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Natural History Paperback – Unabridged, 2 Apr 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (2 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330489437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330489430
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 582,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Justina Robson was one of the two first winners of the amazon.co.uk Writer's Bursary in 2000. She has written a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy novels and has been multiply shortlisted for various international awards including the Arthur C Clarke Award. She has taught creative writing at the Arvon Foundation and will be teaching Clarion West, the SF and Fantasy Masterclass programme in 2013.


Product Description

Review

"Thought-provoking.... Fans of the sweeping, politically and psychologically aware space opera of Iain M. Banks and Ken MacLeod will be intrigued by Robson's setting and the new slant she takes on universal questions."--"Publishers Weekly"

Book Description

Widescreen science-fiction adventure from the author of SILVER SCREEN.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Big Ben TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm a dyed-in-the-wool SF fan from the early '50s, and found this an excellent book that held me in thrall from start to finish. I loved it. Your mileage may vary, of course. ;)

The potential downside is that it may be a bit of giant leap for a newcomer to SF - and yet the obscurer elements that are likely to bring this about are very much part of the appeal for me.

The introductory pages build the picture of our first protagonist and their disastrous deep space situation in a layered style that has a deep flavour of otherness - something I treasure in SF. The musical theme is a stroke of genius. How they get home is the first of many problems to solve...

The discovery and exploration of the mysterious 'Stuff' and all its ramifications takes up much of this novel. But there is far more than the one central pivotal element in the scenario, with a fully-realised future space-going Solar System civilisation with all the bells and whistles and factionally divergent human developments to boot. Our protagonist is of course, in one of the factions...

The characters themselves are (mostly) not entirely human as we define human today, post-human in some cases. But some of the more entertaining ones are not human at all. Worth watching for those. There is good variety in the range of characters, with moderate to good depth of development.

The situational politics largely revolve around the desire for control of this 'Stuff' - this is well detailed and skilfully drawn, leading to an intriguing resolution that wraps it all up pretty tightly.

It fascinated me, Do hope that you like it.

Recommended to those comfortable with SF concepts and big themes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Few authors are confident enough to spend the first fifty pages of their novel describing nothing but the inner thoughts a 24th century evolved post-human as it whizzes through intergalactic space. Its like she is trying to put readers off with a challenging and difficult hump before you get to a recognisable protagonist that the readers can identify and sympathise with. Robson performs this feat with some style and a reader is left trying to pick up the pieces detailing a future society from the fragments scattered among this initial section with a protagonist that is not altogether likeable. In fact most of the characters are slightly unlikeable in their own way.

The bulk of the book is an examination of the power relationships between different groups of this future world which is brisk and detailed enough to keep a reader entertained, without being bogged down.

The two main downsides of the novel are how flawed each of the main characters are and also the ending which ends with a whimper rather than a bang.

A worthwhile novel that throws a lot at the reader and expect the reader to do their own catching.
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By Mr. David Mason on 7 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best sci fi books I have ever read and it is a shame it is not available in kindle. I am am drawn to the whole topic of machines that are conscious and what kind of consciousness that might be. This book gives a real flavour of how things may be very different when we have machines that can think for themselves. This book delights the mind
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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful By J. H. Duarte on 8 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. It was a bit confusing in the start because it's a very different world you are presented, but after three chapters it starts to be hard to stop reading. Hell, I think I want to become Forged...
Maybe the plot is nor that intricate as other big SF books, but it has one BIG prize: in my opinion this book is a vision of the future of SF, in the technological sense. The autor remainds me Neal Asher in this point, the developments are somehow alike.
The edition (hardback) is also marvelous, the letters are good and the paper feels great. I think it's a book to keep for years and years to come.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sulkyblue on 8 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm sorry to say that I really didn't like this book. I don't think there's anything actually wrong with the book, in fact I suspect it's probably quite good, but I just couldn't get into it. I couldn't keep track of the plot or the characters and just didn't find it particularly engaging. I was expecting something different given the title and cover and never really caught up with what the book was actually about. By 2/3 through I'd pretty much given up and was just reading in a desperate attempt to get to the end. I've heard some glowing reviews of the book, but it just wasn't to my taste.
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