazing details, great pictures and some cute inside stories behing the legendary trilogy...Just save all your money and buy it if you're a fan!!!..I'm speechless and i just cant tell you enough amazing stuff about this book..you will not regret it, that's for sure!!! ... Read more


168. The Well of Stars
by Robert Reed
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765308606
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Tor Books
Sales Rank: 435029
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Book Description

In The Well of Stars, Hugo award-nominated author Robert Reed has written a stunning sequel to his acclaimed novel Marrow. The Great Ship, so vast that it contains within its depths a planet that lay undiscovered for generations, has cruised through the universe for untold billions of years. After a disastrous exploration of the planet, Marrow, the Ship's captains face an increasingly restive population aboard their mammoth vessel.

And now, compounding the captains' troubles, the Ship is heading on an irreversible course straight for the Ink Well, a dark, opaque nebula. Washen and Pamir, the captains who saved Marrow from utter destruction, send Mere, whose uncanny ability to adapt to and understand other cultures makes her the only one for the job, to investigate the nebula before they plunge blindly in.While Mere is away, Pamir discovers in the Ink Well the presence of a god-like entity with powers so potentially destructive that it might destroy the ship and its millions.

Faced with an entity that might prevent the Ship from ever leaving the Ink Well, the Ship's only hope now rests in the ingenuity of the vast crew . . . and with Mere, who has not contacted them since she left the Ship...

With the excitement of epic science fiction adventure set against a universe full of wonders, the odyssey of the Ship and its captains will capture the hearts of science fiction readers.
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169. Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel
by George Orwell, Thomas Pynchon, Erich Fromm, Eric Arthur Blair
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0452284236
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 7455
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Thought Police. Big Brother. Orwellian. These words have entered our vocabulary because of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, 1984. The story of one man's nightmare odyssey as he pursues a forbidden love affair through a world ruled by warring states and a power structure that controls not only information but also individual thought and memory, 1984 is a prophetic, haunting tale.

More relevant than ever before, 1984 exposes the worst crimes imaginable-the destruction of truth, freedom, and individuality.
With a new forward by Thomas Pynchon.
... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Through a dark mirrior, George Orwell's world of 1984
There are many different types of books out there: fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, history, and biography. But only a few of them have the same impact that George Orwell achieves in his book 1984. It seems part paranoid fantasy, part tribute to the malleability of the human psyche, and part historical allegory.
The issues, even presented in the outdated means that they are, still ring true for our modern society. The line between patriotism and nationalism is a thin one, and one that Americans look at each day. But in Orwell's world that line was crossed, and the result was a totalitarian government beyond anything most of us can imagine. With the government controlling all jobs, information, deeds, and actions, even to the smallest thought of their peoples, his world is stark and horrible to those of us used to a freedom. But the steps into that world are not that far away from our modern media control. In his world of 1984 the media serves the purpose of brainwashing the populace at large, and an ongoing war keeps the pressure on. And while some may claim that the media in our own country has the same control over us, in his world, the media is the government, and has no other agenda than that which the government sets forth.
The strange part is that all of this occurs to us, through the eyes of the main character, Winston Smith, as he falls in love with a young woman named Julia. In Oceania, the nation-state in which Smith lives, love is not allowed, and not tolerated. Winston Smith is, in essence, an insurgent in his own nation. He sleeps each night knowing that something is wrong, but not being able to say exactly what. As a reader we can see exactly the horrors to which he is made to endure, and though they might make us scream and shout, he is unmoved. But love draws him out of that sheltered reality, and into open insurgency against his own nation.
This is the beginning of the end for Wilson, as the romance, and the pleasures, are short lived. Like a terrible wave the police of the world he inhabits come crashing down upon him to break his spirit. The way they torture him is gruesome, and should offend anyone who values our human rights. But in the end, Wilson himself comes to love "Big Brother" the face of the state of Oceania. He forgets his insurgency, through a conscious adaptation of his logic processes. He has to know that whatever the nation does is right, even when it contradicts what he has experienced in the recent past. In Orwell's words, Doublethink.
These are just the surface issues that come across in Orwell's vision world the deeper issues are buried. As in, how could such a world come to exist? Well, he explains that after World War 2, there came a mighty nuclear war that wiped out most of the population centers of the world. And that out of the nuclear ash arose a political methodology that swept the nations, a kind of socialism that blended into totalitarianism. This totalitarian regime took hold and great purges, on the scope of the great purges in the early communist USSR, ran across the world as we know it. 3 stable nations were born: Oceania (The Americas, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and England), Eastasia (China, Mongolia, The Indonesian Peninsula, and Japan), and Eurasia (All of Europe save England, and all of the Former USSR). The rest of the world was in a constant state of conquest by one of these 3 super-nations, with the captured populations used as slaves. The constant state of war between the nations served to keep control over the people within the nations.
This is a world devoid of hope. Indeed, devoid of any emotions except hatred, fanatical delight in the war effort, and the obedience to the governments of the nations. This is the worst vision of what the Nazis in Germany hoped to accomplish in their conquests. A world without any laws, but what the government states to be true at that moment. A world where people disappear, but no one notices, or even cares, a world of total devotion to the state as a whole, without regard to creed, race, or social status.
It isn't often that the characters in a book become common usage in the world at large, but the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" has become synonymous with the government watching over its citizens. It shows up today in almost everyday speech. Especially when people are talking right to privacy issues. This seems apt, as privacy is one of the things that Wilson Smith never had, and will never have. Big Brother (the government) watched his every move of his life, recorded his every word, and rifled through his belongings at their leisure. This book is the origin of that phrase.
Orwell gives us a black and white view of the virtues of that world, and its drawbacks. The astounding thing is that it isn't still more talked about. We have, most of us, read this book. But how many too the time to understand the social and political ramifications it speaks of? I will from now on, that is for sure.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you grasp its deeper meanings, 1984 will change your life
This novel has changed my overall views on power, politics, economics and human nature to such an extent that I now look at my life in two parts: before I'd read "1984" and after I'd read "1984." This novel was a sort of enlightenment, or "awakening"for me. While I personally preffer Huxley's "Brave New World," I found the stark portrayal of Orwell's "Oceania" and Winston's fractured individuality to be far more powerful. My review might seem like an overstatement-and perhaps it is. After all, I first read "1984" in October of 2001 while in grade 11 and perhaps that is why it has had such a profound effect on my outlook. "1984" is a must read for ALL people, EVERYWHERE, who value their freedom and understand that so long as strong authoritative infrastructures continue to control our lives (governments, corporations, organized religion)with a blind following, our liberty is truly fleeting.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic
Orwell's 1984 is one of the true masterpieces of the 20th century. It presents a dark world where all individuality suffers under the reign of Big Brother. Orwell had a prophetic gift for seeing how the truth suffers from power, and how everything, including language, is cynically manipulated to suit an agenda. In an age of brutal tyrants, ceaseless propaganda, shameless spin control, revisionary legacy tours, and mass media news cycles, this novel deserves new review. A profound book, and a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Any praise is too little.
It's nearly impossible to overstate the importance of this book. In all the discussion about its influence on modern thought, however, the fact that it's a fantastically good read is often overlooked. Orwell's characters are crisply drawn and the world they inhabit startlingly real.

