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Timescape (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
 
 

Timescape (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Kindle Edition]

Gregory Benford
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description

Book Description

Scientists in the 60's struggle to interpret a message from the future and prevent catastrophe by changing the course of science itself.

Product Description

The year is 1998, the world is a growing nightmare of desperation, of uncontrollable pollution and increasing social unrest. In Cambridge, two scientists experiment with tachyons - subatomic particles that travel faster than the speed of light and, therefore, according to the Theory of Relativity, may move backwards in time. Their plan is to signal a warning to the previous generation In 1962, a young Californian scientist, Gordon Bernstein, finds his experiments are being spoiled by unknown interference. As he begins to suspect something near the truth it becomes a race against time - the world is collapsing and will only be saved if Gordon can decipher the message in time.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 644 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00071W89S
  • Publisher: Gateway; New Ed edition (29 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OA8CY2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #111,930 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most intelligent sci-fi I've ever read 6 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I'm a big fan of Arthur C. Clarke, mainly because I prefer realistic sci-fi to the kinds of major imaginative flights seen in much of the genre: and this is why I enjoyed Timescape. The story is completely believable - the idea of using the tachyon particles to signal back in time is wonderfully original and grounded in credibility, and there is (for once) an intelligent discussion about the normal problems associated with time travel - the creation of a paradox. The characters are also refreshingly well-developed for a sci-fi novel, and the ecological disasters that threaten the earth of the future (actually the past now - the book was written in 1980) is also totally believable. This doesn't have the obvious excitement of travelling to meet Attila the Hun, or of a cyborg trying to assassinate a man whilst still a child - but the moment when one of the investigators discovers for certain that the message has been received in the past is totally thrilling. Only word of warning - the physics can be hard to follow at times (I got lost more then once) although the gist of what he is saying is always clear. Well worth a read - and may well appeal to those who aren't big sci-fi fans. If you like Clarke, or Contact, you'll enjoy this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Timescape's plot centres around an ecological disaster in the late 1990's. Scientists and a British government official, Peterson, are working with tachyons (particles which move faster than the speed of light) in an attempt to send a morse code message to another scientist, Gordon Bernstein, who is working on a similar project in 1963.
The structure of the book is pleasing: chapters flit between past and present, emphasising Benford's move away from a Newtonian concept of time as a "flux" .
These ideas are developed further within the plot and to Benford's credit his use of physics is very clearly explained. I am not a scientist, and I found his ideas clear cut and thought provoking.
Timescape's faults lie in its length: it should have been edited by 50 pages to make it tighter. Although Benford spends ample time developing his characters they are from government or academic backgrounds. To his credit Benford places the character of Renfrew in the 1998 chapters and Bernstein in the 1963 sections. Amidst the world of the self-centered Peterson and the academic jealousy of Lakin, Renfrew and Bernstein emerge as credible heroes: the very subtlety of their characters (the understated theme in the book of both being outsiders,both having had to earn their places at their universities rather than gain them through favouritism) lends them realism.
Benford's book is good but slightly overlong: an excellent example of the diversity of style inherent in intelligent science fiction. It is also a good advertisement for the excellent Millenium Masterworks SF series. I wonder if the publishers would consider the long out of print "A for Andromeda" as a companion piece to Benford's book?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent exploration of time communication 5 May 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps if it had been half as long, the book would have been twice as good.
For anybody who complains that Science Fiction struggles to gain respect because of poor development of characters, I offer this book. The characters are uninteresting and actually take away from some of the Physics ideas and concepts of this book. I suppose we were supposed to relate to the human side of this story, but that could have been done quite as well and with about 100 pages or so less.
Perhaps the inside dealings of the characters' every day lives was done purposely. For the science in this sci-fi book was wonderful and the idea was great. So much so that the inclusion of the meanderings of the characters every day lives served as filler which in turn acted as a form of building suspense.
My recommendation...read the book, but skip over certain sections. They don't add to the book, but on the other hand they don't take away from it either. Otherwise its a good sci-fi offering.
Let the tachyons flow.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Real people aren't always interesting. 21 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was as long as it was for a reason. By adding detail to the characters lives it makes them more real. I actually liked that effect on occasion, but at times it made it dreary & boring. Like spending a weekend with your dentist. The science was ,at times, more interesting then the people. Also the character detail undercut the plot at times. If you want a plotless non-novel try China Mountain Zhang if you want stories about a message from the future try Ascent of Wonder the evolution of hard sf. Ascent of Wonder contains "A Very Slow Time Machine" by Ian Watson & "Beep" by James Blish which are good examples of future message stories. This book does make scientist seem like real people so I give it a marginal recommendation. One last thing I know literary types believe all serious fiction should be solely about characters & I think that's a moronic idea that sf authors have mostly avoided. If this book represents a trend in sf wh! ere idea & plot will be sacrificed for characterization then I hate it. Don't misunderstand me I like characterization, but even the great works of non-sf literature I've read have plots & sometimes even ideas.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really interesting book, worth reading!
Published 1 month ago by louis
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
I cannot understand some of these reviews, did they read the same novel?
This is a beautiful work, absolute top sci-fi
Great plot, great characterization, a superb read... Read more
Published 11 months ago by William
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting
A good read, but it did feel like a little too much anticipation was created throughout the book for some events that were a bit unrewarding. Read more
Published 17 months ago by E. S. Schipper Amaral
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but overlong
I prefer realistic SF to the kinds of major imaginative flights of fancy seen in much of the genre: and this is why I enjoyed Timescape. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Willber G
4.0 out of 5 stars Scientific SF
This book was written in 1980 and despite the fact that half the novel is set in the late 1990's, the novel has held up well over time. Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2012 by John M
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissappointing
This was in the recommended reading list of a book on quantum physics recently re-read. I was very disappointed. Read more
Published on 27 Feb 2012 by Paul Belino
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
A story about scientists in the future sending messages back in time to warn us about a great danger to Earth? What could go wrong?

A lot it seems. Read more
Published on 17 July 2011 by Shishya
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my kind of Sci-Fi
I read reviews before buying this book and thought the story line sounded an interesting concept.
Passing warnings back through time of a environmental disaster and hoping... Read more
Published on 20 May 2010 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Takes an age to get going, and just when something interesting...
There was a Japanese gameshow I remember watching when I was young, 'Endurance' I think it was called. Well this book felt like the text equivalent of this. Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2009 by Andy Dufresne
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad - maybe a great short story rather than a novel.
For me this book was nearer standard fiction than sci-fi. It happens to be about scientists - with a small element of "sci-fi" in the quantum physics side to allow the plotline to... Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2008 by discerningreader
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