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Warp Speed Hardcover – 1 Dec 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books (1 Dec. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743488628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743488624
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,495,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"In the tradition of Golden Age SF explodes with inventive action. Even more dazzling is the imaginative playfulness with cutting edge scientific possibilities, there's plenty of stimulating and satisfying speculation." Publishers Weekly" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Travis S. Taylor-"Doc" Taylor to his friends-has earned his soubriquet the hard way: He has a Doctorate in Optical Science and Engineering, a Master's degree in Physics, a Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, all from the University of Alabama in Huntsville; a Master's degree in Astronomy, and a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years. He's currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts. In his copious spare time, Doc Travis is also a black belt martial artist, a private pilot, a SCUBA diver, has raced mountain bikes, competed in triathlons, and has been the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of several hard rock bands. He currently lives with his wife Karen, two dogs Stevie and Wesker, and his two cats Neko and Kuro, in north Alabama. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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I was trying hard to breathe, but it wasn't coming easy. Read the first page
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Cooper on 3 Feb. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Warp speed is written in the style of the golden age of science fiction -- back when authors like Heinlein, E. Doc Smith, and Robert Ludlum were hammering at their keyboards producing stories that would later become firm favourites of millions of readers.
Warp Speed has been touted as reminiscent of Ludlum's work. Maybe so, but is Warp Speed as good? No. That's not to say it isn't a fun read because it is. BUT things happen in Warp Speed that frankly stretch believability beyond the breaking point. The hero always comes up with a MacGyver-like fix in the nick of time -- like flying an underground base into space and using it as a spaceship/weapon to save the day.
Overall, a fun book but definitely in the light reading class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cord on 12 Mar. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's light reading for the first hundred pages.
Somewhere around half way through it turns into a farce.
Why Colorado? Why not deploy more weapons and use them all at once?
How does a virus manage to "evolve" with that gizmo installed?

How stupid does the author think the Chinese leadership are?
Why does the US use suicide bombers when they have plenty of cruise missiles?

I admit, this book leaves me asking many questions. Most of them start with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Petteri on 6 May 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yes, action there is. And had the author kept his writing in light style all the way, it might have been nice. But trying to brainwash readers to his immature political views while at it - sorry - really spoiled it for me. Chinese are the evil ones, Russians can be made friends and all the bad things in America have been caused by the democrats. Right. George W Bush is a saint...

And the worst part is that those propaganda pieces are so boring...

Promise, but not delivered. Not worth the time or money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 60 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Huge disappointment 12 July 2011
By Avid_Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read science fiction for quite a few decades, and I cannot recall a book that was more of a disappointment to me than Warp Speed.

The author's solid background in science (PhD in optical science, Masters in physics, aerospace and astronomy) and collaborations with John Ringo had me looking forward to a true science fiction book (with emphasis on science). The science side is the most solid part of the book... and yet one is asked to believe that creating a warp drive is a matter of Dr. Anson (the male lead - smarter than Einstein, amazing martial artist and wannabe astronaut whose grating first person narration is at delivered using a 8th to 10th grade level vocabulary and style) having a revolutionary insight during a painkiller induced blackout during which his mumbling about miniature pistons is heard by one of his PhD students who goes into the lab with another PhD candidate and within 36 hours have the theory solved AND a prototype of a perpetual energy generator ready for testing...or that this radical new 10 nanometer wide component which explodes with catastrophic results when not perfect is outsourced for scale-up production to a clumsy "local printed circuit board company" with weak quality control and processes - because that how DARPA would have you manufacture an energy source that generates 10 to the power of 20 joules (more energy than everybody on earth generates in an year).

I am willing to suspend some disbelief when reading a SF book - but the plot and the character development are also atrocious. The characters work on this technology which can change the world and completely turn the world economy on its head in "secret", but bring in random PhD candidates and hire random admin people off the street... the main male character becomes a NASA payload specialist for no particular reason other than that his girlfriend is the shuttle commander...falls asleep and snores for hours during the preflight checks, but nobody wakes him up until he needs to confirm that he is a "go" at 9 minutes before take-off... his shuttle commander girlfriend either romances him or is ordering him around during the flight in a random fashion... etc.