Certainly it's one of the most important novels of the 20th century; just don't forget that it's also one of the best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deviates corrected for their own good
In a society that has eliminated many imbalances, surplus goods, and even class struggle, there are bound to be deviates; Winston Smith is one of those. He starts out, due to his inability to doublethink, with thoughtcrime. This is in a society that believes a thought is as real as the deed. Eventually he graduates through a series of misdemeanors to illicit sex and even plans to overthrow the very government that took him in as an orphan.
If he gets caught, he will be sent to the "Ministry of Love" where they have a record of 100% cures for this sort of insanity. They will even forgive his past indiscretions.

Be sure to watch the three different movies made from this book:
1984 (1954) Peter Cushing is Winston Smith
1984 (1956) Edmond O'Brien is Winston Smith
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) John Hurt is Winston smith ... Read more


170. White Gold Wielder (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 3)
by STEPHEN R. DONALDSON
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
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Asin: 0345348702
Catlog: Book (1987-10-12)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 8745
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Thomas Covenant knew that despite his failure on the Isle of The One Tree, he had to return to the Land and fight. After a long and arduous journey, fighting all the way, he readies himself for the final showdown with Lord Foul, the Despiser, and begins to understand things he had only just wondered about before....
... Read more

Reviews (40)

4-0 out of 5 stars Covenant finally puts an end to it
White Gold Wielder is the final member of Donaldson's series of six Thomas Covenant novels. In this one, our hero finally gets around to fighting the Despiser himself. But first he has to take care of the Banefire burning from out of Revelstone. So in this book we get two climactic battles and they're both actually quite exciting with unexpected outcomes. I won't give anything away except to mention that the Sandgorgon Nom from The One Tree is back in fine form. Nom was possibly the most interesting character from that book. The One Tree is, in my opinion, the best novel in the second trilogy. White Gold Wielder, though satisfying, doesn't quite match it nor does it compare to The Illearth War (the second book of the first trilogy). It is, however, a much better finish than The Power That Preserves was to the first series.

Unfortunately, characterization takes somewhat of a nosedive from the previous books in the series (though not near as bad as the atrocious nosedive between the two books of Dan Simmons's Endymion series). The Giants in this novel are more than ever before like machines: impossibly strong and devoid of character flaws for the most part. Linden is a headcase and doesn't resemble anyone I know. The "romance" between Covenant and Linden, if you can call it that, seems ridiculously artificial and contrived. These two people never lighten up! They're stone-faced serious at all times and argue with each other more than anything else. Donaldson doesn't manage to convince the reader that they're actually lovers and I think that he should have abandoned the whole relationship from the start and just focused on the action.

The action is done very well and brings this book up to a solid four-star rating. As in all five previous books, Donaldson's development of the swords and sorcery is excellent. The first half of the book is somewhat slow, but the tension builds well as the party gets closer to the waiting enemy. The long sequence under Kiril Threndor will have you turning pages late into the night to find out what happens next.

I'm glad I read through this series. Though not quite as complex as some other offerings in the fantasy genre, the generally dark mood of the prose gives the Covenant novels a unique touch. I think that those in their late teens would get the most enjoyment out of these books.

5-0 out of 5 stars A heartfelt tale
The final book of the 2nd Chronicles does not fail to excite. This book is nothing but amazing. This book is full of so much emotion that it is hard not to feel it inside yourself. This book does take a while to read, only because it is so deep. You have to focus totally on what is happening to realize the vision that Donaldson is trying to invoke in all of us.

Covenant, Linden, and some of the Giants return to the Land in an effort to destroy the ruthless Clave and eventually take a path that leads them to Lord Foul himself. This book is a GREAT ending to the series. Questions are finally answered and plots finally come to a close. Sadness is something that runs rampant through this book. Be prepared for your heart to go out to one of the most troubled heros in the fantasy genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is one of the best stories I have ever read

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Saga. In some ways better than Tolkien
To those out there who like these stories: Buy and read those six books. You will never be the same, and will wish the Land really existed.

5-0 out of 5 stars the final showdown
covenant and the others have to make great decisions fast. things are coming to an end. the fate of the Land will be determined. as always, the plot develops nicely to an ending that doesn't disappoint, and i never seem to be able to guess the ending. is it just me being too dumb? i like to think not. D. gives us a lot of details concerning the Land, but you never know where he will go with them. sometimes they seem irrelevant to me, but it's really not. Lord Foul knows what to do, and he's got help. ... Read more


171. Dystopian Literature
by M. Keith Booker
list price: $105.00
our price: $105.00
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Asin: 0313291152
Catlog: Book (1994-05-30)
Publisher: Greenwood Press
Sales Rank: 514448
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Book Description

Dystopian literature is a potent vehicle for criticizing existing social conditions or political systems, and for warning against the potential negative consequences of utopian thought. This reference is a guide to dystopian theory and literature. It discusses the work of key theorists and summarizes several important utopian works to provide a background. The rest of the book summarizes and analyzes numerous dystopian novels, plays, and films. ... Read more


172. The Art of Halo
by Eric S. Trautmann
list price: $21.95
our price: $15.37
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Asin: 0345475860
Catlog: Book (2004-11-09)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 1048
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173. Cat's Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038533348X
Catlog: Book (1998-09-08)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 1623
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of Vonnegut's major works, this is an apocalyptic tale of the planet's ultimate fate, featuring a cast of unlikely heroes. ... Read more

Reviews (271)

5-0 out of 5 stars This story of the end of the world is pure satirical genius!
Vonnegut displays, once again, his amazing abiltity to interweave various elements into a captivating read for people of all ages! I'm 16 and have read only a small number of Vonnegut novels, and I appreciate his work as much as people three times my age (sorry guys!!) That's the sign of truly great literature. I'm using Cat's Cradle as the basis for a paper that is supposed to pull together all my scholastic subjects under one unifying theme, as introduced in a book of my choice. Vonnegut makes this task easy, with his tying of a fictional religion, Bokononism, with the terrible catastrophe caused by science going too far with the creation of ice-nine, which eventually brings about the end of the world. Vonnegut delievers a serious message about the willingness of mankind to give up everything for lies. Through this fun to read book, he displays genius and complex philosophy. The levels of thought in Cat's Cradle are multi-layered -- you appreciate a comment on its satirical face value, then realiz

4-0 out of 5 stars Magic Act
Kurt Vonnegut is nothing short of a magician. Call him a writer if you must, but it seems unfitting for a man who weaves yarns about new religions, Ukranian midget dancers, apocalyptic chemical inventions, and feet-rubbing fornication. Writer just doesn't do justice.

