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Picoverse Mass Market Paperback – Feb 2003

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reprint edition (Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044101030X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441010301
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.6 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,351,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
"The Nunn Physics Building, a six-story sprawl of red brick and smoked glass, dominated the northern boundary of Georgia Tech's campus, throwing a long shadow down 14th Street, painting the dozens of ramshackle student bungalows that hugged its western edge" Read the first page
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 25 Feb. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An entertaining storyline which takes the reader on a journey from quiet American college campus, to governmental secret projects before heading into alternate histories and an unusual (possibly overly bizarre) futuristic conclusion.
On the whole, the characterisation is good and the tempo of the plot is well judged, if not a little "written in the style of a straight-to-video" film, as is found in rather too many American authored fiction works these days (think Michael Chrichton's "Prey").
The author achieves a reasonable sense of mystery and intrigue, while giving plausible explanations of both scientific and historic references. The alternate Albert Einstein is especially unique!
However, the final "chapter" of the story moves into an area which feels too detached from the 75% which goes before it, leading to a somewhat anti-climactic ending. It attempts to merge the raw ingredients of "Command & Conquer" (PC game) with "2001: A Space Oddessy" (film) which leaves the reader bemused, just in time for the Hollywood ending...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rod Williams on 18 Sept. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite a cover filled with the usual plaudits and glowing praise from various quarters, Metzger's novel of universe creation and alternate worlds ends up being a bit of a mess.

Katie and Jack are working alongside Professor Horst on a device called the Sonomak - a central gizmo into which forty-eight miniature particle accelerators are aimed. At a demonstration, Horst decides to go for broke and runs all forty-eight accelerators and creates a new universe, something which Anthony (Katie's autistic son) seems to have some knowledge of.

So where does it all go wrong? The science, it has to be said, cannot be faulted. Several critics have praised the science. Gregory Benford, of all people, has provided a glowing review, from which one can only deduce that either Metzger is one of Benford's pen-names or he has Benford's children locked away with a bomb and a digital timer.

The characterisation is very bad, and the motivation of the characters gets either so complex or so basic you want to shoot them.

When a new universe (or a picoverse) is created it is a duplicate of ours, but a lot smaller. Thus, in the first picoverse (where time moves much faster than ours) there was a duplicate Anthony who somehow made himself immortal, and then went insane. He calls himself Alpha.

Alpha then kidnaps the original Anthony and traps him in yet another universe. His mother gets such a maternal rage on that she is willing to kill billions of people to rescue her son. Metzger does not question the morality of this.

In the second picoverse, one of the main character's 'duplicates' enlists the help of Stalin and creates a Soviet Communist world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 35 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
What a Blast! Like Bear in his prime. 20 May 2005
By Edward Barnett - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As you will have noted by the bimodal distribution of other reviews, you will either love or hate this book. Personally, I loved it. The pace and scope of the book are exhilarating -- the book starts fast with plenty of hard sci fi, and from there it accelerates and expands with a vengance. I'll offer a simple test: If you enjoyed books like Blood Music or Eon (i.e., books where you think you know where the story is going, only to discover that the story spins wildly beyond what you imagined), then I believe you'll like Picoverse. I am sympathetic to those who have given poor ratings to this book: You must suspend disbelief and be willing to enjoy the ride with a book like this. A lot of key plot developments are simply popped on the reader, without warning, which can be frustrating to those looking for consistent and structured plot development. And the ending relies too heavily on the deux ex machina (although much, much less so than some sci fi, such as Peter Hamilton's Night's Dawn series). Having said that, I personally enjoyed this book very much. It was a romp of a read, blending the wild action and plot lines of vintage sci fi serials (in fact, at times, it reminded me of old Flash Gordon reels, with the characters fighting their way through ever wilder and more impossible situations) with the best of modern hard sci fi. If you're looking for a fun, wild book for a long flight or a rainy weekend, pick up this novel and let yourself go with the story.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A good idea wasted by poor writing 14 Jun. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
''The Nun Physics bulding, a six story sprawl of red brick...'' this is how the book begins and, reading these words, I relaxed in my armchair expecting to read a good SF novel based on physics and sound logic. A friend of had recommended this book, and I had found fascinating the idea of smaller and smaller universes (the picoverses), each one generating other picoverses, similar but different from ours. I was disappointed very soon. Without sense of wonder, wihitout the reader being prepared for it, two of the main characters (Alexandra and Quinn) in the first few pages turn out to be immortal aliens endowed with superpowers, created by even more mysterious aliens. In the course of the novel all, I am saying all, the main characters becomes (or are revealed to be) aliens or superhumans with varying degrees of powers. Only poor Horst does not undergo this transformation, and the reader wonders why he was discriminated. Each one of these transformations takes place at critical turns of the novel, when the the Author lead the plot to a dead end and needs something miraculous to get himself out of trouble. It seems that Metzger is unable to tell a good story without a deus ex machina here and there. When no more useful, or when the plot gets really entangled, each one of these supposedly invincible and powerful aliens is disposed of by another even more invincible and powerful caracter. Everything is so gratuitous, so illogical. It wasn't easy to read the book up to the happy end.
What a good idea wasted by poor writing and poor plotting! I'am voting two stars only for the idea.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Picoverse seemed very random 15 Oct. 2005
By Michael Artman - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book had a great premise, and I picked it off the shelf ready to read something by someone new. I may not pick up Metzger again.

