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Oracle Hardcover – 11 Sep 1997

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; hardcover edition (11 Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575064870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575064874
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,726,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ian Watson (1943 - )Ian Watson was born in England in 1943 and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, with a first class Honours degree in English Literature. He lectured in English in Tanzania (1965-1967) and Tokyo (1967-1970) before beginning to publish SF with "Roof Garden Under Saturn" for the influential New Worlds magazine in 1969. He became a full-time writer in 1976, following the success of his debut novel The Embedding. His work has been frequently shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula Awards and he has won the BSFA Award twice. From 1990 to 1991 he worked full-time with Stanley Kubrick on story development for the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, directed after Kubrick's death by Steven Spielberg; for which he is acknowledged in the credits for Screen Story. Ian Watson lives in Spain.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Smurthwaite on 2 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Whenever I pick up a book who's plot involves time travel, I get a bit wary - I read in constant fear of a paradox ruining the story for me, as I'll invariably pick it apart, proving that such-and-such couldn't happen because so-and-so did this, that or the other. It's rare for an author to pull it off without writing him or herself into a corner, but Ian Watson has accomplished it with flair. Not content with planting a first Century Roman Centurion in modern Britain, he also manages to delve deeper, adding politics to the mix and making it an integral part of the plot, even managing to show substantial comparison between events witnessed by the Roman and those happening in modern-day Ireland.

He doesn't faff around with phoney scientific explanations for the sudden appearance of a man from the past either - he gives the reason, but doesn't offer up scientific theory, which makes a refreshing change and also means that as science progresses, there will be fewer holes picked in this novel than in some others (hurrah!).

This would have been awarded 9/10 but for the ending which was rather abrupt and felt like a bit of a cop-out - it felt unfinished, like Watson had more to say but was edited in the final chapters, so a point is retracted. Still, what remains is an intense political thriller with terrorists and a Roman soldier in tow and it's a while since I've read something of this kind that was so good. It's well worth a look.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first watson book i have read, an entertaining and pleasingly convulted thriller involving time travelling centurions the IRA and a top secret government project to spy into the future. As a pure time travel novel it suffers from too much else being shoehorned into the available space, so that the wonder of such events is perhaps inadequately expressed. Still very enjoyable though, despite the dark Northern Ireland paranioa that suffuses it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tu es non solus 3 April 2000
By Cartimand - Published on
Format: Paperback
Oracle is only the second Ian Watson book I've read, but I am very glad to have found this visionary sci-fi author. Like "Flies of Memory", "Oracle" is written in a very inventive and sometimes startling style. It also rattles along at a cracking pace and is an almost perfect blend of thought-provoking time travel yarn and political thriller. Let's face it, all sci-fi devotees love the time travel theme, and this one is better than most. The attention to detail is exceptional - one of Marcus' biggest problems is coping with lower case letters and non-Roman numerals for example. I also felt an immediate empathy with our reluctant hero Tom, who drinks real ale and knows which bridges have speed cameras on the M1! My only adverse criticism would be at the occasionally heavy-handed politics, which some may find irritating. Overall though, an extremely entertaining read, which leaves the way open for a fascinating sequel (please Ian!).
Top notch thriller with a Sci-Fi theme. 30 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A tremendous roller-coaster ride from the quiet midlands of England to the cosmopolitan heart of Brussels. When you first pick up this book you wonder if the science or the story is going to take precidence. Actually the shear tension and excitement -, the booing at the villans, the hooraying at the good-guys - keeps you addicted until the tremendous finale, regardless of the hows and whys. The Kirkus review tells it all, but the energy and *reality* of the settings makes this a triumph of storytelling. Buy it and enjoy it, you won't be disappointed.
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