Regardless, Cat's Cradle is a wonderful read and a heck of a time. Plot, character, and setting, as always in Vonnegut's work, take a back seat to the infectuos humor and unconventional writing style of its author.

The narrator is named Jonah, a writer who wishes to conduct a non-fiction story revolving the lives of people surrounding the Atom Bomb titled "The Day The World Ended". From this moment, our wild ride begins as we are introduced to the great cast of characters, including Dr. Felix Hoenikker, one of the so-called "Fathers" of the Atom Bomb, who may or may not have created a chemical capable of turning all the worlds water supply into ice, his family, the president(dictator)of a small Pacific Island San Marcos, Papa Manzano, and his lovely daughter, all the way down to Bokonon himself, founder of the Bokonon faith which is based in foma (lies). The journey through Vonnegut's mind is a worthwile one, if nothing else for his startling creativity, and hilariously bleak view at humanity. I will leave you with this quote from the great books of Bokonon:

"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way."

Well said.

5-0 out of 5 stars Doomsday was never more fun
This early classic was one of the books that made Vonnegut famous, and probably the first book where he really found successfully his particular style of black comedy. (He aimed for something similar in Sirens of Titan, but that book, with some fine moments, is uneven and significantly less successful.)

The first persom narrator is known only as Jonah, although his first sentence is the allusive, "Call me Ishmael." He is writing a book about the atomic bomb that leads him to research on the late Dr Felix Hoenneker, a brilliant scientist who viewed science with pure curiosity. Never caring about the practical implications of his work, Hoenneker made no distinction between working on the atom bomb and investigating how turtles retract their heads.

Seeking to learn more about Hoenneker from his surviving children, Jonah follows them to the impoverished island nation of San Lorenzo, loosely based on Haiti. There he is introduced to Bokononism, the dominant religion of the island which, among its many unusual features, openly proclaims that it is a fraud. A good part of this rather short novel is a detailed discussion of Bokononism, which is one of Vonnegut's most memorable creations.

While on the island, Jonah also learns more about ice 9, the final project that Hoenneker worked on. Ice 9 is ice with an entirely different crystalline structure from regular ice, which has the trait of freezing at normal temperatures. Thus, if you mixed ice 9 with any body of water, it would promptly freeze. Jonah soon finds reasons to doubt his assumption that ice 9 could not really exist.

Jonah's adventures come to a grim if strangely appropriate finale - I don't think Vonnegut has ever written a novel with a happy ending. The moral of the story is, it seems, that life is entirely without meaning or purpose. And yet, the humor and vitality of the novel give it an energy and even joy strangely at contrast with its depressing message.

1-0 out of 5 stars Light on meaning, heavy on pessimism
This is the third book that I have read by Vonnegut. I also read Sirens of Titan and Wampeters, Foma, and Grandfalloons, his Autobio. Look, he's witty, but not deep. He is a cynic. If anything, his writing displays the fragility of human existence, and the fact that not a lot of people know what the point of everything is, including him. You will most likely reach a point, about half way into the book, where vonnegut is absentmindedly continuing the exposition while your saying to yourself, "get to the point already." The other thing is that he is never uplifting. Nothing revolutionary here.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book
This book is amazing, it's really easy to read, very difficult to put down, and it still manages to convey great meaning, probably Kurt Vonnegut's best book, next to The Sirens of Titan ... Read more


174. Shadow Hunter (Star Wars: Darth Maul)
by MICHAEL REAVES
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345435419
Catlog: Book (2001-11-27)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 48281
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For the infamous, power-hungry Sith,
beholden to the dark side,
the time has come to rise again . . .


After years of waiting in the shadows, Darth Sidious is taking the first step in his master plan to bring the Republic to its knees. Key to his scheme are the Neimoidians of the Trade Federation. Then one of his Neimoidian contacts disappears, and Sidious does not need his Force-honed instincts to suspect betrayal. He orders his apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt the traitor down.

But he is too late. The secret has already passed into the hands of information broker Lorn Pavan, which places him right on the top of Darth Maul's hit list. Then, in the labyrinthine alleyways and sewers of Coruscant, capital city of the Republic, Lorn crosses paths with Darsha Assant, a Jedi Padawan on a mission to earn her Knighthood. Now the future of the Republic depends on Darsha and Lorn. But how can an untried Jedi and an ordinary man, stranger to the powerful ways of the Force, hope to triumph over one of the deadliest killers in the galaxy?

SPECIAL BONUS INSIDE--the exclusive story, "Star Wars(R) Darth Maul: Saboteur" by James Luceno, previously available in e-book format only!
... Read more

Reviews (103)

4-0 out of 5 stars The immediate pre-history to the Phantom Menace
I loved this book. Finally are we able to learn something of the life of Darth Maul. Taking place immediately before the beginning of The Phantom Menace, we follow the efforts of Darth Maul to prevent the premature exposure of the Sith.

Reaves combines action, suspense, and often humor, into an effortless, fast read. As the story takes place in the bowels of Coruscant, we see some of the incongruities of the Republic government, and the Jedi. We also get a few tantalizing glimpses of Darth Sidious, as he directs the actions of Maul in his pursuit.

The battles are very nicely written, without being overdone, and letting us into the mind of Maul, with his contempt for the Jedi, and basically all non-Sith. I had a few minor complaints about this book, but to discuss them would be to reveal essential events in the story.

I do recommend this book to all Star Wars enthusiasts, assuming you haven't already got this one. If you're waiting for paperback, you still want to remember to get this one. It reads fast, like all the Star Wars books -- you just can't put it down!

4-0 out of 5 stars Predictable, but still worth a read
OK, you know how this book has to end: Darth Maul succeeds, the good guys fail (and probably end up dead), the Jedi Council as a whole never hears about a Sith Lord on the loose until TPM, etc. All of the above HAS to happen in order for TPM to occur. However, the author actually pulls me into this narrative with interesting characters and a storyline that had me on the edge of my seat, even knowing what I did. Some highlights:
1. Despite what some say, I think the author did a great job fleshing out one of the most interesting (and mysterious) characters of the SW universe, Darth Maul. I am impressed when a storywriter makes me feel respect for the villian, and this one does.
2. The lovable rogue and his almost-sentient droid make up one of my favorite buddy teams since R2/3PO and Han/Chewie.
3. His description of the tunnels underneath Coruscant gave ME claustrophobia.
4. The last page almost made me cry, even though I saw it coming a mile away.
To those who are questioning the inclusion of Obi Wan, you might have forgotten that he and the Padawan were good acquaintances, possibly leading to friends, and he is there to make her death more poignant (sp?). When he finds out, the author does a good job of rending your heart. Obi Wan is also there to lead right into TPM.
LOTS of action, the lightsabre battle at the end was incredible, and interesting characters that actually made me care about them.
All in all, a great read. I would have preferred to give it 4 1/2, but the system won't let me, and I reserve 5 stars for perfection (which this is not). Highly recommend it to all SW fans, both hardcore and those a little confused by TPM.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING STAR WARS BOOK BEST I KNOW OF!!!
What an amazing book, though starting off a bit slow its amazing. Whats you get past the first couple of chapters it is impossible to put down, when you get closer to the end its even harder to put down. No joke up to the last page literally the last page there is a plot twist going on that cathces you by surprise. Very well written by far the best star wars book I know of. Must have for any star wars fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling
Unlike most Star Wars book, which take time to build up a scenario and come with an all-together well thought out and fun storyline, this one is a crashcourse into suspense and action.

