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The Clockwork Rocket: Orthogonal Book One [Paperback]

Greg Egan
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 Aug 2012 ORTHOGONAL

In Yalda's universe, light has mass, no universal speed, and its creation generates energy; on Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting light into the dark night sky. And time is different: an astronaut might measure decades passing while visiting another star, only to return and find that just weeks have elapsed for her friends.

On the farm where she lives, Yalda sees strange meteors that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed - and it soon becomes apparent that more of this ultra-fast material is appearing all the time, putting her world in terrible danger. An entire galaxy is about to collide with their own.

There is one hope: a fleet sent straight towards the approaching galaxy, as fast as possible. Though it will feel like weeks back home, on board, millennia will pass before the collision, time enough to raise new generations, and time enough to find a way to stop the ultra-fast material.

Either way, they have a chance to save everyone back on the home world.


Frequently Bought Together

The Clockwork Rocket: Orthogonal Book One + The Eternal Flame: Orthogonal Book Two + The Arrows of Time: Orthogonal Book Three
Price For All Three: 24.23

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; paperback / softback edition (9 Aug 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0575095148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575095144
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 13.1 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Egan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has won the John W. Campbell award for Best Novel and has been short listed for the Hugo three times.

Product Description

Book Description

As the threat of imminent annihilation hangs over the world, so Yalda sets off on a historic rescue mission - one that will take millennia...

From the Back Cover

In Yalda's universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy. Plants make food by emitting their own light into the dark night sky.

Yalda is a farm girl, but her father is proud of her insatiable curiosity and defies tradition by sending her to school, where she learns that there are other things than motherhood . . .

And it is that curiosity that gives Yalda the strength to battle the strictures of her culture and the perils of biology to join the scientists who are slowly unravelling the mysteries of light. But when a series of strange meteors, the Hurtlers, begin entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed, it becomes apparent that her world is in imminent danger - and that dealing with the Hurtlers will require knowledge and technology far beyond anything her civilisation has yet achieved.

There is one audacious solution: if a spacecraft can travel fast enough, it will return after just a few years have passed at home - but on board, generations will have come and gone, giving the travellers time to discover the science their planet urgently needs to avert disaster.

THE CLOCKWORK ROCKET, the first book of the ORTHOGONAL trilogy, follows the travellers as they try to survive the perils of their mission and carve out meaningful lives for themselves, while the threat of annihilation hangs over the world they left behind.

'Have faith in Egan's ability to create stunning, complex futures, with grand themes given a human dimension' Booklist

'[Egan's] intellectually intense work creates the sense of a writer positioned at the genre's cutting edge, and in many ways setting the standard for others' Good Reading

www.gregegan.net


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to form Egan. Excellent. 6 Oct 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This review is biased. I like Greg Egans work. I have been reading his stuff ever since I came across a copy of 'Dust' in a Science Fiction anthology maybe 15 years ago.
Since then I have read everything he has produced. Greg Egan's writing is unique, not just because it is good hard SF written with engaging story and an insight into something human that is integrated, rather than tacked on, but, simply because the effect that reading it has on me is unique in my experience, and I read a lot. I could write reams about that alone, and probably learn a lot about myself in the process, but while that my be good for me, for the reader of this review, I suggest that if you haven't read any of his stuff then just get hold of some from somewhere and read it.

I mention all that to put into context my statement that, whenever I read something new by Egan there is a tingle of fear that, this time, he will have written something that does not provide me with my fix of whatever it is.
This book does not disappoint. It is a voyage of discovery and empathy that will engage those mental parts that Egan so successfully engages, in way that somehow manages to be refreshing and new, at the same time as being a tantalizing introduction to an even bigger story in the coming books.

TL;DR
Egans books enrich and entertain.

5 Stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Egan lectures on physics 3 Oct 2011
By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is something slightly... well, different.