The book bottoms out at page 264, when the Dr. Anson's first meeting with the president in the wake of a warp weapon attack that destroyed Colorado and killed 50 million US civilians starts with the following line from the president: "This is a fine damn mess you've caused, fellows! There are over 50 million people estimated dead and what am I to tell the public?" Believing that the president of the USA would bring the egg-head that bungled creating the technology so badly that the Chinese easily got everything and are using it to secretly destroy parts of US at will to ask him for advice on how to handle that kind of crisis... and on the same page just agree to keep this whole thing secret by blaming it on an asteroid strike and just engage in a "secret war" with the Chinese in order to destroy the evil leaders, ruin their economy then bring the joy of capitalism to them in the form of economic aid does not require suspension of disbelief - it requires one to completely turn their brain off. Oh... the page ends with the president of the USA remarking saying "Jesus, son. I'm glad you are on your side.", then handing over full power (including control over the army) over handling this political crisis to Dr. Anson, then presumably going to Amazon.com to buy a copy of this book to see if he did the right thing... On the bright side, all the nonsense that follows in the remaining 110 pages seems less painful by comparison - thank God for small blessings.

To summarize - the author starts with an interesting premise but wastes it with a poorly designed, lazily written book that seems written as a stream of consciousness dictation with essentially no review or editing, clumsy dialogue, cartoonish single dimensional characters and a plot relying on one person to stumble from one crisis to another and promptly solve them through its genius, sheer awesomeness and magnificent redneckness. Did I mention that by the end of the book he gets the girl and casually discovers life on a planet around a nearby star? And in just one paragraph, he wonders how come that the vegetation pollinates without insects... but promptly figures out that the wind must be good enough. The author seems to believe that this kind of reasoning is more proof of Dr. Anson`s genius. It also is the reason why I will pass on buying another one of Mr. Taylor's books.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Good First Novel 23 Dec. 2004
By Francis P. Golupski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I seldom buy first books by new authors in hardback, but elected to do so in this case based upon the sample chapters I'd read at Baen's webpage. It hooked me enough on the story I was willing to spend the money NOW to buy the hardback, rather than waiting a year for the paperback edition. In my opinion, it was worth the money. Imagine - an SF book with Science in it. (Remember, guys? used to be that's what the S in SF was for.) Note to others - if you're not sure about this, go read the sample chapters at baen.com first, then buy if you like it.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Making the science in science fiction come alive! 28 Sept. 2006
By William N. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Someone once said that if you want to be a good writer you should write what you know. "Warp Speed" by Travis S. Taylor shows that not only does he have a good eye for story telling, but also that he knows a lot! The book is written in the first person perspective following Dr. Neil Anson Clemons, Physicist, Engineer and a University Professor. Anson, as his friends call him, is working on developing alternative propulsion systems for the space program. In other words he's trying to find a way to make space travel more practical than strapping people to giant rockets and shooting them into the sky. Specifically he is working on developing a warp drive to allow faster than light travel.

The book takes a lot of interesting turns. In most science fiction that I've read the technologies are more of a back drop that facilitates the plot. "I want my character to fly like Superman so he has the Dyson 3000 anti-gravity belt", or even more simply, "my character has a sword made of energy, never mind how, he just does". In Taylor's book, the technology he uses starts almost with where we are today. It's set a few years in the future, but nothing seems extraordinarily out of place, no ray guns or teleportation. As Anson's work on the warp drive progresses a number of new technologies are brought into play besides the warp drive but the reader is not asked to simply accept them, rather, they become a part of their logical development. In fact it all was introduced so realistically that I'm surprised we haven't already developed many of the things Anson and his team discover.

The focus on the technology in "Warp Speed" doesn't mean the characters are skipped or glossed over. The character of Anson Clemons is brought into very clear focus as a "renaissance man" with a number of talents and interests that blend together to complement each other and help explain his motives and thought processes. The other characters are well rounded, but they are seen through Anson's eyes which colors them more to how he perceives them. One does pick up on an endearing bit of absentmindedness from Anson, as he "forgets" to mention significant developments in his life, only to have them pop up in the story with an "oh yeah, did I mention that...".