The storyline is simple, yet will leave you on the edge of your seat, dying to see what happens next.

-->SPOILER ALERT<--

Darth Maul is sent to kill a Neimoidian who has stolen a holocron detailing the Trade Federation's plot to blockade Naboo, and he plans to sell it to an information broker. Maul kills the Neimoidian, though fails to retrieve the holocron, which the broker gets. A young, aspiring Jedi padawan, Darsha Assant gets involved, and both of them are now on the run in Coruscant from Maul, who chases them all throughout the underworld of Coruscant.

-->END SPOILER ALERT<--

All in all, it was like watching a fast-paced thriller movie, and even at the end, when you think all has been resolved, IT HAS NOT!! BWAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars fast paced Star Wars action
"Shadow Hunter" is a prequel novel set in the Star Wars universe. The setting is on Coruscant just days before the event of "The Phantom Menace". Whereas "Cloak of Deception" was a novel set on a grander scale and told of the origins of Darth Sidious's plan for the Naboo trade blockade and dealt with political intrigue, "Shadow Hunter" is a fairly straight-forward action ride of a novel.

One of the Neimoidians who was instrumental in setting up the Naboo blockade has gone missing. Nate Gunray suspects that Hath Monchar is betraying the other Neimoidians and Darth Sidious knows that there is a betrayal even though Gunray has said nothing about this. To track down Monchar, Darth Sidious has sent his apprentice Darth Maul to find Monchar, kill him and kill anybody Monchar has spoken to about the upcoming blockade. Monchar has contacted a criminal named Lorn Pavan about selling this information. With Pavan we meet his droid, I-Five.

While this is going on Jedi Padawan Darsha Assant is sent on her final test before becoming a Jedi. She must escort someone back to the Jedi Temple, but while her mission initially seems unrelated to the other storyline in the novel the mission becomes complicated and eventually intertwines with the lives of Darth Maul and Lorn Pavan.

This is a very fast paced novel, and one in which we get to see a different side of the Star Wars universe: namely, the Sith. Darth Maul becomes a more interesting character as we learn a little bit more about his background and that of the Sith and part of a reason why there are only two Sith at a time. After the exposition, "Shadow Hunter" is non-stop and everything is constantly moving, driving the story forward. I was pleasantly surprised with this Star Wars novel. It was a well told story (as far as Star Wars goes) with lots of action, some light saber action and a deeper look at the Sith. It was good enough that it made me want to continue on with the Star Wars novels. This isn't a great book, but I found it entertaining and I finished it in a couple of days. ... Read more


175. Dark Empire (Star Wars)
by Tom Veitch, Cam Kennedy
list price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1569710732
Catlog: Book (1993-05-01)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Sales Rank: 255934
Average Customer Review: 3.59 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Tom Veitch's original comic strip story traces Luke Skywalker's entrance into the Dark Side in the years after the fall of Darth Vader. The Empire is fragmented, and the Rebels seem on the verge of winning their long struggle when the sinister power of World Devastators emerges from the galactic core. These Devastators chew up worlds and manufacture robotic war machines out of the resources they consume. Luke's dark journey seems the only way to halt the massacre. But despite the importance of Luke in Dark Empire, the portrayal of Leia as an emerging Jedi is really the centerpiece of this volume. Married to Han (who goes flat in Veitch's hands) and with two children, Leia is torn between her role as mother and her role as Jedi warrior. While the story sometimes jumps too quickly between major scenes, Veitch does a good job of capturing the epic feel of George Lucas's masterpiece trilogy. Cam Kennedy's artwork is mixed in quality. Some of his drawings of the Millennium Falcon, hunter-killer probes, and robotic TIE-fighters seem to leap directly from the movie screen, while his human figures (especially of Han and Luke) can appear generic. Also, his style of coloring, using washes of similar colors on each page, is good for capturing moods but tends to obscure details. Despite these occasional shortcoming, this comic is recommended for one simple reason: once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down. The other two parts of the Dark Empire trilogy include: Dark Empire II and Empire's End.--Patrick O'Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (56)

4-0 out of 5 stars Luke becomes the apprentice of a ressurected Emporer.
The opening pages of "Dark Empire" gripped me instantly, and I wasn't disappointed by the storyline. The characters are familiar and the technology and diversity of aliens, planets, and vehicles are worthy of the "Star Wars" name. The only drawback is that the artwork can become a bit confusing and sloppy at times, but a true "Star Wars" fan will be able to look past that. In chronology, it and its sequel "Dark Empire II" take place between "The Last Command" and "Jedi Search". It contains a vital chunk of the "Star Ears" saga, although this is a comic book with no novelization. Definately worth a look.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hold the phone! Let's look at the facts here!
Ok, this isn't a review of Dark Empire, but rather a counterpoint to the people who are blasting a very good peice of Star Wars expanded literature. Quite frankly, the Dark Empire trilogy is not the shipwreck that many people are making it out to be. Ok, the "Galaxy Gun" wasn't a very good name for a superweapon (cannon would have been better), but for the sake of Starwars fans everywhere, I'll just deal with the two biggest problems people seem to be having, the return of the Emperor and Luke's supposed switch to the Darkside. Considering you scrolled down this far, you already know the basic plot.

Yes, Vader's killing of Palpatine was a great ending to Lucas' saga. But the idea in Dark Empire is Palpatine and his empire were an evil so great that no one person could destroy them. It took Vader and his children, Luke and Leia, to finally put an end to Palpatine reign. Eventhough Han, in typical fashion, blows away the emperor's last (weak and genetically unstable) clone in Empire's End, it was stated that by Palpatine's doctor that he would die forever very soon unless he found a jedi to posses after his defeat and loss of aceptable clones in Dark Empire and Dark Empire II. So technically, it was Luke and Leia who "defeated" Palpatine. Luke also does the impossible by defeating the Emperor himself in physical combat (Which I felt was lacking even in the movie trilogy), something no jedi had ever done, and destroyed Palpatines best clones (with a little help from a revolting warrior or two). All these grafical novels do is expand the confict with Palpatine from Vader, down to the next generation, Luke and Leia, which is quite appropreate if one is familer with the Star Wars universe.

