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End of an Era [Paperback]

Robert J. Sawyer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 15.07 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

Oct 2001
Two time-travelers visit the Age of the Dinosaurs and discover more than they bargained for.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Revised edition (Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312876939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312876937
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 13.8 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 843,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been described as Canada's answer to Michael Crichton. Critically acclaimed in the US he is regarded as one of SF's most significant writers and his novels are regularly voted as fan's favourites. He lives in Canada.

Product Description

About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been selling science fiction stories since 1979 but took a long detour into the world of magazine and corporate writing before starting to write SF novels. His original ambition was to be a palaeontologist so its not surprising that dinosaurs feature so prominently in his work. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tyrannosaurs and . . . Twinkies?? 6 Mar 2004
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
Robert Sawyer restores the "science" in "S-F" as no other writer can. As he transports two men 65 million years into the past, he offers us a sampling of everything from the anthropic principle through geology to zoology. He's able to reconcile the paradoxes raised by time travel [including a nod to the most famous example, Ray Bradbury's The Sound of Thunder] and set them aside plausibly. Sawyer also illuminates the contribution of Canada's researchers in nearly all these disciplines with subdued fervour. And scourges politicians for their failure to support science. All this in just over two hundred pages is no small feat.
The theme of End of an Era recounts the probable cause of the dinosaurs' extinction. Sawyer uses the story to review the thinking resulting from the Alvarez proposal that a wandering asteroid so disrupted the environment that all the large sauropods died out, leaving the planet an open niche for mammalian life. If an asteroid didn't kill off the dinosaurs, what did? The most discussed option is an era of massive vulcanism which would have the same effect. But Sawyer, with his gift of imagination, introduces a new option. Again, his concept has a sound scientific base and he describes it at some length. His presentation is impressive and well delivered. And a terrifying surprise.
Along with his scientific foundation, Sawyer paints realistic characters. The protagonist is a paleontologist with the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto [Sawyer's lucky, he lives close to his sources], and one can't help but wonder who the model might be. Brandon Thackeray, in the midst of devastating mid-life crises, is chosen as one of the two time travellers. His team-mate couldn't have been a worse choice for such an assignment - he's taken up with Brandon's ex-wife.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another world’s scientific renaissance. 16 April 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Robert J Sawyer's engaging style and inventiveness come to the fore in this book. We follow the story of a Reptilian Astronomer’s discovery of his world's position in its solar system. Our hero's story is reminiscent of the adventures of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and even Columbus. As with the more readable histories of our own world's scientific discoveries, this is a cracking adventure, encapsulating not only the sheer excitement of breaking into the unknown, but also the politics and pressure of prevailing beliefs and the "old guard".
For those of you who are familiar with our own “scientific history” and the trials and tribulations of the main characters in their attempts to understand their observations this book will be familiar (though very enjoyable) ground. For those of you who know less about this subject, this book is never the less a good read in its own right. Mr Sawyer gives us drama, a spattering of (reptilian) love interest and above all an unravelling mystery which keeps you turning the pages.
Our hero's world is similar, but certainly not the same as ours. The question is will you be able to work it out before he does.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Saurian novel for the Intelligent 15 April 2010
Format:Paperback
This novel is certainly not well-served by the garish and somewhat juvenile cover of my paperback copy, on which technicolour Troodons (one presumes they look a bit like raptors) rampage across a technicolour primeval landscape.
It's actually an intelligently written and interesting piece which features complex characters as a refreshing change, although they could have been explored a little more.
Brandon and Klicks, two professors of Natural History are chosen to be sent back in time to a period just before the extinction event sixty-five million years ago.
The two men, one English/Canadian, the other West Indian, used to be best friends until Brandon's divorce after which his wife took up with Klicks.
When they arrive back in the time of the dinosaurs, their working relationship is put under a strain. It's not long, however, before the two discover that a Martian intelligent virus has taken control of dinosaur bodies. Knowing that they are extinct in the future, Klicks wants to take the Het (as they call themselves) back with them, but Brandon is more cautious.
Meanwhile, back in the future, Brandon has discovered an electronic diary which he has no recollection of writing, a diary which details his adventures with the dinosaurs. He has no memory of the trip and the woman who designed and ran the Time Travel project gave up working in that field years ago. He is also not divorced and is shocked to discover the reports of Klicks and his wife Tess.
There's some odd predictions, such as when Brandon recalls taking Tess to see the sixth Star Wars film, and one that thankfully didn't come true; when Brandon is watching movies and finds Macauley Culkin to be a surprisingly good 007.
The novel is maybe rather too brief. I'd have liked some additional suspense and character development, but on the whole it's a tidy little novel that makes some thought provoking points about viruses, and is very knowledgeable about dinosaurs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beginning of an era 6 July 2005
By Richard W Little - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In my recent trip to the beach, I took along my old copy of Robert Sawyer's End of An Era, a science ficton novel set in both the near future and the distant past. Ten years ago, when I read it for the first time, I was impressed enough by the work that I've been on a Robert Sawyer kick ever since.

A little about the story... In the not-so-distant future, a team of two scientists are sent back on a first, experimental mission into the past, to study and resolve questions regarding the fall of the dinosaurs at the end of the Jurassic. Old friends these two are, but there are recent, and large, strains on their relationship: a divorce, an affair, family illness, to name a few. So, perhaps sending them into the past together is not the best idea, but they have to make do with each other--and what they find.

Sawyer clearly and concisely reviews the theories regarding the extinction of the dinosaurs, and introduces his own...I grant you, with no real evidence, but it makes for an entertaining spin. Along the way, time travel paradox issues are also touched upon, as well as current issues such as public science funding, the economy, and AIDS. The story makes for an entertaining and quick read, and the main character is portrayed as flawed, yet likeable, and intelligent. Hard science fiction, this is not...but that's OK, as the introduction of new concepts and spins on classic problems make this a keeper.

