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Eon


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best hard sci fi I have ever read.
Set in the near future, Earth is recovering from a limited nuclear war. But as a second, full-blown, war looms, an asteroid appears orbiting Earth. Scientists enter the hollowed out rock to discover chambers with cities, cities with parks and libraries, but no life, and in the libraries a shocking historians' description of the future war. And in the seventh chamber, the...
Published 1 month ago by Dervid

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there.
This book represents many interesting ideas; not least of which , how (as readers) do we react to a “future vision” that is wrong?

This novel is set in 2005, and it takes it a little getting used when reading this in the modern day (2014).

On the whole, I usually like Greg Bear, but reading this reminded me of how limited his vision of...
Published 2 months ago by M Sockel


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there., 21 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Eon (Hardcover)
This book represents many interesting ideas; not least of which , how (as readers) do we react to a “future vision” that is wrong?

This novel is set in 2005, and it takes it a little getting used when reading this in the modern day (2014).

On the whole, I usually like Greg Bear, but reading this reminded me of how limited his vision of the future is. He never foresaw the rise of technology and networked communications in the way that Clarke or Asimov did, and as a result there were some key descriptions that suffered.

That quibble aside, this is a page turner of a book… up to a point. The prose is good, and there are plenty of cliffhangers. The air of intrigue as a mysterious hollow meteorite orbits our world is comparable with Rendezvous with Rama, and there is plenty of tension as one crisis leads to another.

However, some of the concepts feel underdeveloped. On many occasions, it felt that we were going to be hit with a revelation, akin to understanding the true nature of the Monoliths (2001), only for a whimpered “it’s too advanced to comprehend.” This was disappointing because it means that either Bear never had a fully formed idea, or doesn’t credit his readership with the intellect to understand.

There are some saving details, albeit granular. Computer files are transferred in "memory blocks" - not far off from flash drives. And “slates” are used to interface with computers, just like tablets now. However the political vision remains mired in the 80’s, and it struggles for it.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that this book touches (but does not fully explore) the idea of an infinite number of universes, and therefore an infinite number of “you’s”. Whilst ok in principle, it renders the actions of the characters pointless. Their victory or failure is utterly devoid of meaning, and resulted in me disengaging about two-thirds of the way through.

In short, lots of good ideas that are never fully realized. Whilst it makes for compulsive reading, there is ultimately little pay off.

Read once.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best hard sci fi I have ever read., 11 Nov 2014
This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Set in the near future, Earth is recovering from a limited nuclear war. But as a second, full-blown, war looms, an asteroid appears orbiting Earth. Scientists enter the hollowed out rock to discover chambers with cities, cities with parks and libraries, but no life, and in the libraries a shocking historians' description of the future war. And in the seventh chamber, the biggest shock of all - it goes on forever.

I think this is fabulous, hard Sci Fi. Incredible, but made credible by excellent writing and characters that you empathise with, whether current humans or the humans (from a post-apocolypse parallel universe) that built the asteriod and in a flourish of genius created the space-time warp that traverses universes. Even the aliens have character! Sure, the background international relations seem dated now, but I can handle that, and who knew any better, eh? Sounds an ominous tome of a book, but not at all - it's readable, enjoyable, fascinating and challenging all in one; easy to read in a few sittings and it rewards multiple readings.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Science: Great Characters. Works on all levels, 24 April 2003
This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Although 'Blood Music' received more attention from the SF community , this is probably the book in which Bear set the standard for his subsequent work.
It's Hard SF/Big Science at its hardest, and in one sense can be seen as a 'Rendezvous with Rama' for the Nineteen Eighties.
Bear should also be applauded for his portrayal of female characters as in this and subsequent novels he places strong female characters centre-stage, in this case, Patricia Luis Vasquez, a young gifted physics student who is drafted in to solve the mysteries of the Stone and becomes important to the plans of all the factions involved.
The plot involves some complex physics and the concept of parallel universes.
It is always interesting to look at authors' views of the future once that future is past and gone. Written in 1985, Bear's future world has become a kind of 'alternate future' since perhaps no-one could have predicted that the abrupt fall of the USSR and the smashing down of the Berlin wall. Here, the USSR is still a superpower, and the Cold War very much alive.
Bear cleverly sets up the East/West ideological divides while Nuclear War destroys the Earth in the background, before bringing in the people of Earth's future. They live in Axis City, a vast mobile habitat which roams 'The Way' (the corridor which stretches along the infinity of parallel Universes) and which is itself divided along ideological lines between radical Geshels and orthodox Naderites.
It's a compelling and scientifically convincing novel, and one of Bear's best.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex but striking, 16 Aug 2002
By 
P. Sanders "prhsuk" (Belfast) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
When I read a little about "Eon" I was intrigued... a hollowed-out asteroid, infinitely large on the inside, it sounded fascinating, and the size promised an epic scope.
And by and large, this is what you get. The book is full of interesting and largely sympathetic characters, with a supporting cast probably in the hundreds. The story is fascinating and I plan to read the two sequels soon.
However, sometimes Bear's descriptive passages become so technical that I actually found it hard to visualise what he was describing (eg: the first visit to the singularity). Also, some of the scientific theory is very complex, but thrown at you and then left for you to try and decipher. I admire authors who use serious science, but I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes I need a helping hand understanding it!
But - this (and the somewhat rushed ending) did not stop me enjoying the breathtaking scope of the mysterious Stone and the adventures of those exploring it. Good fun, but be ready to work at it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Epic in scope but hard to understand and difficult to visualize, 20 Nov 2010
By 
Irikefe Okonedo (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This hard science fiction novel tells the story of a large asteroid that suddenly appears in orbit around the earth, leading scientists to go and study it. What they discover is that the interior of the asteroid has been hollowed out into seven chambers by beings from elsewhere. In some of the chambers are abandoned cities. In one of these cities is a library with historical reports from the future that foretell cataclysm on the earth in the near future. And - the greatest mystery of all - the asteroid is bigger on the inside than the outside because the seventh chamber of the asteroid doesn't actually end: it goes on forever. To help to try to understand the Stone (what the asteroid comes to be called) and decipher its mysteries the US government's advisor to the President Judith Hoffman calls upon the services of young mathematical genius Patricia Vasquez whose mathematical theories just might hold the key to saving the earth. Assigned to look after her is Hoffman's chief administrator Garry Lanier, who has been struggling to cope with the Stone and the impossible things it contains. But unbeknownst to Garry and Patricia, the future is calling (quite literally), and it will change them - and all the book's characters - forever...

