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4.7 out of 5 stars28
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 December 2000
One of the best books I've ever read.
Start with a neutron star, one of the densest things known to man, send humans out to investigate it, discover life on it (under heavier gravity than you could ever imagine with lifes measured in seconds rather than years), and sit back and read what happens - I couldn't put this book down.
It's better than Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven and Arthur C. Clarke all rolled into one.
I hope that they re-release the sequel as well "Starquake".
Just a quick word of warning - this is not a new book - it was released originally 20 years ago and the sequel 15 years ago. The story doesn't date, but just check to make sure it's not already in your collection.
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on 9 July 2012
I read this book whilst studying Professor Alex Filippenko's Introduction to Astronomy 96 lecture course during which time he mentioned this book and recommended it to his students. I was pleased to see it available for the Kindle and so decided to purchase and download it.

What an awesome book! A huge star collapses in on itself and the resultant neutron star with something like 13 million times the density of Earth becomes the home to the Cheela, a race of creatures only about half a centimetre on size, more like little corpuscles with twelve sets of eyes and an ever increasing intelligence. The author describes the evolution of these creatures and tells of their life as they pray to a bright star they can see in the sky - a visiting spaceship from Earth. Read about the lives, struggles and triumphs and the Cheela live their lives (millions of times faster than humans live - I think an hour or two in human time was a whole generation of Cheela lives.) There was even a bit of the story of Christ thrown in as one Cheela lives and dies in a vary Christ-like way.

Fascinating read and one I would recommend any sci-fi fan to give a go.
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on 14 August 2013
As an avid reader of sci-fi - especially 'hard' sci-fi, I loved this book and I recommend it to everybody! I'm becoming a bit of a dragon's Egg bore.

The author's depiction of the human characters is sometimes criticised for being a bit two-dimensional - who cares - the Cheela more than compensate and they are the stars of this story.
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on 25 June 2011
This is the surprisingly engaging story of the Chela, whose world is the surface of a neutron star, and who live lives vastly accelerated compared to human ones.

It takes them from hunter-gatherer beginnings through to a Roman-style society, and then into their contact with a human exploratory crew. This has large implications for their society, both religious and intellectual. By the end, their society evolves enormously and they are no longer the learners.

The evolution of the Chela through their various challenges is the key part of the book, focussing on individuals as well as the whole society, and their religious and scientific ideas are effectively and compassionately treated.

The human part of the story, although well done, is not of quite the same level, but it does convincingly describe the process of discovery, with all its blind alleys.

Overall, this is a thoroughly good work of Hard SF imagination.
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on 30 January 2013
I first read this book about 20 years ago - pretty much in one sitting on a wet weekend in Felixstowe. Found it again in the loft and pretty much repeated the one sitting reading. Excellent, hard core science fiction. Incredibly thought provoking - you're sitting there thinking - "impossible, how could life possibly evolve in such conditions, how could particles arrange themselves into such complex patterns, etc, reproduce and ultimately become sentient. Poppycock. Unlike here on Earth, where we totally understand how simple the emergence of Life was here, etc....." Big ideas and concepts as well as some interesting physics. Ok, Forward's human characters may not be that complex - but then I've never reckoned that Arthur C. Clarke could create a good character - besides, the book isn't really about the humans. A great read, and "Starquake" is essential reading if you find this book in any way interesting.
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on 22 March 2016
Startlingly dense and yet at times whimsical, Dragons Egg , it's a book you'll either love or hate: The Science itself is where the action is as the scenario unfolding word by word is awe inspiring and yet dealt with in a warm and human manner. I've seen people complain about lack of characterisation, but I think works fine in the context of the story and what is being concentrated upon :The real star of the story here is the exciting speculative physics and plunges into unknown areas of the cosmos, done in a charming and erudite manner by the Author, who you feel is as much along for the ride as you are! Despite being written in 1980, the science is not outdated and if you are not a fan of physics you might need to consult the net every 5 mins in order to comprehend what is going on- but you'll be all the better for it afterwards! ;)
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on 22 January 2015
This may be the only book I’ve ever read three times, firstly when it was first published, secondly when the sequel was published (and I decided to re-read the first one), and now once again, many many years later. Lasting memories from the earlier readings were not quite right – as from my memory far more of the novel was about the interaction between the two species, whereas the majority of the action lies with the inhabitants of the neutron star. Still, I enjoyed the book once again. The overall lasting memory, as before, is the difficulties of communication between two sets of beings, one set living their lives a million times faster than the others. Just think how patient you’d have to be when you want answers a million times faster than the person you are questioning!
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on 17 August 2011
This is one of the greatest works of science fiction ever written, set on the surface of a neutron star, where huge gravitational and electromagnetic forces squeeze matter into a state quite foreign to our experience. Unexpectedly, an exploration by orbiting astronauts establishes contact with life forms adapted to these extreme conditions. Being governed by processes that function far faster than chemical action, they evolve at great speed, moving from hunting and gathering to empire in the space of days, then going beyond the observing humans to new realms of knowledge. The science of this world is worked out in convincing detail so that the whole story is thoroughly believable. Highly recommended!
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on 9 October 2011
The other reviews summarise this book well,. Its good hard SF, with the implications of the theme well worked out. But the writing is leaden, the characters and speech so badly drawn as too be funny.
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on 6 April 2007
In this story a civilisation evolves on a Neutron star under the gaze of a human expedition to study it. There are parallels with our own development in the sense that the creatures which inhabit the star develop a religion and their own version of Jesus Christ who gets crucified for his views in a way unique to the conditions on the star.

I read this book two decades ago and experienced shock and intrigue when I saw an aerial photograph of the millenium dome for the first time: it looks exactly like the crucifixion creature described in Dragon's Egg.

I wonder if the architect of the dome read this book.
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