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Eternal Light Paperback – 25 Mar 1993

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Paperback, 25 Mar 1993

Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New edition edition (25 Mar. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857230159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857230154
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,256,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of more than twenty books, including science-fiction, thriller, and crime novels, several collections of short stories, a Doctor Who novella, and an anthology of stories about popular music, which I co-edited with Kim Newman. My fiction has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell award, the Sidewise Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award for best short story.

Before I went over to the dark side and became a full-time writer, I worked as a research biologist in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and for six years was a lecturer in botany at St Andrews University. My chief research interest was symbioses between unicellular algae and coelenterates, including green hydra, sea anemones, and reef-forming corals. I'm still a huge fan of all things to do with science, and spend too much time tweeting about weird and wonderful stuff as UnlikelyWorlds; Time magazine listed me as one of their top 140 most interesting tweeters in 2013.

I live in North London, and haven't yet walked down every street in the A-Z. But I'm trying.

Product Description

Amazon Review

With this, his third novel, Paul J. McAuley stopped being merely promising and entered the front rank of British SF authors. The galactic backdrop already visited in his earlier books Four Hundred Billion Stars and Secret Harmonies here opens out at huge and exhilarating scale. Our galaxy is infested with quarrelling factions of the irrationally hostile alien Alea, against whose colonies the crumbling and partly decadent human Federation wages a depressing, genocidal war of self-defence. Now an anomalous star travelling at daunting speed has arrived from the galactic core and offers rapid wormhole transit to the centre--where ambitious Alea are building the most gigantic habitats in SF, hyperstructures light-years across. This project's use of energies from outside the universe endangers the cosmos: "Something is rubbing the fabric of space-time thin enough to allow creation to shine through." Only pure mathematical weaponry supplied by advanced "angels" from a fractal reality can stop the unravelling of space. But the ramshackle human mission to the core is beset by strife, religious fanaticism, greed and mutiny, and looks set for bloody failure even before the Alea unleash their own superweapon. A rich, crowded novel that combines exotic descriptions, slam-bang action and a mind-blowing secret history of the universe. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Ambitious ideas-driven space opera from the stylistic master of British SF. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jane Aland VINE VOICE on 10 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
After two novels and a short story collection that were at best mediocre, McAuley finally hits his stride with Eternal Light. It’s set in the same universe as the majority of his previous work, but it’s a huge leap forward in terms of quality. Primarily this is a direct sequel to Four Hundred Billion Stars, as it continues the journey of lead character Dorthy Yoshida, but with plenty of recaps it’s possible (and may actually be preferable) to skip the previous novel and read this as a standalone novel.
The central story takes another well-worn sf idea – the evolution of life beyond flesh – but weaves it around a giddily inventive plot. As with Secret Harmonies, McAuley splits his narrative between two main leads, thus ensuring that things never becomes dull.
At times Eternal Light borders on being too-hard sf, but thanks to its strong characters the book never completely disappears up it’s own standing wave function. If you like the sort of epic universe building of Stephen Baxter (and with its use of stars as weapons, evolving beyond the material universe, and a uroboric use of time Eternal Light is a close relative of Baxter’s Xeelee series) you’ll find much to enjoy here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
Personally speaking this is the book that brought Paul to my attention and its been a firm Sci-Fi favourite since as one of the tales that I judge all others by. Its got cracking civilisations shaped by their technologies, idealistic societies and above all a tale that will keep you gripped to the last page with the fully formed characters. It's no wonder that this tale has been reprinted as a modern classic especially when you add to the mix time travel and classic space ship to ship battles that has become part of the staple fan diet. If you're only going to pick up one of Paul's books to try make it this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Lees on 29 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Eternal Light is a big imaginative space opera novel of the classic formula. The plot revolves around a hypervelocity star discovered to be travelling against the rotation of the galaxy seemingly on a collision course with the solar system. Those who make the journey to the star each have their own ambitions and agendas, although none are prepared for what they find when in orbit around the they encounter the strange, fractured moon pock-marked with wormholes leading to the centre of the galaxy...