Comments: this book was a funny one. It was hard to put down because it has an excellent plot but the book was also flawed because it was hard to visualize much of the fantastical world that the author Bear was describing because the language used was so technical. Part of the enjoyment for me of science fiction like this is visualizing strange new worlds so this detracted quite a bit from my enjoyment of the book. On top of this the author introduces a lot of characters in the book without a lot of characterization so that sometimes it was hard to keep track of all the characters in the book and remember who was who. Finally - and this may sound paradoxical - towards the climax of the book the plot lost me completely and I couldn't really understand what I was reading, although it was still enjoyable to read. Plus points? Despite its at times overcomplexity the plot is undeniably very strong. Also the characters from the future are very interesting. Nonetheless - because of the book's flaws - I only give this book three stars. But read it, anyway. You may feel differently than I do.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but dated, 22 April 2009
By 
Mark Chitty (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
When the Stone arrives in a elongated orbit around Earth the first thought is of alien visitors. However, when NATO is the group to arrive and enter the asteroid they discover something even stranger - it was built by Humanity over 1000 years ago. After exploration it is revealed that there are seven chambers within the Stone, some containing cities, some machinery, but the seventh chamber - the Corridor - is the strangest of all as it is much larger than it should be - the end is yet to be found.

With growing hostilities on Earth between the west and Russia, the signs towards a nuclear holocaust are becoming more and more apparent. With this echoed on board the Stone with the Russian scientists kept in the dark about the more unique features found within it, a showdown is inevitable. Not only this, but the recorded history in the libraries of Thistledown City put the first strike at mere weeks.

While all this is going on a descendant of humanity, Olmy, has returned to Thistledown from Axis City, a million kilometers down the corridor, to observe the new arrivals. What he sees is Patricia Vasquez getting surprisingly closer to unraveling the secrets of both the sixth chamber with its machines and the apparently infinite corridor of the seventh chamber. Due to her intellect Ormy intervenes and takes her to Axis City where the rest of humanity now resides in its many forms. With ever impending crises facing both current and future generations, fate will lead each to their destiny, wherever it may be.

While I usually read much more recent releases, this is the second 'classic' SF book I've picked up this year. I've wanted to get a good look at what the pre-90's have to offer for a while now and I'm picking and choosing what I've heard good things about. Foundation was the first and it hit the spot, but unfortunately Eon only skimmed it. Why? Well the main reason is how dated the story feels - when written in the early 80's the year 2005 must have seemed a long way off, but being read from 2009 it just falls down at many hurdles.

Regardless of that there are many good points to Eon, most of which are exactly why I read and enjoy science fiction. The initial scenes where we start to see what is within the Stone are some of the best in the book. Exploring something that comes from the future of humanity is always good, but the way in which things are guarded and the details come through slowly help to build up the scene and the sense of awe. I loved these sections, the politics between the Americans, Russians and Chinese that go towards building some tense moments and exciting possibilities.

The characters, for me at least, were rather forgettable. Vasquez, the brilliant scientist, and Mirsky, the Russian commander, were the two that I consider the best success. Being able to look through the eyes of a soldier-turned-commander while his way of life is taken from him is a fascinating way to explore both character and situation. My only issue was that we didn't follow him enough, instead concentrating more on the issues of humanities descendants rather than the aftermath of nuclear war and being cut off from Earth. Speaking of focusing on humanities descendants - Vasquez is the one that helps add a human touch to this part of the story. Leaving loved ones on Earth to go to the Stone gives her motivation to find a way back by using the technology of the future.