Don't let me fool you, "Warp Speed" isn't just a book about the development of a new propulsion technology. This is good science fiction with plenty of action to keep the reader hooked. In fact, at times the action comes so fast you almost can't get your breath as the characters are thrust from one situation to another with no breaks. One minute they are in space, then they are in a forest with tornadoes, then they are facing terrorists, it almost makes a person dizzy, but it still manages to flow well.

I recommend "Warp Speed" by Travis S. Taylor. It is a real page turner that makes some of the science behind science fiction come alive. This is the first in a series with the second book "The Quantum Connection" due out in paperback soon. To quote author John Ringo "Flubells away!" which will make much more sense if you read the book. Check it out!
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Fun! 23 Dec. 2004
By Fred Kiesche - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I bought this on the strength of the short story that appeared in the anthology "Cosmic Tales". Taylor wrote a story and contributed an essay with science to back up the story. It reminded me of what Charles Sheffield did with his "McAndrew" stories.

A fun first novel. I read it in two nights; stayed up into the wee hours last night to finish it. I look forward to seeing more from him and seeing how he matures as a writer.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A jack of all trades saves the human race 8 Dec. 2008
By Jari Aalto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover

This 375 page book is roughly divided into two sections. In first section the Dr. Anson, a brilliant mathematician whose subconscious talks to himself with the voice and images of the late Albert Einstein, is running short of money as a NASA subcontractor. He is in desperate need to get some results in his "warp experiment lab". A small micro explosion during experiments causes a brief human tragedy and the novel dwells into a "personal caring" sidetrack for a while. In spite of the setbacks things progress smoothly and the lab flourish. The reader is brought to the orbit of earth where the final test of warp technology is about to take place. But the cover page prologue's sinister words echo in vacuum: "Mission control, ... The Shuttle Orbiter has been completely destroyed by some type of internal explosion. The cause is unknown ... (we) are the only survivors. We each have ... roughly two hours and 39 minutes of air left. Please advise on possible rescue scenario". This is the part 1 of the story that ends somewhere at page 150.

After reading nearly half of the book you would expect to guess that the rest (part 2) is about the thrill to see how the space rescue goes and how the technology gets improved. Nothing could be different. The reader is taken to a roller coaster ride without a warning. There comes the villains, there comes the conspiracy, there comes the superpowers and dirty secrets of espionage, there comes save-the-earth scenarios within days! The pace of the events is breathtaking to the page count that is left. No. That's not over yet. At the end the space is explored within 100 AU's distance and stars are only in hands reach a way. At the end all live happily ever after.


Huh. Well. Umph. The roller coaster ride was so fast it lost it believability at its first meters. Th Dr. is presented as a super hero albeit the first person view of characterization tries to bring him to the level of layman by letting him drink beer and do pretzels, throw in start trek, Yoda comments, and make colorful remarks in Alabama accent. It may be literal trick to "borrow" star trek throws into a novel, but it *felt* out of the place. All in all, the story is so grossly exaggerated that it's impossible to swallow: complex Warp-time-and-space (the science) is solved by three-four persons in few months? Stars are conquered as a brief sequel to save-the-earth WW III episode? There was also a problem with the presented political caricature of the superpowers seen from the eyes of the main character, the Dr. Anson . Even if the "Right Wing" policy is taken at tongue-in-cheek, the attitude and views leave a bad taste. I could understand political gloominess, but in this novel the tone is not even humorous.


2 stars. If you need light read, with some mathematics thrown to tickle, and enjoy humorous Dr. Anson talking in first person when he conquers the Einstein, the earth and the stars, this book is okay. Unplug your brains, your common sense, your beliefs, and overall thinking; and you're able to consume the plot. A flash read which you won't much talk about afterwards.

Make no mistake, the book is no page turner in a captivating sense. You might want to see what happens next, but your brain won't make adrenaline of that.
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