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In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center) Mass Market Paperback – Feb 2004


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 435 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect (Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044661159X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446611596
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 948,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Gregory Benford (1941 - ) A leading writer of 'Hard SF', Gregory Albert Benford was born in Alabama in 1941. He received a BSc in physics from the University of Oklahoma, followed by an MSc and PhD from the University of California, San Diego. His breakthrough novel, Timescape, won both the Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards, and he has been nominated for the Hugo Award four times and the Nebula twelve times in all categories. Benford has undertaken collaborations with David Brin and Arthur C. Clarke among others and, as one of the 'Killer Bs' (with Brin and Greg Bear) wrote one of three authorised sequels to Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. He has also written for television and served as a scientific consultant on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gregory Benford lives in California, where he is currently Professor of Plasma Physics and Astrophysics at the University of California, Irvine, a position he has held since 1979. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
THis inaugurates an extremely ambitious series of scifi novels, which reached six in all. There are many mysterious references that are explained in later volumes, which serve to whet the appetite. Benford maintains a sense of mystery and wonder quite masterfully. In later volumes, it gets deeper and much better.

The plot is that a space pilot, Nigel Walmsley, an iconoclastic Brit. He discovers a remnant of an extremely ancient space vessel, which he disobeys orders to explore. What ensues is a wonderfully enigmatic encounter with an alien intelligence, whose intentions are not clear, though at times it seems menacing. The novel leaves many questions unanswered, in such incidents as a beam of energy that affects the way the Nigel can think, somehow changing the organization of his brain; there is also a signal of a change in the human genome.

The characters are what makes this writing exceptional, even if their sexual predilections (2 f's and one m) are a bit much after a while. Benford is a very good writer, one of the best at hard sci fi, but you do feel at times that he is straining to think up what happens next.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
His first novel is thankfully free of the repetition and indulgences that crept into later novels. It's a reasonably well paced investigative piece of sci fi, though the real storyline does take a while to come out. When wrtitten it wasn't part of any series or cycle of books, that all came latewr with a bunch of sequels. Has a few clumsy turns of phrase and the dialogue is very, very much of the era -- early 70s -- but already you can see him paving the way for later books like Timescape, and his collaborations with Gordon Eklund -- the same fare of ideas shuffled up a bit and re-written for a more mature and discerning audience. This was one of my favourite books of the 70s, the kind of book that will get any new reader interested in sci fi, great to have it out in Kindle, as I lost the original hard-back.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Or possibly a work of genius. Either way it's about a visit to Earth by an alien ship. The maverick hero is sent to explore it and destroy it. Which he does. A few years later another one arrives. There's something ancient  and mysterious on the moon. There's a new-age religion. And there's a colony of bigfeet. The first hundred pages are a bit dull, enlivened only  slightly by the hero's sexual exploits with his two lady friends. The politics and new age philosophy is all a bit boring and predictable. The storytelling has hints of Heinlein and Arthur C Clark but lacks their skill. Readable but nothing special.
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By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Astronauts discover the remnants of alien technology in Earth's solar system. Soon after this discovery a machine-crewed alien spaceship passes through the solar system and communicates with scientists working for NASA. This machine intelligence gathers a great deal of information about Earth's cultures and technological achievements.

And then it just keeps going, dropping enigmatic references to entire machine civilizations and their conflicts with biological "creatures of essence." As the story continues the protagonists learn more about these alien civilizations and their long-ago visits to Earth. There are some implications for what is likely to happen when they visit again. The outlook is troubling.

I wanted to like this book more than I did because I enjoy the basic ideas in the Galactic Center series, of which this is the first book. My problem was that the book took too long to reveal each interesting new development. I understand the need for character development, but really could have lived without knowing so much about some of the minor characters. However, I do recommend reading the book as necessary background for Across the Sea of Suns.
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