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Debatable Space

Debatable Space [Kindle Edition]

Philip Palmer
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £4.94 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description


So crammed with startling ideas, scintillating prose, incredible aliens and plot twists that it evokes wonder and admiration ... A debut of rare accomplishment (Guardian )

A great innovative work. Palmer clearly knows his sci-fi (Starburst )

Relentlessly energetic ... one of those rare books that holds your focus on every page ( )

A hugely ambitious space opera by a first-time novelist that certainly doesn't skimp on big ideas (SFX )

Book Description

An audacious and imaginative debut from a bold new voice in British science fiction.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1050 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (4 Sep 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TXZR36
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #491,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Philip Palmer is a film and television writer and producer who also writes for radio and theatre. He teaches screenwriting at Leeds Metropolitan University and runs a television drama series course in Brighton for Lighthouse.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Space is more like it 24 Jan 2008
A band of pirates kidnaps the daughter of the ruler of the universe and holds her for ransom. The trouble is ruler of the universe Cheo isn't that receptive to their demands and their prisoner, Lena, isn't what she first appears.

But this isn't just a pirate story. It's an exploration of 1000 years of human history. And what has happened? Human have travelled, colonised, enslaved, and turned into dolphins (well some of them have).

For a first novel it's a big challenge and a bit of a balancing act. Palmer presents his story from multiple viewpoints. We delve into the minds of Lena, the pirate crew, occasionally others, but we get most of our information from Lena.

And this is where the balancing act comes in. How time do you spend with each character and how they appear will depend on their part of the story. As Lena is a big part of the story we spend a lot of time with her. As a main character she is a fascinating and a worthy companion. The problem is she goes on a bit.

Palmer through her retells how the current state of humanity came about. He does occasionally retell too much. This is slightly frustrating especially as events speed to a conclusion when we're presented with a large chunk of history. It is relevant but maybe isn't as vital or as enjoyable as Lena, or perhaps Palmer, thinks.

This is strange as I enjoyed most of the other tales and the asides and presentation of history. It's probably because it takes too much time out of the current action at a point where it should be sprinting towards the finish.

This isn't though a fatal flaw. The characters are varied and well formed; the story is well planned and interesting. And most of the time it works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual and engaging 21 July 2011
I don't normally write reviews - but was amazed by the number of 1 star ratings this book has got.

On one level it's classic space opera - but written with multiple perspectives, lots of ideas and some wit. I found characterisation to be good, and the story generally moved along at a decent pace.

Some of the 'gimmicks' others mentioned (like using whole pages with just one symbol or word on them) I liked - and felt they added to the sort of playful style...

Anyway - I'd recommend it (though I thought 'Version 43' was better...)
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1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, terrible book 10 Mar 2010
By A. Rose
I love 'hard' Sci-Fi and am constantly looking for new authors, however I certainly regret this particular purchase.

I finished the book only because I couldn't believe that it could be this bad all the way through - unfortunately I was wrong. The science is rubbish and the grand scale just plain laugable - the fleet fight which had millions of ships on either side, and was covered in just about a paragraph, being a particular low point of the book.

I can't recall anything I've read that's been this poor. Not recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst SF books I have ever read 5 April 2009
By Neil
It's not often that I'll finish a book and be actually angry at how utterly awful it was, to the extent that I'll take the time to write a review to help others avoid it.

The author takes many many ideas, most of them unoriginal, and crams them all in without any any development or explanation making them completely unbelievable. Sadly a similar approach is taken to the characterisation.

It's written in the style of a precocious teenager desperate to please the reader, and uses ridiculous techniques such as taking a whole page to write 'up ... up ... up ' diagonally across the page in order to describe flying... honestly.

The pacing is all wrong, it's completely juvenile, the plot lines are hackneyed, and the whole thing is a waste of your time and money.

If you're a fan of the likes of Iain M Banks or Alastair Reynolds, do yourself a favour and give this one a wide berth.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth persevering 18 Mar 2009
The introductory pages really put me off. So much so that the book sat gathering dust for weeks on the bedside table. But I gave it another go, and I'm glad that I did. If you can break through the crust of the first 20-odd pages, you'll be rewarded with some great imaginary landscapes, ideas and future alternatives. But can't say that I liked the multi-narrator structure - to me very jarring. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. But I'd certainly consider reading what Philip Palmer comes up with next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars HEAPS OF FUN (FOR NON-PURISTS) 23 Jun 2011
The response to this gleeful book is saddening, and tells me just as much about the readers as it does about Mr Palmer's delightful novel. Debatable Space is a fast-paced and witty space opera that reaches that places a lot of science fiction doesn't. It's touched by a humanity that's absent in much lofty hard sf, and the breadth of the author's worldview is apparent in his life-affirming writing style. This is a romp, sure. But it's an intelligent romp written from a humanist stance, by someone who has a deep appreciation of life and the arts, and that enthusiasm comes through in the prose again and again. If your life revolves around science fiction, than this might not be the book for you. But if you appreciate science fiction as part of a varied diet, you'll enjoy this delightfully dotty book all the more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Undebateable rubbish
A note to the reader of this review: its intent is to warn of the dangers of reading reviews, so proceed with caution. Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2011 by A. J. Poulter
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong debut...
Engrossed in devising rhapsodic phrases about a newly discovered sun, Lena is far too slow to respond to the threat of pirate invaders - until they board her yacht and take her... Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2011 by sjhigbee
1.0 out of 5 stars not good
I was glad when I decided that this book was not worth finishing, not even on a plane journey
Published on 12 Oct 2009 by Joanpau Rubies
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid
Very poor. In places it was ok but overall a waste of time and money.
Published on 14 Sep 2009 by Eoin Lynch
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst sci fi book I've read
I will normaly persevere with a book once I have started but the bad plot and over the top juvenile sexual jokes made me cringe so much that I had to stop half way through. Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2008 by Mr. R. LAMBDEN
2.0 out of 5 stars Gave up half way through
The blurb on the back of the book, intriging cover and the fact that this a debut novel lured me into this purchase. Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2008 by Ra Masters
5.0 out of 5 stars A taste worth acquiring
I can see how this may not be for everyone (hence the fairly polarised ratings so far) but I thought it was wonderful. Read more
Published on 14 Nov 2008 by A. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and well crafted
An impressive first novel: imaginative, audacious... enjoyable! I was surprised by the structure and enjoyed the playfulness. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2008 by Kaz Hill
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