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Dark Lightning (Thunder and Lightning Novel) Hardcover – 5 Aug 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (5 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425274071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425274071
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,173,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Have to disagree with some of the reviews, if you liked the others you will like this overall, although some of the science explanations should have been slimmed down.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 37 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
because the Thunder and Lightning books deserve a better finale than "Dark Lightning 14 Aug. 2014
By Fred Bals - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Dark Lightning" is the fourth in Varley's self-described Heinlein Juvenile tribute novels and, according to Varley's website, probably the last of the series. Which is a shame, because the Thunder and Lightning books deserve a better finale than "Dark Lightning." Maybe Varley lost interest in the series or maybe "Dark Lightning" was written to fulfill a contractual obligation. Whatever happened, it's the weakest book of the series, and one of the weaker books of Varley's career.

There's very little good to say about the book. The plot is plodding, weak, and unbelievable. While it superficially parallels Heinlein's "Orphans of the Sky." the storyline has nothing of the excitement of that 70-year-old book. Similarly, while the two main characters are nods to the "unheavenly twins" from "The Rolling Stones," unlike Castor and Pollux, Cassie and Polly are superficial, wooden, and not even particularly likeable. While I would have always had one hand on my wallet around Cas and Pol, I would enjoy their company. Can't say the same about Polly or Cassie, who would seem to be most interested in whether I was giving the appropriate male attention to their butts.

If you haven't read the Thunder and Lightning series, please start with the first and best, "Red Thunder," which *is* a wonderful homage not only to Heinlein, but also to the works of John D. MacDonald. "Red Lightning" is almost as good and "Rolling Thunder," while having issues, is still a great read. "Dark Lightning" isn't. I wish it was, and, as I said at the beginning of this review, I really hope Varley reconsiders and writes the capstone book that the series deserves. Certainly the conclusion of "Dark Lightning," with its references to "Starship Troopers" and "Tunnel in the Sky" hint that Varley has the germ of a follow-up story in mind. If we're lucky, maybe we'll get to see it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fair enough fourth in the series 12 Oct. 2014
By James Tepper - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
DARK LIGHTNING is the fourth in a series beginning with RED THUNDER, RED LIGHTNING and ROLLING THUNDER. While it is not quite as good as the previous three, it is still a heck of a good read. The main characters this time around are Polly and Cassie, 17 year old twins born aboard the huge asteroid cum interstellar spaceship, "Rolling Thunder". Like the previous entries in the series, this is a YA novel that is also an homage to R.A. Heinlein's YA space operas, most notably PODKAYNE OF MARS. The homage to RAH is all over the place, especially in the names. Rolling Thunder was made possible by the invention of the twin's father, Jubal. Fans will recognize the name from STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND and several of Heinlein's latter day novels that are sequels to METHUSELAH'S CHILDREN and TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE, although the character is completely different. Same for Cassie and Polly, slight variations on other names and of course Podkayne, the main character of ROLLING THUNDER, Jubal's wife and the mother of the twins.

The story is slightly less exciting this time around and deals mostly with the passengers' reaction to Jubal's announcement (upon popping out of a time suspension bubble) that they must stop the ship (header for a star still some 20 years away) immediately. The wiring is typical Varley (meaning excellent) and there is a lot of wisecracking between the girls and there is some typical up to the minute hard SF involving dark matter, dark energy and the nature of interstellar travel. Everything ends up pretty much happily ever after, and this might be the end of the series. I could live with that. But there is room for more, and Jubal, the twins and Podkayne are great characters so I wouldn't mind seeing them again. Don't listen to the really harsh reviews. This is not as good as the first three, or Varley's classic GAIA series, but it's still definitely worth a read.


J.M. Tepper
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Is it a YA novel? 2 Oct. 2014
By twg - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reads a bit like a YA novel. Not just because the main characters are teenage girls, but also because the plot is predictable. Even with a deus-ex-machina ending.

I really miss the Varley of the Gaea Trilogy, and in my personal library, Steel Beach is one of the most re-read SF novels.

If you haven't read Steel Beach, skip this and read that instead.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not with a bang ..." 14 Nov. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
For no discernible reason, Varley has become obsessed with extraneous detail. That pretty much ruined "Slow Apocalypse" and came close to doing the same to "Dark Lightning."

I don't have as much a problem with his portrayal of the twins Cassie and Polly as some reviewers, but there are way too many information dumps, particularly in the first half of the story. The plot limps along, livened up by a few well done action sequences that, unfortunately, suffer from a disappointingly pedestrian build up. Based on the earlier books in the series, I expected better.

Mr. Varley created a memorable cast of characters in the first novel in this series, nicely carried them and their progeny through the next two books, then let them all down with a resounding thud in this last book. If this is the end of the series, it ends not with a bang, but with a yawn. Sad.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
fun read.. 19 Aug. 2014
By iZerreg - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
..with just enough techie stuff to keep your scientific mind humming; and just enough good old fashioned adventure, angst, and competitiveness from "old sun" to ensure we can relate to the story being revealed.
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