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Borrowed Tides Hardcover – Feb 2001


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Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City. His eight nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (1999, 2nd edition 2012) have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Financial Times, and have been translated into ten languages. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (1999, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel, author's cut Kindle published 2012), Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002, 2013), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006, 2012), and Unburning Alexandria (2013). His short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. Paul Levinson appears on MSNBC, Fox News, BBC Radio, and numerous national and international TV and radio programs. His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued on re-mastered vinyl by Whiplash Records in the UK in 2010. Levinson reviews the best of television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009.

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Review

"Levinson does a terrific job . . . [reminiscent] of the philosophic space fiction of James Blish or the reality-testing scenarios of Philip K. Dick." -"-Locus""Borrowed Tides is jumping with ideas."-"The Denver Post" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 23 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Overall Pretty Poor Stuff 19 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This really isn't any good. The story itself had possibilities, but the book falls prey to two major problems: Levinson doesn't write very well, and he doesn't know what he's talking about.
The first problem might be overlooked by science fiction fans of the old school, who don't place terribly high importance on literary style. Levinson's awkward prose and unconvincing dialogue are not particularly bad by space-opera standards.
However, the science in this novel is simply ridiculous. In attempting to use the language and concepts of quantum physics, Mr. Levinson is obviously living far beyond his intellectual means.
Furthermore, I am assured by Native American friends that the "Iroquois" material is even more wildly wrong than the alleged science. And as for the philosophical "profundities", words fail me. It is too bad they did not fail Mr. Levinson.
The Silk Code, despite a silly premise and a tortuous plot, did have its moments. Borrowed Tides is simply awful.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A slow and unfocused read 12 May 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The local library had this book because it is by a local author; my wife gave me a copy to take on a business trip. I found Borrowed Tides a slow and unfocused read and if I hadn't been stuck in backwoods North Carolina for a couple days I probably wouldn't have finished it.
The characters were not very well developed for the most part -- especially the "kid" with strange power -- and it looks like one character got killed off more for the convenience of the author ( who couldn't figure out what to do next) than for the needs of the plot.
Worse, the ideas seemed borrowed from a lot of new age sources but they were strewn about right and left and they didn't quite connect. ... In fact the ending was the biggest disappointment -- it is definitely a cheat -- almost as bad as one of those "it was all a dream" things.
They tell me the writer is a college professor; perhaps that's why the book is as dry as it is. Fun the book isn't. RH, NY
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Slipping 16 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Levinson's quality is slipping in this disapointing second novel. He doesn't seem to know what to do with the story and quickly losses the reader's interest in this novel which could use severe editing.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great ingredients, failed execution 29 April 2001
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Imagine a novel set in the near future where mankind is on the verge of attempting the stars--or falling back on itself. Imagine a heroic scientist, a dash of Native American legend, strange psychic abilities, an alien space hulk, and a time warp. Clearly Paul Levinson has assembled all of the ingredients of a great science fiction novel.
Unfortunately, Levinson falls far short of this promise. His science is a bit bizarre--his plot depends on the ability to turn around halfway to the destination. The idea of a halfway point with a space ship (whether under continuous drive or especially with inertia) is scientifically suspect. With inertia (as with the U.S. travel to the moon), it takes just as much fuel to reverse direction no matter how far you've traveled. With continuous acceleration, you would have to turn around far closer to the starting point than the end.
Readers can forgive suspect science if they're given interally logical stories. Here too, Levinson lets us down. We have long discussions about the impossibility of sending a human to the new planet--and then we send one. We have other long discussions about increasing the biomass on the ship (cool--use the time warp to overcome conservation of mass/energy, I like it) and then we never see what happens. The characters decide to have a baby for its presumed psychic abilities--did it have any? Who knows, Levinson never tells us.
Levinson can write. Maybe he needs a critique partner to help him make sure everything sticks together.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
SF written by an eight year old? 2 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
OK OK I confess, I only to got to page 80, and I also have to admit, hard science in SF novels is not that important to me, nor are the mechanics of interstellar spaceflight. But to make the mechanics of space flight, apparently using contemporary science, the main interest of the first 30% of your novel and then be so ludicrously ill informed about it really is an acute embarassment. Its reminiscent of someone who was a techical advisor to star wars. Characterisation and plot development were also weak areas, in fact the novel had no strengths, unless you count the fact the author seemed in a cheerful mood throughout and quite unaware of his own shortcomings. Avoid.
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