All in all Eon is a fairly enjoyable novel. If I had read it at the time of release it would have been more enjoyable, although I know I should just take it at face value and enjoy the story it tells. This is one of the few books I've read that has given me this feeling and I just wish it hadn't - all the ingredients are there to make an excellent sci-fi novel.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So near and yet so far, 17 Sep 2008
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This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Eon could have been a classic among the canon of epic SF. The basis of the story is immediately appealing, offering as it does the promise of mysteries and wonders. And initially the book delivers. The first quarter is full of exploration and discovery, taking the reader to exotic places and revealing fascinating technologies. But here's the `however'. Quite suddenly the book takes a different tack. We become drowned in scientific detail and political intrigue. There's so much of both that all the magic and mystery is battered out of the narrative. Obviously this is hard SF and a certain amount of scientific rigour is to be expected, but here it is taken to the nth degree. This has a negative effect, making it impossible for the reader (this one anyhow! - and I have a reasonably good understanding of physics) to visualise much of what is supposed to be happening. As for the political machinations, much of this could have been omitted without weakening the story - quite the opposite in fact.

In a nutshell, Bear seems to work on the principal that everything has to be fully explained and made to appear at least theoretically viable. This is simply not the case. Often a little mystery only partly resolved leaves the reader with a sense of anticipation, and forces them to exercise their own imagination. This approach actually makes the story more satisfying.

As for the ending: I know that Bear had a sequel in mind, but that does not excuse the rather hurried and dissatisfying conclusion.

In fairness Eon may well please many a true hard SF fan, but for me it's served mainly to reinforce my growing suspicion that this type of fiction is not for me.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost as lengthy as the seventh chamber...., 10 July 2012
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This is a SF novel wide in scope although for me didn't quite hit the mark.

The basic plot concerns a large hollow asteroid that appears in Earth's orbit at a time of rising tension between the Soviets and the US. Exploration of the hollowed asteroid reveals a series of chamber with flora, weather systems and cities, and th politics of the exploration only serves to heighten US/Soviet tensions. The seventh chamber is apparently endless and contains the mysterious 'Way' which distorts space-time and acts as a portal with gates to access parallel universes. Interesting concepts thoughout but many have been done before in previous works, so for me not as groundbreaking as some suggest.

The weaknesses of the novel and the reason I didn't really warm to it for me are many. Firstly the novel is obviously a product of the cold-war age and now seems quite dated. This in itself is something the reader should take as a product of its time, first published in 1985, but in places reads like a cold war thriller set in space. The characterisation is rather poor with too many one and two dimensional characters throughout the novel and some very banal dialogue in places. The descriptions of the asteroid are quite difficult to follow and visualise with some completely incomprehensible psuedo-technological explanations. As the main characters journey down 'The Way' they encounter a future human civilisation which has evolved and developed technology beyond easy description, numerous alien beings, neomorphs, homomorphs and all sorts of other crazy incarnations. There is some difficult to follow political machinations relating to various factions such as the Naderites and Geshels. All round, too many ideas with too many incomprehensible explanations, and far too long. The writing really failed to grip me.

I can see why some people like the ideas and the detail, but for me this really clouded the story; less is more springs to mind. Taken as a whole it seemed a real mishmash of things, including Soviet/US conflict, badly sketched human characters and their relationships, weird aliens and future beings, and difficult to read descriptions. It may be appreciated by the fans of space opera, but I prefer a much punchier style of SF. I'm certainly not tempted to reach for the sequels.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Science Fiction for the more discerning reader., 11 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Eon (Paperback)
This is a five star book, no question... The book itself deals with the human reaction to the discovery of something so incomprehensible as to shake the soul to the core. The plot centres on a typical group of Sci-Fi characters, the scientist, the soldiers, the administrator...... It is in the development of these characters which enriches this complex physics based novel. Speaking of physics, yes the plot does involve spatial geodesical warps, but hey, Bear would have been slagged off if he had have just dropped an infinate trans dimensional tube into the middle of space without at least explaining how it came to be. So, if you like your Science Fiction to give you a head ache and severe insomnia, this is the book for you. However, if you don't want your girlfriend to start sleeping with someone else as she's fed up with being ignored in preferanc of a book, stick to... Asimov.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Sci-Fi work of the 90s, 22 Oct 2002
By 
A. Nicholson (Horsham, Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Currently into my third reading of the book, it is one of my favourites.
Epic both in proportion and detail, Bear uses science fiction to create a world (not possible!) but easily imaginable.
Taken from a Cold War stance between the US and Russians, the Asteroid triggers war adn tension between the two. The 7 hollowed out chambers hold secrets to the past and future of the human race, with serious implications for the researchers aboard the 'stone' ...
Well worth trying to understand the technical depth Bear gives to the story, and especially the near perfect first half of the book.
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Eon by Greg Bear (Paperback - 23 July 1998)
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