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22114102,655 (3.38)1
"Science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape) continue the thrilling adventure of a human expedition to another star system that is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure cupping a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths. And which, tantalizingly, is on a direct path heading toward the same system the human ship is to colonize. Investigating the Bowl, or Shipstar, the human explorers are separated--one group captured by the gigantic structure's alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape--while the mystery of the Shipstar's origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that transform their understanding of their place in the universe"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
The story was stretched out over two books when the plot could have fit in a short story. ( )
  mgplavin | Oct 3, 2021 |
2.5 ( )
  Ranbato | Dec 17, 2020 |
An OK conclusion to Bowl of Heaven but nothing special. It's very similar to Benford's Furious Gulf, heavy on the exotic astrophysics, crossed with Ringworld. Like Gulf, much of what happens is almost impossible to picture, despite the random illustrations. Like Gulf, a big distinction between the aliens and the humans is that we are pawns of our subconscious while the aliens have it all under control. Mostly action with multiple characters but very little distinction between them and serious emotional arcs.

OK for fans for Benford and/or Niven. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Jun 2, 2020 |
I was just wondering to myself the other day... "Just where has all the regular adventure in unique/impressive/mindblowing SF environments gone?"

I mean, it used to be around all over the place. Often it was a rush to see who would out-do the other, throwing out mind-blowing concepts and super huge technological artifacts that must be figured out and/or survived.

Remember [b:Rendezvous with Rama|112537|Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1)|Arthur C. Clarke|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1405456427l/112537._SY75_.jpg|1882772]? [b:Eon|840278|Eon (The Way, #1)|Greg Bear|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1388288738l/840278._SY75_.jpg|4273]? [b:Ringworld|61179|Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)|Larry Niven|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1408793358l/61179._SY75_.jpg|924711]? [b:The Integral Trees|939740|The Integral Trees (The State, #2)|Larry Niven|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1383249816l/939740._SY75_.jpg|7420631]? [b:Revelation Space|89187|Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)|Alastair Reynolds|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1405532042l/89187._SY75_.jpg|219037]? [b:Startide Rising|234501|Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga, #2)|David Brin|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1476445711l/234501._SY75_.jpg|251634]? [b:Ring|66788|Ring (Xeelee Sequence, #4)|Stephen Baxter|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1287863627l/66788._SY75_.jpg|874504]?

Quick note: two of these great classics were written by Larry Niven, co-author to this book. Respect!

So then, when I come around to reading these two books in preparation for my ARC of Glorious, the third book in the series, I'm struck by just how much I've MISSED this particular genre. I either have to slog through Mil-SF books to get a feeling for it or I have to go back in time to another day when ADVENTURE used to mean something.

But here it is. Adventure, discovery, a wide swath of weird and diverse aliens both biological, silicate, and ELECTROMAGNETIC, all surfing a mobile STAR with a bowl that happens to be HALF of a DYSON SPHERE. For those who may not get the concept, it's enough landmass to fill millions of Earths with perfectly livable climates. It's BIGGER than the star. Sound a bit like Ringworld? Well, this is bigger. And no Pak. I love how these two authors manage all the idea-wrangling, the concepts, and the complicated (if flawed) adventure. I won't say I loved the characters, but I didn't hate any of them and besides, the wildlife is INTENSE. Orbital bombardment from pufferfish? Time-like lances? Nutty elephant-sized birds who think they're all that because they've somehow been left in charge of the zoo?

Well, they have another think coming. :)

The strength of this novel, and the one before it, is that it doesn't rest on the ideas already presented. It keeps coming up with interesting events and peoples and SF objects.

I MISS this.

I remember loving how much better characterization has gotten over the years with newer SF, too, but I didn't mean we ought to give up on the BIG CONCEPT pieces! :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I've been a longtime fan of Larry Niven and a more recent fan of Gregory Benford, so I was quite excited to find this series. On the down side, this story seemed to start very slowly and was plagued by what appear to be some editing problems in the first half of the first book. Some grammar / spelling issues and some writing that seems to assume knowledge that the reader doesn't have made me feel like the first 50 pages or so were a bit of a slog. Enough that I was thinking of just putting it down. But I couldn't give up on Niven or Benford that easily, so I got to the good.

Once it gets rolling, these books are a compelling read, comparable (intentionally) to Ringworld. There's a lot of the hard Sci Fi elements I like to see from Benford and a lot of the human touches we know Niven for. All in all, this was a very fun series ... after I got through the beginning. ( )
  Mactastik | Sep 4, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory Benfordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Niven, Larrymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Niven, Larrymain authorall editionsconfirmed

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"Science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape) continue the thrilling adventure of a human expedition to another star system that is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure cupping a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths. And which, tantalizingly, is on a direct path heading toward the same system the human ship is to colonize. Investigating the Bowl, or Shipstar, the human explorers are separated--one group captured by the gigantic structure's alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape--while the mystery of the Shipstar's origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that transform their understanding of their place in the universe"--

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