There is also a crystal clear explanation which is stated several times why Luke "turned" to the darkside. It was stated that Luke was trying to learn all of Palpatines dark secrets and then use them to destroy him and his empire once and for all. Come on! If Luke really turned to the darkside immediately why would he give the New Republic the codes to beat the invincible world devastators? Later on though, Luke does go too far into the darkside and Leia has to save him, like Luke did with Vader. Luke also did it to understand his father better, he needed to know why his father became Darth Vader. There's also a dozen pages in the back of Dark Empire which runs through the whole plot again! For crying out loud! Did these critics even read the book! Anyway, don't be put off by a few naysayers, the Dark Empire trilogy is better than bad, its great!

5-0 out of 5 stars Purists, lighten up...Dark Empire is classic Star Wars....
It is a time of peril for the New Republic. Six years after the Battle of Endor, the destruction of the Empire's second Death Star, and the defeat of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, the war for control of the galaxy still rages on.

Despite their victory over the infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn a year before, the former Rebels have been forced to evacuate Coruscant after a successful invasion by resurgent Imperial forces. But when the Empire's "leaders" begin to fight over the right to govern, civil war breaks out and gives Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian and Alliance troops an opening to carry out a daring raid on Coruscant itself. But the mission goes awry and Skywalker and Calrissian crash-land their captured Star Destroyer at the heart of the Imperial City.

But when Han Solo and his wife Leia, accompanied by Chewbacca and C-3PO, attempt to rescue Luke and Lando, they are taken aback by Luke's refusal to go with them back to the secret Alliance base known as Pinnacle. Instead, he allows himself to be whisked off by a dark side storm, leaving his twin sister and her husband to wonder if the burdens of being a Jedi Master are too heavy for Luke to bear alone.

When this new chapter of the Star Wars Expanded Universe was first published as a six-issue comic book series by Dark Horse, I had mixed feelings. The concept was daring...Luke falls to the dark side of the Force (or does he?), the Emperor, thought to be dead at the end of Return of the Jedi, is back, thanks to the power of cloning technology...heck, even Boba Fett is revealed to having not being found "digestible" by the Sarlacc. All very fascinating, but wasn't Tom Veitch pushing things a bit too far? So even though I read my friend Geno's six issues from cover to cover, I thought, "Nawww....I'm not buying this. It doesn't fit into the Star Wars saga...."

Ah. Silly me. When I read Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Search, the first installment of the Jedi Academy Trilogy, I noticed certain references to the reconstruction of both Coruscant and Mon Calamari, which had been subjected to battle and siege in Dark Empire. There were also passing references to the reborn Emperor. Later, when I broke down and bought this one volume collection, I read the introduction by Anderson and realized that the changes Veitch made in the Star Wars storyline were just too big to ignore. Even though as a Star Wars fan I know the only "official" version is the six-Episode film saga as written, produced, and/or directed by George Lucas, I lightened up and came to accept Dark Empire and its two sequels as an integral -- and fun -- part of the Expanded Universe.

The story by Veitch (once you get over the "how dare he?" reaction to it) is so well-written that you wish it had been a pure prose novel. The artwork by Cam Kennedy is innovative and at times almost impressionistic....as far as comics art is concerned I prefer the photo-realistic style of the prequel adaptations, but that doesn't take away from its beauty.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Empire Reborn...
Since Star Wars creator, George Lucas, stated that his original saga only has six parts, it fell to Dark Horse Comics to further the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, and the rest after the events in Return Of The Jedi and author Tim Zahn's Thrawn trilogy. The story (fully sanctioned by Lucas) in Dark Empire fits into the Star Wars mythos very nicely.

Six years after Jedi, The ruthless Empire is reborn, under the leadership of a mysterious figure, following the defeat of Grand Admiral Thrawn. This, as the Rebel Alliance restablish order throughout the Galaxy. As the new leader of the empire puts his evil plan into motion, Luke Skywalker, and his allies struggle to figure out what's really going on. Meanwhile, henchmen of Jabba The Hutt, have placed a large bounty on the heads of Han Solo and Leia.

Writer Tom Veich crafted a story that has a Star Wars feel to it. He has captured the escence of these very well known characters on these pages. While Admiral Thrawn is no Vader or Palpatine, he does make a worthy adversary, just the same. The action, humor, and wonder of the first trilogy are for the most part, recreated here.

As for the art, I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with Cam Kennedy's renderings of the Star Wars universe. The character likenesses are ok but not as detailed as the book's cover art by Dave Dorman-great stuff. Kennedy makes everything seem just a bit off. For the most part, abstract color combinations, take over most of the panels---this really detracts from book's fine story. The book also contains the story's original outline

Still, Dark Empire, is a must read for Star Wars fans

3-0 out of 5 stars This one satisfies your curiosity
OK, your reading the novels and you wonder why Wedge is driving a large recycler in the opening of a book. Then you read references to the Clone Emperor or resurrected emperor and that Luke once went to the dark side and came back. Dark Empire is where those things happen.

It is a pretty good story with above average art work. Some of the art is stunning! It was this comic that got me interested in the art of DAVE DORMAN. DAVE IS AMAZING!

Palpatine gets cloned and has a new super weapon. Luke goes to the dark side to stop the Emperor. Coruscant gets blasted (or is it corresaunt now). Leia, undertrained as she is goes to rescue her brother. The two are never more powerful again.

After surviving and defeating the resurrected emperor, Leia and luke go back to their old selves in future novels ie: Leia is only barely competitent, and Luke is distracted almost to the point of incompetitence at times (one of my big grips in some books).

This is the first of 3 comics on this thread. You can skip the other two, but this one is worthwhile. For an additional treat, do a search of "dave dorman art" and check out where-ever he is. You'll like what you find. ... Read more


176. Hyperion
by DAN SIMMONS
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553283685
Catlog: Book (1990-03-01)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 8360
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives.Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret.And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.

A stunning tour de force, this Hugo Award-winning novel is the first volume in a remarkable new science fiction epic by the author of The Hollow Man. ... Read more

Reviews (366)

5-0 out of 5 stars literature to the core
what amazed me the most about this excellent sci-fi novel is the variety of levels at which it could be read: war, spies, political intrigue, religious quest, travel and exploration, adventure .... I was especially awed by all the references to, and the obvious love and passion for, literature.These literary references are found in the very core and structure of the novel, since the main characters are pilgrims that tell their stories (Chaucer anyone?) while they travel in the planet of Hyperion, whose most important city is Keats (Romantics anyone?). It goes without saying that the better you know your literary classics, the more you will enjoy this aspect of the novel--and I think this aspect does not remain in the superficial level of witty names and situations, but goes deeper in the plot and structure to say something about the significance of these literary works. This doesn't mean that Hyperion cannot be read, too , and mainly, as an excellen sci-fi work that explores in a very intelligent way, some of the most important moral issues of our culture. Mind you, the story does not finish in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the great epics of Sci Fi
The Hyperion cantos is without a doubt one of the great epics in sci fi cannon, up there with the classic robots-empire-foundation series and the ender series. Where Simmons really shines is how he manages to create a galaxy with so much character and worlds that are so unique and vivid.

