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Hex (Coyote Universe) [Hardcover]

Allen Steele
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 16.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (7 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441020364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441020362
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 741,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The "Coyote" series, of which this is the eighth installment, has always been at its best when the characters engage in human conflicts while exploring the exotic colony world, Coyote. The weakest points have always been Steele's aliens (who are essentially humans in fancy dress), and Steele's physics (which is bad).
The advent of Hex is a worry, then, because it features a huge circumstellar space habitat (the "Hex" of the title) populated by many different races of aliens. There's every indication, by the end of the book, that Steele is setting up for sequels in which his human characters roam around Hex and encounter new aliens. But the aliens we encounter in this novel are just Steele's usual slightly foreign people, and the physics of the Dyson-sphere habitat is catastrophically bad. He doesn't get centrifugal pseudogravity right; he doesn't get simple orbital mechanics right; he messes up simple mathematics (calculates an area, calls it a volume, then gives it in erroneous scientific notation with unit of length). This is really not a place Steele should be, and I wish he'd head back to some more human dramas on Coyote.
If bad physics doesn't bother you, and you don't mind aliens from Star Trek central casting, you'll find a mildly engaging adventure in which humans get into trouble, get out of trouble and get into more trouble, in strange locations. There's a central character arc in which an estranged mother and son come together through adversity, but it's rather sketchily and unconvincingly drawn, with a saccharine conclusion worthy of Steven Spielberg.

Oh - and the octagonal diagram of a hexagon that some reviewers at Amazon.com have complained about? That's been fixed in my mass-market Ace paperback.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Blood for Steele's Universe 12 Jun 2011
By G. Peter Wityk - Published on Amazon.com
I finished Hex last night in essentially one sitting. It's a good book and a good story worth reading. But it has its weaknesses.

The book is a continuation of the Coyote novels and is the 8th in the series. The series was in need of fresh blood and fresh ideas. Hex provides both in ample quantities. It is a story of exploration and discovery. A ship's captain must take her crew and passengers in the form of an exploration team to discover what an alien race is offering the inhabitants of Coyote. They are expecting a planet suitable for colonization and find a Dysonian sphere. The story continues as one of discovery; discover what the alien race expects from the human race and discover what the relationships between the humans will be. There is conflict; between the starship captain mother and her explorer team son and between the humans and aliens.

The setting and exploration aspects of the book are excellent. The conflict and resolution are perhaps the weak points of the book. The conflict is generally cerebral, intellectual and remote even when someone is killed right in front of you. The conflict is generally caused by someone being stubborn and unwilling to listen and the resolution is generally the stubborn person saying or thinking, "Oh yes! Why didn't I listen to the advice, suggestions, orders, ... We could have avoided this whole mess." To me that is the weakest part of the book. However, the scope of the concept and the rest of the book more than make up for this. And, he has devised a setting that allows plenty of room for future books. Considering that he had about run out of space on Coyote, that is a good thing.

Steele is compared to Robert A. Heinlein on the book's dust jacket. My opinion is that Arthur C. Clarke is a better candidate for comparison. While both authors wrote near future stories and alien contact and relations stories, Heinlein was more visceral and direct while Clarke more cerebral and remote. Steele is closer to Clarke in themes, style of writing and choice of subjects. That is neither good nor bad. It is another way to judge if this is a book that you want to read. And, my advice is that it most definitely is.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Science 13 Aug 2011
By Larry Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The blurb says something about Steele being the closest we have to Robert Heinlein. In some ways yes, but Heinlein's science was always right. This book's central item is made up of real howlers, the worst of which involves generating gravity by rotation. Sure, it's possible, but read Larry Niven's "Ringworld" for the real and practical outworking of this with an object whose radius equals that of Earth's orbit. Steele ignores this, and the fact that hexagons can't make a sphere. Look closely at a soccer ball...

The trumped-up interpersonal problems bothered me. The bad science made me give up on it and go to something better.

Two stars because some of it's not bad, and there are some interesting ideas regarding aliens. I have read Steele's other "Coyote" books and enjoyed them.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arghhhh... 16 Jun 2011
By Robert G. Munck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very good book, but with mistakes that made me crazy:

1. Just about the only illustration in the book, showing the layout of the transit system in a single hex, showed ... an octagon.

2. Not to give anything away, but when a sphere is formed by n hexagons (and each hexagon obviously has six sides), there are a total of 3n sides, not 6n.

I'm also dubious about some of the things said about the use of rotation to simulate gravity. At the point where gravity is earth-normal, the sun wouldn't be directly overhead relative to the local vertical. That would only happen at the equator.

I'll be submitting this review as part of my bid to be named Curmudgeon of the Year.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super outer space twenty fourth century thriller 7 Jun 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
The Coyote Federation belongs to the Talus interstellar association. The other species has been friendly to the humans over the years; that is except for the Danui. These arachnid super intelligent engineering species keep for the most part to their own kind. Thus the Danui are not hostile to humans just inaccessible.

When the Danui asks for a trade arrangement with the Coyote, the humans are stunned. Even more shocking is the hermit like Danui offers the use of a planet in their system. The Federation leaders accept the deal. Starship Captain Andromeda Carson leads her Carlos Montero CFSS crew and members of the Corps of Exploration including her estranged son Sean to the coordinates. Instead of a hospitable orb, they find an incredible engineering feat. The Danui built a sphere using billions of interlocking hexagons to enclose their system. The Coyote mission goes astray so Carson and crew struggle to survive while wondering what the enigmatic Danui really want from the humans.

The latest twenty fourth century Coyote science fiction (see Coyote Horizon and Coyote Destiny) is a super outer space thriller. The action-packed story line grips series fans from the moment that the Carolos Montero crew and passengers see the incredible Hex and never slows down until the final denouement. However, the key to this terrific entry is the attitudes of the visiting Coyote humans whose suspicions are enflamed by the unknown and embellished by rumors filling the information gaps about the Danui. They also wonder what the purpose is for the construction of one of the great wonders of the universe and they need to know what the real reason is for their invitation. This is a winner as humanity hates a vacuum so they will fill the void with "death squads".

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 13 Oct 2012
By Gasgrrl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read several Allen Steele book. These books have had good character development and plot. Sadly this book is lacking in both departments. I'm not sure if he put this book out simply to extend a popular series or lost interest once the writing started. I expected better. Hopefully his next effort will be back to his previous fine form.
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