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Anvil of Stars by Greg Bear

Anvil of Stars (1992)

by Greg Bear

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Forge of God (2)

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In this sequel to FORGE OF GOD (in which alien machines that can reproduce themselves annihilate Earth), Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Greg Bear traces the attempts of some of Earth’s survivors to carry out “the Law,” which states that beings who arbitrarily destroy inhabited planets must themselves be destroyed.

The eighty-four human “Wendys” and “Lost Boys” who engage in this quest are adolescents chosen by machines they call “moms.” These machines (which have rescued a portion of Earth’s inhabitants and maintain them in a space vessel called the “Ark,” prior to relocating them on Mars, which they have re-formed to accommodate them) train and support their charges in the name of the “Benefactors,” beings who oversee a galactic amalgam of civilizations dedicated to opposing the “Killers,” beings who have set about to destroy civilizations they can neither abide nor ultimately control.

It is the “Job” of the survivors of these Killers to find and destroy them, less for revenge than in the name of a kind of biblical justice. In ANVIL OF STARS, however, conflict among the killers’ foes threatens their mission. Martin Gordon, the main character, and for a time “Pan” or leader of the group, having lost his lovers William and Theresa in an ill-fated attack on a solar system rife with Killer technology, comes to doubt not only himself but the efficacy of the Job itself. As a result, he finds himself caught in the middle between Hans, his aggressive and heartless successor as Pan, and Rosa Sequoia, a self-styled religious visionary who opposes the Job.

With the help of the “Brothers,” an alien race whose planet, like theirs, has been destroyed, Martin and his fellows discover what seems to be the Killers’ homeworld, the Leviathan solar system. Through a complex series of deceptions on both sides, war is joined; the representatives of the Law win, annihilating their guilty, as well as innocent, opponents, and alienating the Brothers and those among themselves who are nauseated by such carnage.
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Greg Bear is one of my favorite authors, but some of his more recent books have not been to my taste. This one however, is classic science fiction. It is not quite as good as the "prequel", The Forge of God, but it is an excellent read. The book starts slowly, so when you read it, persevere. The pace picks up and accelerates as the book becomes a classic page-turner. It is ripe for a sequel. Highly recommended. ( )
  rondoctor | Jun 26, 2015 |
Follow-up to "Forge of God", very different book. Small-group social dynamics in a pressure cooker, and amazing cosmology. Just following the physics is a delight. Survivors of the destruction of Earth, a large crew of young adults are chosen by the alien Benefactors who save a sliver of mankind. They are sent to find the "Killers", a civilization that spawns Berzerker-style robots to destroy all other life. Follows in the footsteps of "Ender's Game" and other "children at war" novels, with characters who must wage interstellar battle while agonizing over the morality of destruction. ( )
  Clevermonkey | May 29, 2014 |
Not bad in the end but nothing like Forge of God, of which this book is a sequel. Two totally different and bearly related novels. Good science, good story if slightly long winded, and annoying characters. ( )
  sf_addict | Mar 7, 2013 |
My reactions to reading this book in 1992. Spoilers follow.

I found this, a sequel to Bear’s very enjoyable – and different – Forge of God, to be surprisingly slow going, tedious. The book seemed to move slowly yet not provide much of the nitty-gritty detail of shipboard life on the Dawn Treader. Much of the technology was of the superscience variety (the ladders, the fields, the ship which could – presumbably through a form of nanotechnology – reorganize its mass and shape) and, not having reread the Forge of God, the weapons were little more than names since their function was little described. In fact, through a long book, Bear’s style was altogether too sketchy for me.

I did like isolated elements (the struggle between flaky prophet Rosa and Hans was interesting and reminded me of the mediaeval struggle between Church and State; ruthless, intuitively correct, obsessive, man-of-action Hans was an interesting portrait of an effective but tyrannical, deceitful leader as opposed to the fair-minded but somewhat ineffective Martin; I liked the anti-matter converting trap of the Killers and their elaborate system; the information theory enabling manipulation matter; the elaborate system of the Killers; I even liked the Brothers.

But the novel as a whole never engaged my feelings. I really didn’t feel the characters pain and only some of their doubts on their mission of vengeance (I certainly never thought the act of vengeance was wrong – only an uncertainity as to the rightful targets of it). I thought Bear could have made a much more powerful statement and ending if he left it in the air as to the Killer presence in the destroyed system (and I’m usually not in favor of ambiguous endings) rather than conclusively showing that the system should have been destroyed. ( )
  RandyStafford | Jan 22, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Bearprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puckey, DonaldCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodgers, NickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Dan Garrett, cousin and friend
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Marty sits in the front seat of his father's Buick, riding along a freeway in Oregon at midsummer twilight.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446364037, Mass Market Paperback)

The acclaimed author of Eternity offers a compelling sequel to his visionary Forge of God. Earth is gone, completely destroyed by a ruthless alien. Hundreds of years away, a handful of exiles hurtles through the galaxies in a quest for revenge, armed with powers they do not understand--and determined to find and punish the killers who murdered their world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:20 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Follows the mission of a select group of human survivors as they search in the Ship of Law for the aliens who destroyed their planet.

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