It started off fine, but quickly began taking twists and turns that I couldn't believe were planned. I felt like the author just started typing to see where it would take him. He got three quarters of the way through the book and figured out he needed to wrap it up, and tried feebly to tie all the pieces together.

Here's an overview: Your main cast of characters have developed a technology that can create smaller universes. Two of them were formerly married and have a child that is autistic. Two others are pretty meaningless tech types. A fifth is a government person, and the final primary character is a being from the universe that created ours. Her mission, originally, was to prevent us from doing the same thing. But then she got it in her head that she wanted to break away from her bosses and encouraged the project.

Well, she, and the team succeeds. And then the book, which was already getting thin, went straight downhill. Those twists and turns I mentioned came fast and furious. I couldn't not finish it, because I'm like that. I will say that one cool and interesting idea comes out of this disaster of a book. It involves the extinction of the dinosaurs, and I won't say what it is in the event that one of you readers wants to take a chance on this book.

The plot was thin, the ending was hasty and yet somehow still dragged on forever, and the characters/dialogue was terrible. I have to give it some star rating, but I'm okay with the one star for the dinosaur bit.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Exciting cerebral SF 3 Mar. 2002
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the not too distant future scientists such as Katie McGuire, her ex-husband Horst, and a few other technicians are working hard at the Sonomak project operational. If it works the world could have cold fusion power at their disposable. When it looks like federal funding will fall through, Horst calls in a block-ops agent to see if the military would be interested in funding the project.

The agent's boss Alexandria Mitchell learns about the project. She is over five million years old, a sentient android serving the Makers, the beings whom created our universe. Her job is to make sure that the people of Earth don't rise above a certain level of technology. Alexandria is tired of answering to her masters and intends to take control of the Sonomak project, forcing the scientists to create a PICOVERSE (an alternate universe of our world only much smaller) so she can rid herself of any controls. She gets her wish but even she is surprised at how quickly she becomes dissatisfied, a condition that forces her to deal with Katie and Horst, their son Anthony and Jack Preston, a new player in the game, in this new and unfamiliar realm.

Although PICOVERSE is filled with scientific theories that are difficult for the layman to understand, this no way detracts from the overall enjoyment of the story. The climax is a shocker but the whole novel is based on situations that take one surprising turn after another. Robert A. Metzger makes the implausible seen all to frightening real.

Harriet Klausner
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Ignore the Complaints. This is good stuff! 11 Jan. 2003
By Glorificous - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good book. It's Metzger's second book and if this is his starting off point, I can't wait to see where things go from here. There are more ideas packed in these pages than many others get into four novels. Ignore the complaints. There are good characters, good ideas, and a lot of fun. The reviewer upset about aliens in the plot -- well, there are and if you can't accept it, then that's your problem. It works in this book. In fact, it's essential. Without them, the story unravels and is pointless.
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