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The Eternity Artifact by L. E. Modesitt

The Eternity Artifact (edition 2006)

by L. E. Modesitt

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368729,640 (3.53)6
Title:The Eternity Artifact
Authors:L. E. Modesitt
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Stirling Library Borrowed
Tags:Sci-Fi, Alien Artefact, Future War

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The Eternity Artifact by L. E. Modesitt

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This is the second time I have read this novel and I liked the first time but I like it better after reading it a second time. Modesitt always offers subtle questions about deep subjects beneath a veneer of dramatic action. This novel is very good. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
I found this book at Goodwill and the front and back cover description enticed me enough to purchase (I've found that for the $1.50 commitment it's worthwhile trying out authors you wouldn't otherwise purchase at $8.00). This is the first book I've read by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. - I've seen some of his fantasy work (the Recluse novels) so I have wanted to try him out. Initially, the story was a bit off-putting as the character viewpoint changes pretty much with every chapter, and one of the characters is a professor who thinks and speaks using the largest words and most complex sentence structure imaginable. I soon got past that and found most of the characters interesting and likable. Also, the plot was interesting (space opera), even with some flaws in the math (there's another review here that gives the book 1/2 star as the reader couldn't get past some of the bad science, so I won't dwell on it).

One thing I've found in my readings is that a book needs to be judged by the overall quality of the story and not the minutiae (not to say that a lot of errors can turn me off as a reader, while this book had problems there wasn't anything in it that bothered me to the point of putting it down). The book could definitely have used more editing - lots of typos (obvious inappropriate word substitution via spelling and grammar checkers) but it seems that this has become the norm in paperback fiction. If one gets too bogged down by inaccuracies, forget about reading SF from previous decades as the further you go back in time of publication, the less accurate the material becomes.

In general, the book was well paced, the characters, setting and plot interesting - all good hallmarks of a good read. I wouldn't say that this book was an intense page turner, but I felt entirely entertained by the finish, and ultimately that's why I read SF. ( )
  johnnyapollo | May 26, 2011 |
An interesting novel about a future galactic civilization divided up into competing cultures that all originated on Earth. Mainly, it is the democracies vs. the chinese vs. those who still believe in God. The discovery of a whole planet of alien artifacts is the biggest news in a long time, and getting there and bringing back discoveries pits the 'enlightened' (my term) against those that still believe in God. Its a good story, but you know who's going to win long before the end. Strangely enough, while there are amazing discoveries made, including an amazing new theory, the book ends before the results can be felt in all of the civilizations. Its a good story with interesting characters, though he perhaps over-does the anti-social professor and the anti-social shuttle pilot characters. ( )
  Karlstar | May 21, 2011 |
Better known for his fantasy novels (eg. The Recluce novels), Modesitt also writes science fiction novels. The Eternity Artifact is set in one of his typical SF worlds: future SF, multiple polities. intrigue, and action. Competent characters, often one or more who is tied to an espionage organization. Lots of sociological speculation in and amongst the action.

In this instance, these usual tools are put into a space opera, showing an expedition to an runaway alien planet by a polity who has some very serious rivals. Rivals serious enough to use sabotage, agents and even outright space warfare to stop the expedition, or steal its secrets for itself.

The action is seen through the perspective of four protagonists, one of whom is not who he appears to the rest. Its told in first person throughout, and so we get lots of internal consideration and thought as the very different quartet--an artist, a former agent turned professor, a shuttle pilot, and an armorer more than he appears journey to a Big Dumb Object--the planet of Danann. It is the epynomous "Eternity Artifact", an unbelievably ancient alien world in a universe where no other aliens have ever been found. A tempting prize indeed!

Some don't really care for Modesitt's style, since he does like to laden sociological speculation heavily into his plot and story, and it can be off-putting. I wasn't entirely thrilled with Recluce, for example, and have enjoyed his other novels more. Eternity Artifact falls into this category, and I think its because of the multiple protagonists. This allows for a variety of perspectives which manage to keep a balance of ideas in tension.

The ending and denouement feel a bit weak in my opinion, but in the getting there, I was reasonably entertained. And whether you agree with his opinions or not, Modesitt does raise some good sociological questions in the story. And there is even the barest hint of a romance, too, swirled in.

I enjoyed the book. ( )
1 vote Jvstin | Feb 15, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. E. Modesittprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hartwell, David G.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seeley, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Love of knowledge is the basis of all scholarship and lies eternally at the root of the tree of civilization."

"The eternal love of God surpasses all other loves; and is to be valued above all worldy and other transient affections."

"Love is a delusion; an eternal romanticization of lust perpetuated by oversexed males."

"A true artist's love of life; of the endless and eternal; and all that it encompasses, is expre$ssed in every brushstroke."

"What separates artifices and artifacts from mere assemblages of components, what defines them and their use, is the love with which they are constructed and applied."
For Robert and Nesby, in memorium, in proof that dreams are carried unto the generations.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765353458, Mass Market Paperback)

Five thousand years in the future, humankind has spread across the galaxy and more than a dozen different planetary and system governments exist in an uneasy truce.  Human beings have found no signs of other life anywhere approaching human intelligence. Until scientists discover a sunless planet they name Danann.

Moving at unnaturally high speed, Danann travels the void just beyond the edge of the galaxy. Its continents and oceans have been sculpted and shaped and there is but a single, almost perfectly-preserved megaplex upon the surface--with tens of thousands of near-identical metallic-silver-blue towers set along curved canals. Yet, Danann has been abandoned for so long that even the atmosphere has frozen solid.

Orbital shuttle pilot Jiendra Chang, artist Chendor Barna, and history professor Liam Fitzhugh are recruited by the Comity government and its Deep Space Service as part of an unprecedented and unique expedition to unravel Danann's secrets. And there are forces that will stop at nothing to prevent them, even if it means interstellar war.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Five thousand years in the future, humanity has spread across thousands of worlds and has more than a dozen different governments existing in an uneasy truce. For all this expansion, though, human beings have found no signs of other life close to approaching that of human intelligence anywhere." "This changes when scientists discover Danann, a sunless planet traveling the void just beyond the edge of the galaxy at such a high speed that it cannot be natural. It is a world whose continents and oceans have been sculpted and shaped, with but a single megaplex upon it - close to perfectly preserved - with tens of thousands of near-identical metallic-silver-blue towers set along curved canals. Yet Danann has been abandoned for so long that even the atmosphere has frozen solid. The preservation alone hints at a miraculous level of technology. Within a few years, Danann will approach an area of singularities that will make exploration and investigation impossible." "Orbital shuttle pilot Jiendra Chang, artist Chendor Barna, and history professor Liam Fitzhugh are recruited by the Comity government and its Deep Space Service [D.S.S.], along with scores of other experts - predominantly specialists in aspects of hard physical sciences - as part of an unprecedented and unique archaeological expedition in an effort to unravel Danann's secrets. This is the story of their voyage beyond the galactic rim."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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