Seven pilgrims to the mysterious shrike tell their story, but their stories interconnect in many ways and in the process weave a mesmerizing description of their futuristic world. The technology in this book is plausible and will not seem outdated by the time you read the book. If you like hard sci fi, you will not be disapointed, Simmons respects the genre and does his research. If you like an epic plot with ramifications throughout the human universe (and the human spirit) this book and its sequels will definatly hit the mark. If you like well designed characters and backdrops, this book excels as well. Finally, if you like a good read period, then this book will keep u page turning many a night.

2-0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas and passages, but overall lacking
First, be aware that Hyperion consists mostly of the tales of pilgrims on a journey like in Canterbury Tales. But instead of illustrating morals, the tales are meant to flesh out the main characters and to shed light on the mysteries of the Time Tombs and the Shrike. A few are interesting and faintly stirring. Some are outright perfunctory and belabored.

Second, be aware that this is really volume one of a two-volume novel (like in the days of Alexander Dumas). Hyperion alone has no traditional plot (with a climax, etc.). It's mostly the pilgrims' stories and ends with their arrival at the Time Tombs.

Third, Simmons' style was irritating. He used color names I didn't know. He referred to events without describing them with irritating frequency. He repeated certain descriptions of recurring events with the same words. For example, every time he refers to the Shrike's eyes, he will use the word "blood" to describe their color. EVERY TIME. After about fifty times, it starts to become annoying.

Fourth, Simmons' characterization, despite his use of the convenient device of the pilgrims' takes for characterization, was somehow still shallow and unconvincing. I just finished the sequel, and the final parting of most of the main characters wasn't sad or warming in any way. I was glad to be rid of such boring and one-sided characters.

My view is that this is not great science fiction. It does not compare with Herbert's Dune, for example. It was an OK summer read with some interesting incidental ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars a master piece
Dan Simmons has written a Cantebury Tale style masterpiece. Seven people are on their way as pilgrims to the time tombs to meet a monster called the Shrike. Each pilgrim tells their story of why they are going to meet the Shrike and what they want. Some see the Shrike as a monster and others as a god.

Dans Simmons has created a richly textured world that is very detailed and believable. The characters are neither good nor bad, just various areas of gray. The book is very deep and is worth the effort to read. The book is very readable but will take some time becasue it is not a super fast read. This is the first of four series and the others should also be read. Highly recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars fascinating story....
Dan Simmons has written a fascinating story, and one that leaves me hanging in such a way that I want to keep reading the series. That being said, I found the settings more complicated than enriching, and many of the themes more simply sadistic than dramatically compelling. The Shrike is like a hunka-hunka burning saw that wants to embrace you...(ok). Dan Simmons is a little too stuck on pain and gore, but regardless it's still a damn good read, and I still want to know what happens next. He can spin quite a convincing world for you to wander in your mind's eye. I just like my sci-fi a little more Wagner and a little less Puccini. ... Read more


177. Shadow of the Hegemon (Ender Wiggin Saga)
by Orson Scott Card
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0812565959
Catlog: Book (2001-12-09)
Publisher: Tor Books
Sales Rank: 7141
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The War is over, won by Ender Wiggin and his team of brilliant child-warriors.The enemy is destroyed, the human race is saved.Ender himself refuses to return to the planet, but his crew has gone home to their families, scattered across the globe.The battle school is no more.

But with the external threat gone, the Earth has become a battlefield once more. The children of the Battle School are more than heros; they are potential weapons that can bring power to the countries that control them.One by one, all of Ender's Dragon Army are kidnapped. Only Bean escapes; and he turns for help to Ender's brother Peter.

Peter Wiggin, Ender's older brother, has already been manipulating the politics of Earth from behind the scenes.With Bean's help, he will eventually rule the world.
... Read more

Reviews (200)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not just another retelling of Ender's Game
This book, although highly readable and recommended, is somewhat of a departure from Scott's usual sci-fi space-traveling "hero's journey" of the Ender series. "Shadow of the Hegemon" is more of a earth-bound story, where space and interstellar xenocide fade into the background amidst the usual suspects in the fight for world domination.

Following Bean's story would, in and of itself, make a great novel. We also follow Petra and a few of the other battle school graduates as they show that they have matured past being just child genuises used as pawns by adults to save humanity. In this story, we finally see them using their own resources as they act alone to save themselves.

Peter Wiggin, formerly known as the sadistic brother of Ender, becomes a fully rounded character, both impossibly arrogant and charismatic. In my opinion it is this interaction between Bean and Peter Wiggin and what they accomplish together which is truly the gem in the midst of this high-stakes story of world diplomacy. And it is this relationship, and Peter's subsequent rise to power that sets the stage for this story's obvious continuance.

3-0 out of 5 stars Simple thriller lacks depth of previous books
I ADORED Ender's game. But I loved Speaker for the Dead and Xeonocide even more. I read them both in three days, because the ideas and characters were fascinating to me.

I read Ender's Shadow eagerly, and loved revisiting Battle School with Bean, who I quickly fell in love with as an intriguing character.

And I was beyond excited when ANOTHER book in the Ender series came out. But I have to admit that this book lacks what Card does best: smart, intriguing development of character. Sure, we've got a good guy (Bean the Brilliant Ambitionless Mutant) pitted against a bad guy (Achilles the Psychopathic Power-Hungry Monster), and desperate world circumstances, but this book lacks heart. When Bean's vaction home is blown up, there is no commentary about how it would feel to be separated from your parents with a monster trying to kill you. When his surrogate mother is killed, there are maybe two sentences on his grief. When the awful truth of what he really is comes out, Bean barely notices it.

Moments that have been built up to since Ender's Game fall flat. There is little emotional intensity to this book, and finally the detailed "guesses" and leaps of intuition made are confusing and unbelievable. I wish Card had spent a little more time on the relationships between his characters and their growth as people, and a little less time on the uninteresting, fictional world stage.

But if you're an Ender fan, I still recommend the book. For me, just reading about the characters I loved originally is enough. But don't buy this book in hardback. And if you can, wait till it's at the library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of Sci-Fi
I enjoyed Children of the Mind very much. In this book you can see the aftermath of the Bugger Wars. You can see a better look at Bean,Petra, and Achilles. These main characters were always my favorite and I feel Mr.Card did a very good job exploring these characters more. You have Bean, the super genius child. You have Achilles the teenage criminal mastermind out for blood and to rule the world by harnesting the top battleschool alumni children. And you have Petra the damsel in distress that's capable of taking care of herself using her mind, skill, and even charm. Put these three characters together with other interesting people, future bamboozled political situations, and lots of guns, brains, and Orson Scott Card and you have a book that is garenteed to keep you on the edge of your seat, never wanting to put it down.