Ageless plutocrats, alien superweapons, vanished post-human intelligences, galactic mega-engineering, hard-bitten fighter pilots, telepathic astronomers, fun with Einstein-Minkowski space - all the ingredients of an enjoyable hard sf adventure story combine in a plot that keeps moving at a good clip. As with most good sf, the book asks the reader to reflect on our place in the universe and the extreme possibilities of human existence. Thus the Fermi Paradox and ideas of deep time form central plot elements and are subject to some interesting and pretty original reflections. The characterisation is also surprisingly good for hard sf, McAuley has a sharp appreciation of human idiosyncracies ensures that even minor characters have more than two dimensions. In particular of primary female protagonist, Australian-Japanese telepath Dorthy Yoshida, is as rounded a heroine as can be found in any genre, not just sf.

The inclusion of some cyberpunk elements ensures that the book has little aged despite being penned a good two decades ago.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jon Turner on 23 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maybe it's just me but I disagree with everyone here. I don't think the characters are fully rounded at all but quite invisible really. I couldn't empathise with anything going on in the book and at times there are passages or descriptions of hard sci-fi that I couldn't help thinking were just nonsense. I deperately tried to get into it but in the end, half way through, I decided that I just didn't care about, or believe in, anything that was going on...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Hypercomplicated and awesome 1 Mar. 2000
By Michael Battaglia - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Criminally out of print, this was the book that catapulted McAuley into the science fiction spotlight, I believe this was preceded by two books (making this the third of a trilogy) that were entertaining but mediocre genre SF and indeed there are several references to events that I can only assume happened in previous books but you really don't notice. Just start reading and dive in. Attempting to describe the plot is probably pointless because there are so many threads and details, needless to say it deals with the center of the galaxy and god-like intelligences and the people who want to use that sort of stuff for their own benefits. And science. Lots of it. These people all do weird things that seem to defy science and McAuley has no problem making it all seem probable. Heck his science seems to make sense so I guess he knows what he's talking about. Go figure. Basically you just let yourself get carried along, the characters are fairly memorable (if a tad flat at points) and frankly he drags out the ending just a little bit, the book should have ended about fifty pages before it actually does but he needs to wrap it up somehow I guess. Alas, it's close to the peaks already set by hypercomplicated science freaks Dan Simmons (read Hyperion! Now!) and Peter Hamilton but their books hang together a little better and don't depend as much on the visceral rush of reading the book. Nevertheless this was a major leap for McAuley and one of the best SF books of the decade easily. You won't be sorry for tracking this one down.
Its just ok 10 Mar. 2013
By Christopher Wilkins - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
compared to Iain M Banks this is quite light on. Rambles on a bit with a fluffy ending.. not something I would read again.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
a book i wish was gonna be a movie 5 Jan. 2001
By "kadixjvr5408urransyxzq" - Published on
Format: Paperback
Okay, so, I used to be kinda leery of the way the recommendation software seems like it's trying hard to be your friend...I was like, hey, I'll find my own way around, thanks. But then, in a moment of weakness, I followed the link to Paul McAuley's "Eternal Light" when it was recommended to me after I had looked up some other space-opera-like titles. And even though it's currently out of print (which i agree is a shame), i lucked up on a used copy, and now i have to say, the recommendation software seems to know me pretty well by now, 'cause i really liked this book a lot, even though i had never heard of McAuley before. What I liked so much about "Eternal Light" were the strong characterizations, the ins-and-outs of the intriguing plot, and the extra-groovy settings, especially the colorful city of Urbis on Titan. The story did throw me just a little toward the end, when it seemed to roll right on past the climax into a long decline...but, that's not really a complaint, 'cause it was a fun ride the whole way, and i didn't mind spending extra time with the protagonists. Oh, and the aliens were interesting, the mind-blowing hyper-whatsits totally mind-blowing in just the right way, and the echoes of space operas past felt nice...all in all, a fine read for a long spell of midwinter cabin fever. So I guess what I'm saying is, hey Mr. or Ms. Book Publisher, you all oughta print up a few more of this title, to let other folks in on the magic of Mr. McAuley's wild imagination.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not Free SF Reader 3 Sept. 2007
By Blue Tyson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Yoshida is back, and again her telepathic abilities are part of someone's plots and plans. The war in the far flung reaches of space is won, but a bizarre and maybe crazy really old guy has a really large scale crazy idea of his own that he wants to carry out.

Dorothy, along with a couple of others that he has along for the ride, must work out what to do about that, the alien knowledge she has, and a few other star-spanning issues.
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