I hadn't read any of Egan's stuff before so it might be typical for him, but alongside a taut and well imagined story set in a very alien world - complete with a sympathetic range of characters and a well imagined society - he develops an entire alternative physics. This isn't just done in a hand waving way, it is properly worked out and the story of Yalda, the scientist who is the main protagonist, is also the story of the discovery of "rotational physics" in her universe, of the implications of that, good and bad, for her planet, and finally - in the construction of the rocket of the title - the story of the action she takes to safeguard that world.

On one level, it's perhaps fiction for those who might otherwise curl up with The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The science of a "Riemannian" universe is explained lucidly (and if you want more detail, Egan has a website that goes into the maths in even more detail). It's a bit like watching the fertile early years for physics of the 20th century replayed under different rules, with Yalda a mix of Rosalind Franklin and Albert Einstein - and not only in the sense of a great scientist but also someone who challenges her society's expectations and roles. It would be giving too much away to explain what those are: Egan does a good job of hinting at them until we finally realise the truth and see what the stakes are for Yalda.

And it's fun that while we learn a lot about Yalda's species and what they can do and not do (and they are VERY alien) we never actually learn what they look like. Why would they describe themselves, after all, they're just people, aren't they?

A fine start to a trilogy. The sequel, The Eternal Flame, is due out next year.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Clockwork Rocket" is the first book in a science fiction trilogy called "Orthogonal". It was written by Greg Egan and published in 2011.

Imagine this: fields of light, literal fields of plants that give off light where people live and work; people that have an extensive ability to shape shift, being able to be a shapeless blob, have human form, four legs or arms, etc. That's the initial setting of this story and it focuses in a girl called Yalda.

Where Yalda lives, a rather rural region, she's ostracized because she's a solo, meaning she doesn't have a male twin (for a woman to give birth she dies and normally divides in four babies, two sets of twins where one is female and the other male). However, she has an advantage; she's bigger and is able to endure much more physical stress than most people. Anyway, this book tells her story. From going to school, to getting in interested in astronomy, going to university and researching into something that will have a tremendous effect on the world. They're Hurtlers (think of it as analogues to asteroids that take the meaning of their name literally), they're more dangerous than anything else that ever appeared and cause an Einstein-like revolution, where Yalda as a scientist gives the first steps. But there's more, Yalda and her colleagues come up with a solution for the danger of the Hurtlers and they'll do everything they can to concretize it and protect their planet. I'll just give a hint, it involves orthogonality in space-time.

I should give a warning, "Orthogonal" is very hard science fiction, since it introduces some concepts that can be quite anti-intuitive and hard to grasp. That's because it happens in a completely different universe, based in Riemann geometry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Clockwork Rocket 14 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read Schild's Ladder and Permutation City I was really disappointed by The Clockwork Rocket. Greg Egan is one of my favourite authors. His ability to take a different concept/concepts to the extreme is usually impressive but I think this book went a step too far. Set in a universe with different laws of physics the story lacked anything I could relate to. Much of the story seemed cumbersome and unnecessary. Having said all that I'm still tempted to have a peek at the second book in the series just to see where it all goes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm up those grey cells, you are going to need them.
As you begin the book you are introduced to a new race of aliens, they are shape shifters and breed by dividing, nothing too out of the ordinary. Read more
Published 8 months ago by C Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction as it should be written...
This is a really hard book to review. First, I must be honest and reveal that parts of it passed me by. Read more
Published 12 months ago by A. J. Poulter
4.0 out of 5 stars True Universe Creation
Well, it is Greg Egan right? Surely just about the best modern proponent of taking current scientific cutting edge thought and extrapolating it to the limit. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars True Universe Creation
Well, it is Greg Egan right? Surely just about the best modern proponent of taking current scientific cutting edge thought and extrapolating it to the limit. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Hard SF fans
You may have waited one hell of a long time for a triology from Egan; but it was worth the wait. Egan almost out does himself in creating a rich fascinating physics universe,... Read more
Published 19 months ago by DWS
4.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction gold.
Greg for me is one of those authors that is a little hit or miss for me. What I got from this novel was something a little different and a title that takes you away from human... Read more
Published on 25 Sep 2011 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
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