4-0 out of 5 stars the young genius
This book by Orson Scott Card, is a very good sequel to Enders shadow. It gives more depth about the character known as bean. They tell about his personal life and how he struggled to stay alive. Bean is my favorite character in the Enders game series. He shows the most wits and learns the fastest. He develops emotion, which he has never felt before. Bean, ends up saving the world along with a team of super intelligent kids that think they are playing a game but in reality they are actually commanding star ships in a galaxy where the buggers reside.

Not only is Bean a survivor of 25 which 23 were burnt down, he ends up finding his parents and eventually meets his long lost bother. His savior, who is also like his mother, finds Enders brother Peter. Bean helps peter become Hegemon.

To me this is the best book of the series, because to me Bean was my favorite Character, because of his intelligence and his past experiances.

3-0 out of 5 stars A book that succeeds in spite of its flaws
It's rare for me to only give a Orson Scott Card book three stars, but Card seems to have really stumbled with this one. Although the book is very entertaining, it also has some very serious flaws.

One major problem with Shadow of the Hegemon (and the one that I found to be the most bizarre) is that it doesn't really appear to be set in the future. Card never tells us exactly what year it's supposed to be, but we know that humanity has spent several generations fighting a major interstellar war, we've built fleets of starships with weapons capable of destroying entire planets, and we've unlocked the secrets of faster-than-light communication. Yet for some reason, virtually all of the technology - military and otherwise - in Shadow of the Hegemon seems to be from only a few years in the future. People are still flying around in helicopters, shooting gunpowder machine guns at each other, and generally living their lives and fighting in the way one would expect two or three years from now. The world's geo-political situation is also largely unchanged, with most of the world's nations characterized by political stereotypes from today. Although this in itself doesn't really ruin the book, it's all jarringly incongruous with the previous books in the series.

A second, more fundamental problem has to do with the way in which the main characters in the story interact with their world. The battle school children seem more like forces of nature than actual characters. They seem to be so far above the rest of humanity that they come to dominate everyone and everything they come into contact with, despite that fact that most of them are small children. The entire world seems to bend itself to their will, and they alone are able to successfully oppose each other. Of course Ender's character had that sort of importance in 'Ender's Game,' but there was also an elaborate backstory to explain how a single child came to have such an important role in deciding the fate of humanity. In 'Shadow of the Hegemon' it seems that Card again wanted to make his child characters pivotally important, but he never really comes up with a credible explanation for how any group of people - no matter how brilliant or well trained - could end up so incredibly influential in world affairs.

Despite all that, 'Shadow of the Hegemon' is still a very entertaining book. The plot is quite entertaining in spite of its problems with consistency and believability, and the action proceeds at a brisk pace. Although Card seems to give his battle school children far more credit than plausibility allows, they're all quite fascinating and well-developed characters. It's genuinely interesting to watch Bean, Petra, Achilles, and company spar with each other for world domination. Even with its flaws, Shadow of the Hegemon is still better than most of what you'll find on bookstore shelves. ... Read more


178. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm
by Nancy Farmer
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140376410
Catlog: Book (1995-10-01)
Publisher: Puffin Books
Sales Rank: 12217
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 2194 in Zimbabwe, General Matsika's three children are kidnapped and put to work in a plastic mine while three mutant detectives use their special powers to search for them. ... Read more

Reviews (238)

5-0 out of 5 stars anonymus reviewer
She has woven into this book a story with unmatchable characters villains and creatures. It starts out in a boot camp like household in which a military-like father forces his kids to take his path and go into the army. A kind person called the mellower happens to hypnotize there parents into handing over there I.D's and credit cards excess money e.t.c. And the children escape into a future (2194)Zimbabwe city. Soon after they get kidnapped and turned over to an evil old queen who turns them into slaves. The mother of the kidnapped children after hearing her children escaped, called 3 detectives called the ear the eye and the arm. They all have been gifted supernatural powers in which to slueth with. Will they find the children and rescue them or be turned into slaves themselves? You'll have to buy the book and read on to find out.

4-0 out of 5 stars THE EAR, THE EYE, AND THE ARM
THE EAR, THE EYE, AND THE ARM takes place i futurisic Zambabwe, 2194 to be exact. The story is about Tendai, Rita, and Kuda, the children of General Matiska. The children are not allowed to leave their prison-like home, due to te fact that their father is afraid of their kidnapping. The children sneak out, and, as expected, ARE kidnapped. Mrs. and General Matiska hire Africa's most unusual detectives to find their children, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm. Ear has excellent hearing "he can hear a bat burb in the basement", Eye has incredible sight "he can see a flea cling to a hawks feathers in the sky", and Arm can feel others feelings, kinda scary, eh?? The children go from slaves in a plastic mine, to an old Shona village from the ancient past, to a seemingly ally's house, to the top of a mile high building. Although this story takes place in the future, it brings up ancient conflicts and uncovers the most dangerous gang in Zambabwe...........

Nancy Farmer has developed very srong characters and some of the things that happen are a BIG suprise. In this book, you kind of have to expect the unexpected, and keep an open mind. Even if you usually read science fiction books, this story will grip you and make you want to read it over and over again!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm
When three children of a very important general run away from their machine-runned home in futuristic Zimbabwe, they are kidnapped by gang members, Knife and Fist. They are now at the mercy of the monstrous She Elephant, the leader of an underground world. The children, Tendai, Rita, and Kuda are made to mine for plastic, a now hard-to-come by material.

When the childrens father learn of their kidnap, he and his wife hire The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, three dectectives with a business of the same name. The Ear has great hearing abilities, the Eye can see from far away distances, and Arm has a strange pyschic power. Ideal detectives, right?

Join Tendai, Rita, and Kuda in this suspensful and sometimes comedic book. Nancy Farmer is by far my favorite sf/fantasy author(Along with J.K. Rowling, Susan Cooper, Tolkien, and Ursula K. LeGuin

5-0 out of 5 stars the best book ive read
three kids traped in there house. never seen the world beyond there robot runed manchen, ecscape away from there high in power general dad, to see the world in there own eyes.
I think that this book shows corage, stupidedy, and how it is when you are suddenly in a whole differnt world of people. I would recomend this book to anyone and everyone. Nomader what age you are you will learn something new about life and its strugles in this book. You can read it over and over, and never want to put it down. I would put this book into my favoret book collection and i think that you should too.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Arm Is Awesome
This is an excellent book I read a couple of weeks ago. It takes place in futuristic Zimbabwe. 3 kids of an important politician in the country decide to go on a field trip to explore the outside world and end up disappearing. Now it's up to the Ear, the Eye, and the Arm to track them down. But it won't be as easy as they thought. On their journey they'll encounter a woman the size of an elephant, people who still believe that evil monsters lurk in their forest, and a greedy woman who hosts a lot of tea parties. Not to mention the REAL bad guys...

