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The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself (Apollo Quartet)

The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself (Apollo Quartet) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Sales
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"We are now halfway into The Apollo Quartet, and it is already clear that Ian Sales is producing a very considerable work. This is, quite genuinely, rocket science" --Dave Hutchinson

"a fascinating and compelling read" --Chris Beckett

"This is Space Race sf for people who think Space Race sf is sentimental cr*p" --Paul Graham Raven

Product Description

For fifteen years, Earth has had a scientific station on an exoplanet orbiting Gliese 876. It is humanity’s only presence outside the Solar System. But a new and powerful telescope at L5 can detect no evidence of Phaeton Base, even though it should be able to. So the US has sent Brigadier Colonel Bradley Elliott, USAF, to investigate. Twenty years before, Elliott was the first, and to date only, man to land on the Martian surface. What he discovered there gave the US the stars, but it might also be responsible for the disappearance of Phaeton Base…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 181 KB
  • Print Length: 80 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Whippleshield Books (17 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B2KI5QI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #183,011 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ian Sales was only three when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, but he didn't see it on television because he grew up in the Middle East. He lived in Qatar, Oman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, before returning to the UK for schooling, spending only the holidays abroad. After graduating from university, he returned to Abu Dhabi to work - first for the Higher Colleges of Technology, and then for a national oil company. He came back to the UK in 2002 and settled in Yorkshire, where he now works as a database administrator for an ISP.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly vivid high tech sci-fi 21 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Ian Sales seems to know a lot about NASA space flight. An awful lot. He seems to be able to write heaps and heaps of gorgeous techie data about the subject. So that's what he does in this series of books.

Masses of glorious techie detail.

This is NOT BAD THING. It adds so much depth to the stories, so much realism. You can put yourself in a Lander Module, you can see the switches, the gauges, feel the cramped conditions, everything!

The characters in these stories are ordinary folks, just doing their jobs. They have feelings and emotions just like the rest of us. Feelings and emotions that I defy any reader not to identify with.

This story is split into two constantly juxtaposing positions. In one part, the first man to land on Mars. In the second a man undertakes a mission to another planet. Two intertwined stories about the life and work of an astronaut, doing their jobs, pushing the boundaries for humanity.

Just like his earlier Apollo Quartet story, Adrift on The Sea Of Rains, the story is intensely engaging and totally unputdownable!

If you enjoyed 'Adrift', then you'll love this. Also look for one of his other books, 'Wonderwaffe' - another alternate history in a completely different vein.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another marvellous story ... 21 Jan 2013
By Surtac
Format:Kindle Edition
The Eye With Which the Universe Beholds Itself is the second piece in Ian Sales' Apollo Quartet. It follows Adrift On The Sea Of Rains, an alternate history in which a continued Cold War between the USA and the USSR went hot, and resulted in a US station on the Moon, a station that was left to its own devices as the Earth was destroyed, and in which a Nazi wonder weapon offers a glimmer of hope, eventually revealing an Earth unravaged by nuclear war, with a space station clearly visible in Earth orbit, and a remote chance of rescue.

The Eye ... is a different story of the Apollo program and another alternate history. In this one a different cold war has progressed and led to the Apollo technology being used to put a man on Mars and return him home again, with an ultimately terrible secret. It's a secret that gives interstellar travel to the USA, but at an unknown and potentially unknowable cost, and at a very personal cost to the man involved. It is not the exact same universe as Adrift ..., but thematically it's the same. The Apollo technology is central to the story in both pieces of the quartet so far and it shines in the role, but human nature is also a fundamental ingredient - conflict and individual heartache counterpoints the cold equations of the physics involved. Ultimately, it's the humanity of the stories that drives their emotional impact - Sales' spare and sparse voice as a storyteller works perfectly here. The understated nature of the prose belies the intense feelings of the protagonists.

There is something about both of these stories that speaks to me at a fundamental and almost visceral level. I think it's because I'm the right age: I grew up through the `60s, I was at high school when the Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
`The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself' is the second volume in Ian Sales' `Apollo Quartet' of alternate history SF novellas. The first volume, `Adrift on the Sea of Rains', won the BSFA Award for Best Short Fiction earlier this year, recognition that I think is thoroughly deserved. It does, however, mean that this second volume has a lot to live up to.

It's worth making clear up front that the storyline in this novella is completely unrelated to that in the first volume. I initially made the incorrect assumption that the two volumes would share the same alternate history timeline; they do not. They each represent different takes on how the American space programme might have developed. If you realise this from the start, you won't suffer any of the confusion I felt on my first reading of the story.

The story follows US Air Force astronaut Bradley Elliott as he travels from Earth to the habitable exoplanet nicknamed `Earth Two'. This lies fifteen light years from home in the Gliese 876 star system. There is a human research base operating on Earth Two, but this has recently gone silent. Elliott's mission is to travel to the base on a converted asteroid that has been fitted with a faster-than-light quantum spacedrive and find out what has happened.

During the journey, Elliott thinks back two decades to the high point of his space career, when in 1979 he became the first human to walk on Mars. While he was there he found an alien artefact, the information from which directly led to the development of the FTL drive that allowed America to travel to Earth Two. He dwells on the fact that his wife almost left him during the Mars mission, unable to cope with the uncertainty and danger to her husband.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. 22 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The second in Ian Sales' Apollo Quartet, four novellas set in a shared universe. The second, like the first, shows meticulous research into Apollo spaceflight, giving us a picture of what might have been had it not died. General Bradley Emerson, the only man to have ever gone to Mars, is now being pulled out of retirement for a final mission. The action drifts between his 1979 Mars mission and the 1999 "present". The story is one of discovery, of governments and paranoia, but it is a deep, personal story as well, and it's beautiful. Read it, and the first.
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