Sawyer containues to be one of the authors I try to keep up with these days, and I do recommend this book to science fiction fans.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Science Fiction Novel!!! 14 Jan 2002
By Dr. Zoidberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The last book I read by Robert J. Sawyer was "Calculating God", which I think was a phenomenal book. Hoping for another book on the same level, I got "End of an Era". It's quite uncommon that an author writes two superb novels in a row - however, this time Robert J. Sawyer absolutely did it! "End of an Era" was a fantastic, fabulous story and I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it. It contains everything a good science fiction story should have: a great idea, great writing, face pace, hard science, and themes which remain with you long after you finish the book. And believe me, you won't forget this book for a while.

As for the plot: Brandon Thackery, a Canadian Paleontologist (sounds familiar? his previous protagonist from "Calculating God" was also a Canadian Paleontologist) is being offered the chance of a life time: go back in time 65 million years, and actually witness the dinosaurs - and hopefully, see what killed them. Along with Brandon comes his best friend/nemesis (he stole Brandon's wife) Miles "Klicks" Jordan. Once they arrive to the past, they are surprised to find a few unexpected things.. First, Earth's gravity is about a 1/3 of what it should be. Second, there is a second moon to the Earth. Third, and most surprising, the earth is populated by enigmatic aliens, which apparently can control the dinosaurs. I am sure you're already intrigued, and trust me, this book promises AND delivers!

In my opinion, this book would literally appeal to everyone: for those who like action and adventure, as well as those who love serious themes. The book continues the ideas started in "Calculating God", although is a bit lighter and less serious. To summarize: terrific book - can't wait for the next Robert J. Sawyer book who has already become one of my favorite authors.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How does he do it? 9 Mar 1999
By Illegals@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was ingenius, easily outdoing any of Robert J. Sawyer's Quintaglio books (although not the trilogy as a whole). I was left in awe of the author's continuous demonstration of originality and imagination. The book is short but definitely very absorbing; if you love dinosaurs, time travel, or science-fiction in general, read it! (Also if you want to know what really happened to the dinosaurs, earth's second moon, why time travel is impossible in our universe, and where the future of the glass and steel industries lie.)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tyrannosaurs and . . . Twinkies?? 28 Feb 2002
By Stephen A. Haines - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Robert Sawyer restores the "science" in "S-F" as no other writer can. As he transports two men 65 million years into the past, he offers us a sampling of everything from the anthropic principle through geology to zoology. He's able to reconcile the paradoxes raised by time travel [including a nod to the most famous example, Ray Bradbury's "The Sound of Thunder"] and set them aside plausibly. Sawyer also illuminates the contribution of Canada's researchers in nearly all these disciplines with subdued fervour. And scourges politicians for their failure to support science. All this in just over two hundred pages is no small feat.
The theme of End of an Era recounts the probable cause of the dinosaurs' extinction. Sawyer uses the story to review the thinking resulting from the Alvarez proposal that a wandering asteroid so disrupted the environment that all the large sauropods died out, leaving the planet an open niche for mammalian life. If an asteroid didn't kill off the dinosaurs, what did? The most discussed option is an era of massive vulcanism which would have the same effect. But Sawyer, with his gift of imagination, introduces a new option. Again, his concept has a sound scientific base and he describes it at some length. His presentation is impressive and well delivered. And a terrifying surprise.
Along with his scientific foundation, Sawyer paints realistic characters. The protagonist is a paleontologist with the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto [Sawyer's lucky, he lives close to his sources], and one can't help but wonder who the model might be. Brandon Thackeray, in the midst of devastating mid-life crises, is chosen as one of the two time travellers. His team-mate couldn't have been a worse choice for such an assignment - he's taken up with Brandon's ex-wife. Miles Jordan might be forgiven that affair, but will never live down taking packages of Twinkies into the Cretaceous. Sawyer hints that Tory cutbacks have eliminated psychological testing for this unique journey, but still, this is some pair to cram together in a time machine.
Sawyer's thinking challenges any reader unfamiliar with the science he introduces. His brief scenarios of research and theories cover much territory in a restricted space. While welcome and necessary, they don't leave enough room for plot in such a short book. Regrettably, his very skills in offering science force the story line over a bumpy path. There are parallel story lines in this book which take some unravelling. While his characters are realistically portrayed, the book might have been fleshed out a bit. Readers of Sawyer's other work know he's fully capable of expanding his persona. With a shade more depth, this book could have become a classic in speculative ["science"] fiction instead of just a very good read. Even if Sawyer's not at the top of his form here, his innovative thinking
remains captivating to the discerning reader.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do I love thee, let me count the ways. 2 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very interesting book for a number of reasons:
1. Rather like a short story in feeling, or perhaps 'novella' is
a better name for it since it is 222 pages long
2. Light style, humorous, but fundamentally serious in that the
consequences of the decisions that the main character was
forced to make were far-reaching and cataclysmic in nature;
the motivations of the main character are crystal clear and
perfectly logical
3. The whole way through it was surprising and entertaining, and
thought-provoking also (don't expect its extinction theory to
be the answer to that particular question, though)-- and
despite that fact that the reader knows that the dinosaurs
are going to go extinct, the ending is unexpected
4. Excellent story telling, good pacing, good vocabulary, good
humor, real feelings, real reactions to relationships
(And as a side note, if you haven't read 'Kirinyaga' by Mike Resnick, do. It is amazing.)
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