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Ouroboros Wave [Paperback]

Jyouji Hayashi
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

9 Dec 2010
Ninety years from now, a satellite detects a nearby black hole scientists dub Kali for the Hindu goddess of destruction. Humanity embarks on a generations-long project to tap the energy of the black hole, and found colonies on planets across the solar system. Earth and Mars and the moons Europa (Jupiter) and Titan (Uranus) develop radically different societies, with only Kali, that swirling vortex of destruction and creation, and the hated but crucial Artificial Accretion Disk Development association (AADD) in common.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media (9 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421536455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421536453
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,159,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Having worked as a clinical laboratory technician, Jyouji Hiyashi debuted as a writer in 1995 with his co-written Dai Nihon Teikoku Oushu Dengeki Sakusen. His popularity grew with the Shonetsu no Hatou series and the Heitai Gensui Oushu Senki series-both military fiction backed by real historical perspectives. Beginning in 2000, he consecutively released Kioku Osen, Shinryakusha no Heiwa and Ankoku Taiyo no Mezame, stories that combine scientific speculation and sociological investigations. He continues to write and act as a flag-bearer for a new generation of hard SF.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong science, weak fiction 19 Jan 2011
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The biographical information describes Jyouji Hayashi's forte as "scientific speculation and sociological investigations", and I'd say they got that about right. When it comes to asking questions such as what it means to be human, how you define intelligence (and artificial and extra-terrestrial intelligence) and how communication between different intelligences can give rise to difficulties and conflict, Hayashi comes up with some interesting hard science-fiction concepts. When it comes to normal human interaction and writing convincing dialogue however, the writer is on less solid ground.

The Ouroboros Wave consequently is not a novel in the conventional sense, since there's little indication that the author is capable of creating characters or settings within a normal narrative or dramatic arc. Rather, the book is a collection of shorter stories, all linked together by a central idea. Opening in the year 2123, the discovery of a black hole named Kali heading towards the sun has led to Terrans and other off-world colonists to develop a structure around it, known as Ouroboros, as part of a larger planned station to drag the black hole into orbit around Uranus. The intention is to use Kali as a powerful energy source to extend a network across the solar system. Using this premise, the author considers the various problems that the scientists and societies that build up around it are likely to encounter, and finds solutions.

And unfortunately, unless you like your science-fiction really hard, that really sums up the whole principle by which The Ouroboros Wave operates - the author thinks of problems, and just as quickly solves them.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid, enjoyable hard-sf novel 30 Dec 2010
By Marc Mckenzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ever since I read the blurb for it, I've been interested in this book. When I finally read it, I wasn't disappointed. It's a great "hard" science fiction novel. Actually it is a series of stories that relate to the discovery of a black hole in our solar system and the decades-long project undertaken to harness its power.

This is a novel that will appeal to fans of Stephen Baxter, Greg Bear, Charles Sheffield, and other major Western hard science fiction writers. Jim Hubbert's translation is quite good, and of course, credit must go to Jyouji Hayashi as the author. If anything, THE OUROBOROS WAVE is proof that great science fiction is not limited to the West, and that there is a treasure trove of amazing SF writing coming from the land of the Rising Sun.

I enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but probably not for everyone 27 Mar 2013
By Jason - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I absolutely loved The Ouroboros Wave, but it's going to be really divisive because it doesn't use traditional storytelling conventions. The book explores a wide variety of scientific and philosphical ideas, and it uses fictional narrative to do so, but the part that readers will either love or hate is the fact that the stories are not at all about the narrative--they're about whatever idea the story is exploring.

For example, the first chapter is about an artificial intelligence that's killing people on a space station. You might be thinking of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or a bunch of similar "computer goes crazy" stories. The difference here is that most of the story is about how the AI functions and how it perceives everything as datapoints rather than objects in three dimensional space, and it juxtaposes that with the orbital movements and physics of the space station. In other words, the fact that people are dying and fighting for their lives against a murderous computer is handled as just another fact to be considered in the exploration of the scientific principles involved. I thought it was a great way to make a boring discussion on physics, computer processing, and user interfaces have real appeal, but I could easily see how someone else would read the same story and wonder what the point of it all was, because what's going on with the characters of the story is ultimately secondary.

The characters being secondary is emphasized by the fact that each chapter in the book is about a completely different set of characters, with decades of time separating them. Other chapters are about intergalactic police as they try to solve the puzzle of what happened aboard an asteroid (it's basically an exercise in deductive reasoning with elements of archeology thrown in... there's virtually no traditional "story" with this one), an assassination attempt (it's really more of an extended look at the social contract and how different cultures can dramatically change how that contract works, with a giant physics lession thrown in near the end), and one about the exploration of Europa, Jupiter's moon (it's really about mankind's responsibility to preserve nature as it explores new environments, with some thermodynamics for extra flavor).