This is an excellent read for HS or MS students. Although older people may like it too. It's very well-written. I especially love Nancy Farmer's bio in the back... She seems like quite a character. I checked this out from the library, but I'll probably buy it, I'd read it again. ... Read more


179. Kindred (Black Women Writers Series)
by Octavia Butler
list price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807083054
Catlog: Book (1988-08-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 23349
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. With more than 100,000 copies in print, Kindred is a classic timetravel novel by an acclaimed African-American science fictionwriter. ... Read more

Reviews (111)

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerfully written
This is one of Octavia Butler's earlier books where she tackles the subject of time-travel, slavery and inter-racial relationships. This is a great read that is both atmospheric and suspenseful as it moves between the 19th and 20th century, telling the story of Dana, the time-traveler and Alice, a 19th century slave. These two women are inextricably bound together by time, blood and history. However, only Dana has a real understanding as to why she is going back and forth in time and part of it is has to do with saving the life of a white boy called Rufus, who eventually, becomes Rufus the slave-owner, and the father of Alice's two children. Dana is a reluctant witness in history, forced to push Alice towards a destiny that is both cruel and savage, making Dana realize that however hard her life as a Black women in the 20th century is, Alice's life is by far, far worse. Quite simply an amazing book that should surely be made into a film one day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Voyage
Reading Kindred is like taking an exhilirating journey through time. The book whisks the reader from Los Angeles, 1976, to the antebellum South and back again. Through the characters Dana (an African-American woman) and her Caucasian husband, Kevin, modern-day readers(of all races)are allowed to venture back into the days of slavery and see for themselves in vivid detail a sampling of what life was like for those involved in this most horrific time in American history. From the attention-grabbing opening line("I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm."), to the closing scene (which I will not reveal), I was hooked! (So much so, that I read the entire novel in one day.)I frst read Kindred for a graduate-level class and have since read it several times for pleasure. I am now a University lecturer and have taught the book in an undergraduate course. Much to my surprise my students loved it too! (One student loved it so much that she was almost fired from her job because she had customers to wait on, but didn't want to put the book down.) Another student remarked that he had never read an entire book from cover to cover because he always lost interest in the middle, yet Kindred was so engrossing that he not only finished the book, but has discovered the joy of reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars It doesn't quite manage to take its readers back in time.
Octavia Butler's "Kindred" is both startlingly interesting, and a little contrived. It's a quick read, and well worth the weekend it takes to finish. However, it is not really a book of inexhaustible depth. Just a good (if harrowing) little novella, that makes its not-so-subtle point by trying to get the reader to experience the past as a modern time traveler would. Sometimes called a science fiction novel, the book's one "sci-fi" trope---time travel---is used simply to place a modern character in a historical setting. I would predict that science fiction devotees would not find that part of the novel at all impressive.

Inexplicably, the novel's protagonist (a 20th century black woman, named Dana) is transported to ante bellum Maryland, where on a slave plantation, she meets (and repeatedly saves) her great-great-grandfather. The twist: this particular grandfather was slave-master to her great-great grandmother. As the novel progresses, Dana realizes her goal is to help ensure their fertile coupling... and her own future. But climbing this branch of the family tree won't be easy, given that she must experience all the horrors of slavery in order to make that happen. Hence the double entendre which is the basis of the title (Kindred = "kin dread").

Along the way, the reader has the opportunity to watch as Rufus Weylin grows up from careless little boy to crass slave-holding plantation owner. Back and forth Dana travels between her familiar modern-day life as a young writer, and the dreary hell of a southern plantation. When Rufus' life is in danger, she comes to him. When she feels her own is in danger, she returns... but always with reminders of this horrific past scarred into her body.

Butler tries to present her reader with something like the grand tour of the old south... a Colonial Williamsburg of the slave plantation, but with none of the predictable horrors expunged. Rapes, whippings, disease, and the sale of human slaves (often done to intentionally divide families) bluntly fills up the bulk of the book. But the real pathos of the book is the effect all this has on four major characters: Dana, Rufus, Dana's husband Kevin (who is white), and Alice.

Alice is a free woman who is taken into bondage by the Weylins after she tries to help her lover (a slave) escape. Dana's quest is to ensure that Alice and Rufus produce a healthy offspring... thus ensuring her own lineage and future life. That's not going to be easy, given the fact that Rufus is a repulsive lout whom Alice understandably despises.

Reading "Kindred", I couldn't help but feeling that the novel was somewhat contrived. First, there are the repeated attempts to remind the reader of famous black Americans of the period (Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner), making the book at least partly a vehicle for a PBS-like history lesson. Secondly, its attempt to present the customs of the era is not really entirely precise. It focuses too much on those parts of the past that its liberal-minded audience would find most uncomfortable: mostly, the attitudes of slave-holding whites' towards this proud, literate protagonist, but also the complex relationship between field hands and house slaves. Where it tries to recreate the mundane details of 19th century life---say, medicine, language, cooking, farm life, religion or education----the book comes across as tepid at best, and misleading at worst.

Then, of course, there are the very unusual hopeful notes. That Dana eventually convinces Rufus to allow her to school the slave children seems an utterly modern contrivance. Skeptical readers will wonder how Dana, a pants-wearning, back-talking feminist, who is not only the wife of a white man, but also has the peculiar habit of vanishing into thin air, is not simply killed outright by the semi-literate, superstitious, and violent plantation owners. Instead, she becomes their trusted servant, privy to their most innermost secrets. Go figure.

Still, it's a good little page-turner... the kind of breezy read that keeps the impatient interested in what will happen next. The book would be an excellent vehicle for a high school class studying African American history or literature. But for real depth and historical imagination, I would recommend Toni Morrison's "Beloved" or Shirley Ann William's "Dessa Rose," or even William Styron's "The Confessions of Nat Turner," all of which are perpetually interesting and challenging in a way that "Kindred" simply isn't.

3 and 1/2 stars (rounded up)

5-0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT!!!!
I am absolutely floored by this book. This is one of the best fictional books I have ever read. If you want a slave narrative that will truly draw you into the story and allow you to feel everything that the characters are feeling, this is the book for you. All I can say is AWESOME!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I'm not normally a fan of science fiction, but this book literally left me breathless. It's fascinating and paints a painfully realistic picture of slave/slaveholder life in the early 1800s. Hats off to Ms. Butler for an outstanding novel. ... Read more


180. Breakdowns (Star Trek: Starfleet Corps Of Engineers)
by Scott Ciencin, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Heather Jarman
list price: $7.99
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Asin: 1416503269
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Star Trek
Sales Rank: 571177
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