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Phases of Gravity Paperback – 13 Jun 1991

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Paperback, 13 Jun 1991
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Feature; New edition edition (13 Jun. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074723602X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747236023
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,269,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and 14 years in Colorado.

His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.

Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."

Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker -- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike -- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.

Dan is one of the few novelists whose work spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and mainstream literary fiction . His books are published in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.

Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.

In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions in education and writing.

Product Description

About the Author

Dan Simmons, a former teacher and director of programmes for gifted children, now writes full time.He lives with his wife and daughter in Colorado. He has always been interested in writing, composing his first short stories at the age of nine. Since then he has been co-winner of the first TWILIGHT ZONE MAGAZINE short story contest, winner of the Rod Serling Memorial Award and the winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel with SONG OF KALI. Dan Simmons' internationally acclaimed HYPERION won the 1990 Hugo Award and Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 14 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
In many ways, this is a very depressing book, as it shows just how badly the dream of space exploration has been lost, corrupted, mismanaged, and shoved under the carpet, out of sight of all too many people. At the same time, by investigating just what is important in life, it is uplifting and insightful.
The story tracks former astronaut Richard Baedecker, who is plagued by feelings of not doing anything meaningful in his post-NASA job, a divorce and an estranged son. The son has taken up with an Indian guru, seeking something he is not getting from his famous father, while Richard cannot seem to find a way to re-connect with his son, but does manage to connect with his son's semi-girlfriend. That connection leads him on a search for what is meaningful for him, from recollections of the items he left on the moon as a permanent mark on that world, to finding the magic of high places. His final actions of this book show that he has found, at least for him, some answers to the meaning of life, answers that will resonate with most readers.
This story is told very stylistically, with clean descriptions, very quiet actions, and with quick flashes backward and forward in time - potentially a confusing method of telling a story, but Simmons brings this off nicely. Richard's character is nicely portrayed, building on his recollections of his past exploits and his current interactions with those around him to show a fully realized man, one who has many doubts, fears, and sometimes moments of happiness. The characters around him, while not shown in as great a depth, are more than adequately developed, especially Dave, his former NASA crewmate. Perhaps the best item about this book is that all the characters and themes are developed by showing, not telling or pontificating.
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By herdy1 on 4 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I like this author and he is well known for being successful in crossing genres, be it horror, sf, or crime, but this is something completely different. I suppose it is a character study about one man called Richard Baedecker, who dreamed of going to the moon with NASA, finally acheived this, and was underwhelmed by the results. When we join him he has already retired as an astronaut, and has a boring desk job which he is desperate to get away from. He is travelling to India on business, but as it so happens his estranged son is currently there training with some sort of religious guru, having dropped out of college, and so he is hoping to rebuild relations with his son at the same time. What he in fact does is form more of a relationship with his son's friend, a young girl called Maggie. They form a bond, and she undertands Baedecker's plight, and his sense of loss at drifting from his son & ex-wife & having no real direction in life, and she introduces him to her theory of "places of power". These are places which give people a really true sense of "being", and realising that there is somthing bigger going on in the world, and that they are part of something unimaginably greater in scope than we can possibly contemplate. Baedecker then goes on his own personal journey to find purpose and closure to certain things, and find his own place of power. Its a very moving story, and I suppose everyone feels "lost in it all" at times, and this book basically said to me that as long as you keep the dream alive, then there is always reason to keep looking. Brilliantly written, its just a shame there is not a better edition out there, as this is a cheaply produced print-on-demand publication that is more like a school text book than something to fit nicely on your bookshelf. Still, never mind, its what's written that counts I guess!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was wondering when the sci-fi/mystery element was going to occur - and then realised it wasn't and this was a general fiction attempt by Simmons. You can see many of the same themes of his later works: travelling to utterly different locations; an older man with a younger girl - does happen a lot in his books; a misunderstanding of and obvious dislike for Christianity; and irritating, very empty pseudo-spiritual nonsense, which thinks it is deep and profound.

I wasn't impressed. However, it is interesting and quite on the money, the way he's portrayed an ex-astronaut having to deal with life in an America that's stopped trying to reach for the moon. When he returns to his old hometown it's quite well done - although descends into predictable cliche, as does most of the book. The way he portrays Christians and the comments about them are utterly superficial, show no insight, and don't do him any credit.

I've enjoyed some of his other books, but they all have these same failings - and this one doesn't have the great story telling of his science fiction to make it worthwhile reading.

Ultimately it has nothing to say
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grumbert on 3 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
A former astronaut who walked on the moon, middleaged travels to India to visit his estranged son who lives in a guru's commune. This kicks off a spiritual journey during which he discovers more about himself than he ever hoped to learn.
I might be slightly biased to Dan Simmons' work but this is surely one of his finest books. Whilst it defies classification , no horror or scifi here, it is an intriguing tale of self discovery and more importantly the discovery that man is not Atlas , the titan who carries the whole world on his shoulders.
This book had a profound impact on my life and if I could take 5 books to a deserted island this would be one of them. Superb!
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