I was totally geeking out through each chapter, but you need to understand going into it that it's not Altered Carbon or something, with interesting characters who do dynamic things and struggle through a complex character arc. The complex arc is the discussion of the scientific and philosophical principles involved. This is basically a scholarly textbook if textbooks were cool. If that sounds good to you, get this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read...but- 8 Mar 2013
By EdM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is only three stars as the quality differs from chapter to chapter. The idea of a small black hole heading towards our sun and our efforts to stop it and harness its energy. Sounds interesting- only if that was the story. That premise is done up on the back of the book,the first page, and a few sentences in chapter 1. The first chapter takes place 2123 and we are already building a ring type sphere to harness the black hole energy. The next chapter skips to 2144. No connection between chapters or its characters. Out of six chapters only four worth reading. The book is a collection of short stories revolving around a central premise. Not bad but not consistent in quality either which is surprising since it is all one author. The book was worth the price of four dollars though, and was read in one afternoon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic SF modeled on Asimov, Heinlein 21 Jun 2011
By Won't be back - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ouroboros Wave is a fine SF novel centered on the discovery of a small black hole near to our solar system some 90 years from now, and the efforts of mankind and the mysterious AADD group to harness its power over the next several decades despite a background of Terran assassination and treachery.

Chock full of fairly reasonable orbital engineering (with diagrams!), space habitats and stellar physics, Jyouji Hayashi borrows the connected story structure of Asimov's "I, Robot" to plot the progress of the Artificial Accretion Disk Department toward capturing the potential energy of the black hole Kali for our entire solar system, creating a new extra-Terran society in the process and preparing for eventual manned interstellar travel. The novel ends with the first such maiden (and highly illegal) voyage. Hayashi is planning a larger series of which this is the beginning novel, teasing the reader with the possible discovery of interstellar intelligences using gravity waves for directed communication and a discovery regarding the black hole Kali itself that may harbor more than just a quantum singularity.

Hayashi looks to the future of mankind in interstellar space by examining the beginning of that journey in a manner reminiscent of Heinlein's best "hard SF" novels. The translation by Jim Hubbert smoothly takes us into Hayashi's stories of the future early history of interstellar humanity.

Very good read, if not for the physics-squeamish; I am hoping for more from this author.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong science, weak fiction 19 Jan 2011
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The biographical information describes Jyouji Hayashi's forte as "scientific speculation and sociological investigations", and I'd say they got that about right. When it comes to asking questions such as what it means to be human, how you define intelligence (and artificial and extra-terrestrial intelligence) and how communication between different intelligences can give rise to difficulties and conflict, Hayashi comes up with some interesting hard science-fiction concepts. When it comes to normal human interaction and writing convincing dialogue however, the writer is on less solid ground.

The Ouroboros Wave consequently is not a novel in the conventional sense, since there's little indication that the author is capable of creating characters or settings within a normal narrative or dramatic arc. Rather, the book is a collection of shorter stories, all linked together by a central idea. Opening in the year 2123, the discovery of a black hole named Kali heading towards the sun has led to Terrans and other off-world colonists to develop a structure around it, known as Ouroboros, as part of a larger planned station to drag the black hole into orbit around Uranus. The intention is to use Kali as a powerful energy source to extend a network across the solar system. Using this premise, the author considers the various problems that the scientists and societies that build up around it are likely to encounter, and finds solutions.

And unfortunately, unless you like your science-fiction really hard, that really sums up the whole principle by which The Ouroboros Wave operates - the author thinks of problems, and just as quickly solves them. In the first story, for example, the gap between human and artificial intelligence and how they communicate is considered when the AI controlling the structure starts behaving strangely. Inevitably, one thinks of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the comparison does Hayashi's superficial treatment no favours. In the second story, a group of scientists attempt to explain why an asteroid they hope to use for energy transmission has started to rotate. They do experiments and scans and come up with an explanation. Problem is swiftly followed by solution, with little dramatic tension created.

The third story promises a little more action when, recognising that there are likely to be tensions between Earth and off-world colonies, Mars security forces attempt to capture a dangerous assassin who has come to kill the representative of Mars. In reality however, the story is little more than another series of scientific puzzles posed by the Mars environment that both the Guardians and the assassin have to solve ...which they inevitably do, and a little too easily. And so on. The premise is an interesting one, one that is progressively explored from several viewpoints through the various stories in the novel/collection, at least from the hard SF principle of "scientific speculation and sociological investigations" - on a more basic dramatic narrative level, and from the perspective of creating interesting or realistic human characters, The Ouroboros Wave is unfortunately rather lacking.
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