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Destiny's Road Paperback – 7 May 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New edition edition (7 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857235487
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857235487
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,417,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Niven has ideas the size of planets. (TIME OUT)

A writer of supreme talent. (TOM CLANCY)

The paradigm SF personality of the last several decades. (Gregory Benford)

His tales have a pulse-pounding narrative drive. Niven is a true master. (Frederick Pohl)

Book Description

* An epic new science fiction adventure from a master of SF

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Kendell VINE VOICE on 4 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an odd book. It's as if Larry Niven had deliberately set out to do something different from what he has done before. In this he succeeds, but also leaves his strengths behind.
Destiny is an attractive world, with a potentially fatal drawback for its human settlers - the local biology, while not especially antagonistic to human life, won't sustain it either. Humans need to eat something called "speckles" in order to survive. Niven makes a big deal over this - perhaps too much. He uses it to revive the idea of the water empire, which he did to death twenty years ago in A WORLD OUT OF TIME/CHILDREN OF THE STATE.
The structure of the book is odd, too. At one point, and for no very good reason, there is an hiatus of twenty-seven years. Our hero, who changes his name regularly depending upon whom he wishes to avoid, dosesn't seem to have changed much over this period, so why...?
Niven has done his homework on the sociology and geography, the biochemistry and the cuisine (it's a nice touch to make his hero a cook) of his creation but it all seems a bit mechanistic. There's very little wonder in this world, which is a shame. Wonder is in plentiful supply in Niven's best work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 15 April 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of Larry Niven's best novels, if not THE best.
Humanity is colonising an alien world, but they seem unlike your 'normal' humans, lack of adventure, no questions, don't rock the boat. Jemmy is of a different mold and wants to explore - how he does it and what he meets on the road are the stuff of the old-style Niven.
Well-described, thoughtfully worked-out, this book had me gripped.
The book begs for a sequel - please, Larry!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 April 1999
Format: Paperback
Destiny's Road is a long rambling story about the colonisation of a planet called Destiny by some settlers from Earth. The novel basically concerns the adventures of a young man, Jemmy Bloocher, and his flight from Spiral Town after he commits a murder.
Much of the book is concerned with Jemmy as he makes his way down 'The Road' (built by the original settlers) intertwined with the constant need for all human life to consume 'speckles'. These speckles are a potassium based plant that allows humanity to continue to survive as none of the planets indigenous life forms use or process this element in any way.
It is this latter fact that lets this book down very badly. Niven never really gives any kind of even off-hand explanation of how earthlife and the life on Destiny effectively intermingle (the original settlers brought and seeded extensive varieties of earth plant and animal life) and thus the entire ecological environment of the planet just never seems to have a ring of plausibility about it. More strange is the fact that a good proportion of the humanity on the planet never questions this speckle dependency and even the main character does not do so until he himself is of middle age.
The book has a good ending, resolving parts of the problems described above, but takes a long time to get there. You often have to follow several strange plot jumps just to discover one more jigsaw piece and this becomes tiresome after a few times. Being someone who grew up with the Known Space stories and the wealth of other fine material that Niven has produced I was looking forward to reading this book. Ultimately I was disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
It's a delight to see an alien world where terran colonists, made from particular sugar, fat and amino acid polymers, aren't somehow able to walk into a different biochemical ecosystem, eat the alien food and suffer the alien diseases. Instead, Niven's colonists eat native food as a slimming aid (they can't digest it, lacking the right enzymes) and suffer drastic malnutrition from the lack of a trace element universal in earth biochemisty. The book explores the society of a human colony on an alien planet, feeding the reader a small stream of information about the ecosystem and personalities that shaped this society.
Much is left unsaid, but enough is provided to give us a fascinating idea as to how our very human descendants might get on. What is said is more problematic. There are some distinct oddities about this society - the singular lack of curiosity, the decline in technological ability amongst a populace descended from interstellar colonists and backed up by advanced technology, the lack of commerce and travel, the strange policy on harvesting the only source of the vital dietary element. The world unveiled to our hero is one which doesn't resemble anything that vivacious, curious, materialistic humanity might ever conjure up. The society is too fragile and unlikely, shaped solely by the whim of the writer. Still, finding out about it is gripping.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
Destiny's road is a departure for Niven and I, for one, am glad to see it. The work concentrates again on his latest thrust which is the look outward to the worlds that man might one day colonize and the specific dangers that we might face there. In contrast to the perils of Ringworld and the dangers of Beowulf and Heorot, this is a calmer, yet no less deadly danger. On Destiny, what confront's the colonists are the simple facts of the need to live in a place not designed to harbor our life form. Beyond that, Destiny's road is an "On the Road" a la Larry Niven and you'll do well to settle back and enjoy the places that he takes you. All in all, a work well done and well worth reading.
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