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Vast (The Nanotech Succession Book 3)

Vast (The Nanotech Succession Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Linda Nagata
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Linda Nagata's debut novel The Bohr Maker (1995) was an impressive SF exploration of nanotechnology. In Deception Well (1997) and its sequel Vast (1998) she pushes this to extremes, with molecule-sized machinery and gene-modified human cells no longer distinct. There are cult-carrying viruses, infectious peace memes, adapted humans whose scaly armour is a permanent spacesuit, and possibilities of swapping biological material with alien species.

Particularly alien are the Chenzeme, who may have been extinct for 30 million years but whose organic spacecraft still prowl the galaxy, burning inhabited planets to bedrock with invincible gamma-ray lasers. (Reasons for this antisocial behaviour emerge in Vast.) Now four very odd humans hunting alien secrets are fleeing a Chenzeme vessel that year by year is overhauling their slower ship Null Boundary. Desperately they pretend to be Chenzeme, cultivating a hull covering of the glowing, semi-intelligent "philosopher cells" that form part of the alien ship-symbiosis. Perhaps by understanding these cells they can think in Chenzeme, learn to communicate, even make peace. A subtly dangerous tactic:

"We came this way to find the Chenzeme, not to become them."

Strange encounters follow, with nifty manoeuvres like Null Boundary dealing with surface infestation by plunging through the fiery halo of a star. There are discoveries and revelations; human and non-human life both go on; Nagata leaves room for a sequel. Quite impressive, although newcomers to SF may be intimidated by the complexity, far-out concepts, and back-references to Deception Well. --David Langford

Book Description

In the far future mankind's last ship is pursued for decades by an alien craft. A visionary hard SF novel from a hotly tipped author in the US.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 690 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Mythic Island Press LLC (24 Nov 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004DZNUC8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,252 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Linda Nagata grew up in a rented beach house on the north shore of Oahu. She graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in zoology and worked for a time at Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui. She has been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and lately a publisher and book designer. She is the author of eight novels including The Bohr Maker, winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, and the novella "Goddesses," the first online publication to receive a Nebula award. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui. Find Linda on the web at

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The review already posted complains that the characters are 'flat', but on the contrary I found them a diverse and fascinating collection of mostly post-human people of the extremely far future, and given their desperate situation I was engaged with their personal struggles and 'inner life', finding it all quite convincingly nonsoap opera... Also, far from 'drifting along', it was far more reminiscent of a submarine being hunted by an implacable enemy, with all the tense moments of hiding in silence and attempting to outwit the superior enemy.
The alien nano infestation on the hull, which was an emergent 'computer' like none other I've ever read about or heard suggested, was a brilliant furtherance of sf's tropes, and the 'human bomb' that had been created by the aliens from a captured exploratory crew and then sent into human society to spread a cult of charisma, but had been 'defused' by the crew who lived in uneasy alliance with their perverted friend was also a unique furtherance of sf, and a very affecting character in his buried lust to 'recruit' people to his cult, even though he knew he shouldn't, and also couldn't in the company of his crew because they had learned how to 'defuse' him... an extraordinary invention, and a wonderful character! There are so many other wonderful sf inventions in this novel, including the way the alien-altered 'bomb' discussed above was 'hacking' the alien nano infestation through submerging his head into it... sense of bizarre wonder in trumps! I loved this book! Read it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent space opera 11 May 2004
By Dave
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book because I read someone elses rave about it, so here's mine...
This is an excellent and very hard sf book. The science is very futuristic but not fantasy (I hate fantasy and someone else implied in a review that it has leanings towards this). The ideas in the book are thought provoking and some are new to me. This book puts me in mind of others like Vernor Vinge - Deepness in the Sky, Neal Stepehenson - The Diamond Age. The ending may annoy some as it is not completely resolved, but then what is?
Characters are ok, some are skimmed, some are filled in, overall I think I'll remember a couple of them but not in detail. Didn't affect my enjoyment of the book though.
I would strongly recommend this to anyone who likes hard SF. Another one that makes me want to talk about it with someone else who's read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definately worth a read. 12 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book by Linda Nagata that I have read, and I think I will keep an eye out for her other works.
Even though Vast appears to be part of a series, I had no problems slipping into the book's flow. Indeed, I found it refreshing to enter the action straight away, though naturally it was a little harder to identify with the characters and some of the events.
The book is best classified as hard sci-fi - mostly of a nano/bio nature - although it doesn't contain the depths of scientific detail that some authors (eg Greg Egan) would include, and it only gives a brief look at how people might respond to the 'philosophy' of existing in multiple states (electronically or physically) at the same time, or modifying/editing ones behaviour and feelings.
Linda Nagata's writing style is 'free and easy' - one doesn't have to concentrate hard to work out what is happening, which is good because some of the action in this book would be difficult to follow otherwise. Her characterisations are a little flat - athough the characters do have distinct personalities, they don't seem to develop that much over the course of the book. This could be in part because the book is part of a series, or in part because the characters freeze or ghost themselves so often that they don't exist in an alive state long enough to develop. However, given the experiences and physical engineering they undergo, I would have expected more from them.
The focus of the book meanders a bit - rather than being on a mission to seek the Chenzeme (who are attacking human colonies and ships), one gets the impression that the whole journey is a river adventure - just floating along and seeing what happens next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book caught my attention on the first page 11 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this book very much. This is the kind of book that you want to talk about when you finish it. I am still thinking about the characters and the ideas that Nagata presented. It is an exciting story and I recommend it to anyone who likes high tech science fiction. It is like William Gibson's work without the film noir feel. I just ordered another Nagata book, and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I started reading this book, and was caught by its theme. It is a lot better than the first part. When I finished it, at first I tought I disliked it, but then I realized the reason I found it a little weird was that Nagata takes the reader along with the characters, and there is neither good or bad, nor a definitive truth no one can deny. It is an interesting book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A treat and suprise 18 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is about time we started seeing women writers enter into the genre with 'balls to the wall'. I am sorry that I didn't read Deception Well first. My only complaint is in the character development but was mollified by the technical aspects of NULL BOUNDRY. I am hoping that DW brings the characters into focus.
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