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And so one must wonder the extent to which these people still possess “human nature”, whatever that might be. Since the Stone appears prior to the recorded date of the Death, and there is no record of the Stone’s appearance in its libraries, the scientists reason that the Stone may come from an alternate future, but it turns out the Death is indeed imminent even with the Stone.

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. Thanks for the comment, I always appreciate people chiming in with different viewponts, and I’m glad you liked this book. This book pulls the rug out from under the reader about 25% of the way into the reading; and I will not spoil that reality shift for you. Drilling down finds mainly empty characters with little individuality, to whom the reader does not develop any emotional attachment.I never went back to Bear after trying this, though in fairness I encountered it as my SF interest was beginning to seriously lag. Stephen Baxter commented that "what this book is essentially about is the conceptual breakthrough, a keystone trope of science fiction: the change of scale, the revelation of a meaning previously hidden. On the other hand, more time could have been allowed to develop the many characters and their own story lines, the esoteric concepts more carefully explored if it was spread out over several books. The go-to real review is Dirk Grobbelaar's 5-star, conveniently located at the head of the pack below. The Stone’s original inhabitants have been evacuated into the Way at some time in its past, which is the explorers’ future.

He carries the story well, it has good pace and is incredibly well thought out for a large scale piece.The scale is enormous: large cities in a hollowed-out asteroid, a tunnel that is so wide and long that a city with tens of millions of inhabitants had traveled a million kilometers along it, indefinite number of parallel universes, aliens and technologies that would sound very inventive thirty or forty years ago, they all combine into a very compelling worldbuilding. The race is on – is the asteroid from our future or from the future of some less lucky parallel universe?

It was, and is, the result of the political propaganda, still alive, fed to the public in large doses. For those of you who haven't read Eon, the asteroid appears in our solar system from another universe, one closely paralleling our own, and enters orbit around Earth. The portrayal of the Russians is incredibly stereotypical, and Bear never misses a chance to beat the reader over the head with the message that communism was wrong and the U.

If the Soviets believed the Americans were learning secrets that would give them an edge, tensions might escalate out of hand. I honestly don't know enough math or physics to follow some of what he was talking about, but the basic ideas are pretty mind blowing, which is what good sci-fi should do. The explorers find several hollow chambers, filled with cities and artifacts that suggest that they were built by humans.

It is really a shame that the writing is so poor, because the concepts introduced here are fantastic. Probably things that are bigger inside than they are outside are just metaphors for the human brain. All of the various characters are well-rounded, an important attribute when one has such a large ensemble cast.Greg Bear is not the superb master of characters and political speculation in which Ursula Le Guin - Left Hand of Darkness excels, nor is he a smooth story teller such as Ray Bradbury. I might be mistaken of course, but as I have only so much time and an ever growing TBR, I’m glad to cut some corners and be judgemental based on a too small sample rate. Often a little mystery only partly resolved leaves the reader with a sense of anticipation, and forces them to exercise their own imagination. Upon exploration, we discover that the asteroid is hollow, has artificial gravity and is divided up into seven huge chambers, some of which contain cities.

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