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on 8 January 2007
The story opens with the discovery of a large planet-like mass of anti-neutrinos that narrowly misses the Earth in a spiralling orbit around the sun. A scientific curiosity, spectacular even, but otherwise irrelevant to the everyday lives of people on Earth. But when miners in an equatorial African country start seeing ghosts in the deepest mine shafts a chain of events is set in motion that will have an impact on the lives of everyone on Earth.

Bob Shaw brilliantly blends conceptual hard sf ideas with his usual exceptional characterisation. His depiction of the political machinations in a post-colonial African nation is both humane and prophetic and the personal struggles of the main characters in the story are as gripping as the overall narrative. The book itself is short, the prose sleek and stylish, reminding us once again just how enjoyable it is to read the works of the 70s SF 'new wave' masters. This one is very highly recommended.
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on 23 March 2001
Bob Shaw's <i>A Wreath of Stars<\i> is a must for SF fans, and would quite likely be enjoyed by those who have no interest in SF. The only SF ghost story that I'm aware of, the book starts with a mysterious planet making a close approach to earth. Although this causes panic, scientists are puzzled, because the planet appears not to be made of solid matter, but rather, neutrinos. A few months later, the rogue planet is billions of miles away, and virtually forgotten by the human race. However, the fun has only just started, and when weird scenes start occurring in a diamond mine in central Africa, Gil Snook, whose only ambition is to go from birth to death without achieving anything, must become humankind's ultimate ambassador to the beings from...well, I won't spoil it for you!
Marks out of 10:
Enjoyability - 11 (eleven)
Originality - 10

Plausibility - 0 (nil, but don't let that put you off!)

A haunting, beautiful and brilliant book.
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on 15 July 2014
The late and very much lamented genius that was Bob Shaw at his absolute finest. A very human story culminating in a breath taking tear jerking ending that almost defies imagination. Characters that are straight out of '50s cinema blend together somewhat awkwardly at times but who collectively achieve a tremendous finalisation to this unforgettable story. Good versus evil in base and elevated forms serves to produce immense reader satisfaction. Totally different to Shaw's other works of sheer mind blowing entertainment such as the Ragged Astronauts trilogy, this book will provide pleasure to everyone of his devotees, one of which I have become since reading some years ago what I personally consider THE finest SF story ever written:" The Palace of Eternity" I defy any serious aficionado of the genre to dismiss this latter as anything less than pure inspiration. If I haven't already convinced you, buy every BS book you can get your hands on, the world lost a creative giant in 1996.
RIP Bob Shaw you will never be forgotten and never eclipsed.
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on 13 January 2014
Wow! I am so pleased to see Gollancz re-releasing all this old Sci-fi that I thought would never see light of day again. Bob Shaw and Michael Coney were my two favorite authors when I was reading Sci-fi, thirty years ago. Well I've got my kindle (not technically true, my wife has my kindle, I have a kobo, well two really, a mini and a touch) and I'm gonna read em all again. Wreath of stars is a corker!
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on 24 December 2012
This is a typical Bob Shaw tale, a lightweight plot that is amusing, and with a sneaky twist to keep you guessing.
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on 25 May 2011
As a keen contributor to the SF community in the UK, Bob Shaw knew his audience; bright, introverted, awkward, scruffy beta-males. Hence the anti-hero of this book is a misanthropic smart-mouth who is discombobulated in the presence of the inevitable beautiful woman when she turns up. Shaw goes on to form a nice contrast between his lonely existence and the intimate manner in which he becomes mankind's ambassador to an invisible planet, rising out from the centre of the Earth. There's plenty of action and an appealing wit throughout, but the unreality of this world and the clunkiness of some of the character interactions put this book squarely in the "entertaining romp" category.

Recommended as a diversion, but let's not inflate it into some kind of classic, shall we?
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on 3 November 2014
This novel shows off Bob Shaw's precise, economic writing style to perfection, never falling into self-indulgent descriptions or narrations, unneccessary dialogue, or excessive preamble. He was the master of the sub-200 word novel, when such things were the height of fashion (1970s).

In this novel he combines particle physicis with political intrigue and the macabre, drawing on a pool of off-the-shelf characters (all his women tend to be the same person, just with a different name), and a few new variations. There is also a minor sense of humour running through the narrative, possibly a hang-over from the predecessing novel Who Goes Here, but this is never allowed to take control of the book. It's meant for intelligent people who like an intelligent read.

Not his best novel, but an also-ran, and well worth having if you're building a collection of quality e-books.
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