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Eon

by Greg Bear

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Way (1), The Eon Series (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,779512,804 (3.69)1 / 89
The 21st century was on the brink of nuclear confrontation when the 300 kilometer-long stone flashed out of nothingness and into Earth's orbit. NASA, NATO, and the UN sent explorers to the asteroid's surface...and discovered marvels and mysteries to drive researchers mad. For the Stone was from space--but perhaps not "our "space; it came from the future--but perhaps not "our" future; and within the hollowed asteroid was Thistledown. The remains of a vanished civilization. A "human"--English, Russian, and Chinese-speaking--civilization. Seven vast chambers containing forests, lakes, rivers, hanging cities... And museums describing the Death; the catastrophic war that was about to occur; the horror and the long winter that would follow. But while scientists and politicians bickered about how to use the information to stop the Death, the Stone yielded a secret that made even Earth's survival pale into insignificance.… (more)
  1. 51
    Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (santhony)
    santhony: The original, and still the best, of those science fiction tales centered upon huge, inter-stellar habitats.
  2. 31
    Ringworld by Larry Niven (santhony)
    santhony: If you enjoy the science fiction genre featuring huge, interstellar habitats, this fits the bill.
  3. 10
    The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton (santhony)
    santhony: This behemoth of a trilogy is chock full of original, scientific theory and principles, including huge, sentient, space habitats.
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» See also 89 mentions

English (48)  Italian (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
I love Big Dumb Object stories, and it's hard to resist gateway-to-multiverse passageways; it's no surprise I devoured this book when it first came out. I was in my mid-twenties and it seemed smart hard-SF as a genre was coming of age. The time was ripe for a revisit this summer.

There is a great BDO here, and a fairly rich puzzle-box involving the builders and their potential nature and needs. The set-up prepares the reader for a great trip. But. So, Bear is gifted at conceiving brilliant, large-scale ideas and wrapping them with conceptual breakthroughs; this is fact. But, much like Clarke before him, he paints watercolor characters and anchors to sociopolitical systems of quickly-dated structures and, like Niven, he buries the Sense of Wonder he tries to foster with imaginary-but-overexplained technologies and numbing technobabble. "Eon" suffers clearly from these weaknesses: it's difficult to feel for characters that are wireframes with specific job skills, and more words are used to describe devices that don't exist than to the actual motions people are taking within the scenery. While "Eon" really is dated in terms of the Cold War geopolitics and the social organization of the various teams involved, it is perhaps more dated in the advances that have occurred within published SF since 1985. Where characters, plot pacing, and use of language to immerse the reader are concerned, this reads much more like an Asimov novel from the 1950s than it does a comparable SF epic of the current day, like Tchaikovsky's "The Doors of Eden," Martine's "A Memory Called Empire," or Reynolds' "Revelation Space." It's still worth reading, but it's neither fresh nor particularly exciting ( )
  MLShaw | Sep 13, 2022 |
i really liked this at first, and it was showing up in my dreams, which may be good and may be bad. despite the fact that i had trouble visualizing the spaces and even some of the actions in the book, and that aside from a solid four or five main ones all of the characters seemed to blend into an indistinguishable mass, i was along for the ride. the mysteries were interesting and we were discovering them along with the lead character, which built up layering feelings of various tensions nicely.

then the story shifted, and it got way too theoretical and even harder to picture for my liberal-arts-trained mind, and from that point on i just wanted it to be over. there was no mystery, just exposition of complicated scientific concepts poorly told. i found myself unwilling to care what happened to most of the characters. and each successive one of the many endings grew more and more anticlimactic and uninteresting to me.

i understand there are sequels. i will not be reading them. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
Just as good as the first time I read it in the 80s. ( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
Overall the book as good, but not great. Potential spoilers below.

= The Good =
The ideas of the book are cool. The author provides some hard sci-fi ideas, and unravels an interesting plot about alternative dimensions, and how various folks cope with this.

= The Bad =

- "Just Because". There were several points in the book where things happened 'just because', or the explanations/rationale were pretty weak. It seemed the author just made choices in order to advance the plot in a certain direction the author wanted it to go.
"I think we should do XYZ". "We can't". "Why not?". "Just because". "Ok, sounds good to me".

- The CAD mind. A bunch of this book seemed like the author created a technical CAD drawing, then proceeded to describe that drawing to the reader, assuming they would understand what is going on. I didn't understand a bunch of what the author was trying to describe, but luckily this didn't get too much in the way of reading the book.

- Bad characterization. A few lead characters seemed like 2D caricatures, rather than real people. This was disappointing. At one point I felt the author was trying to write a bad romance novel.

- Just ok ending. There wasn't really any conclusion in the book, just a description of various events. Clearly this book was set up to start a new trilogy. ( )
  aarondesk | Jul 2, 2021 |
For all this author's propensity to hang on lengthy technical descriptions, his storylines are generally intriguing, and this one is no exception. This has nicely expanded characters, action, and a wondrous setting floating around the universe. As is typical, he has a slow build-up, but once the action starts it's a bona fide page turner. I enjoyed it right to the end. ( )
  terriks | Feb 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Bearprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mänttäri, EeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russo, CarolCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
L'envoi: "Unless you know where you are, you don't know who you are." --Wendell Barry
Dedication
For Poul and Karen with much appreciation and love.
First words
"It's going into a wide elliptical Earth orbit," Judith Hoffman said.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

The 21st century was on the brink of nuclear confrontation when the 300 kilometer-long stone flashed out of nothingness and into Earth's orbit. NASA, NATO, and the UN sent explorers to the asteroid's surface...and discovered marvels and mysteries to drive researchers mad. For the Stone was from space--but perhaps not "our "space; it came from the future--but perhaps not "our" future; and within the hollowed asteroid was Thistledown. The remains of a vanished civilization. A "human"--English, Russian, and Chinese-speaking--civilization. Seven vast chambers containing forests, lakes, rivers, hanging cities... And museums describing the Death; the catastrophic war that was about to occur; the horror and the long winter that would follow. But while scientists and politicians bickered about how to use the information to stop the Death, the Stone yielded a secret that made even Earth's survival pale into insignificance.

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