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on 1 March 1999
I think some of the other reviewers have been overly harsh. I rarely find myself praising Pohl's books highly, with the exception of the Heechee series, but I do feel he is a reasonably good writer. I found this book quite readable, though the time the main human characters spent in confinement was perhaps a little too long from the point of view of pace. I think Pohl had good reasons for putting that section in, however, as it enabled some exploration of issues such as multiple identity - an area he could have gone into more deeply. What I find most interesting about the book is his use of the Tipler thesis - I read the Physics of Immortality a couple of years ago (The math is very heavy going, and I'm really not qualified to judge whether it's feasible). Again, that is something I think perhaps we could have had more of.
On the whole, I think that this book could certainly have been better - a bit more exploration of the issues would have been nice, though I suspect that may be covered later on in the trilogy. The characters are a little thin, I suppose - this is one of those areas where Pohl seems oddly variable. However, they are not so thin as to be a serious obstacle.
I do have some quibbles with the economic & social background, such as the picture of America living with hyper-inflation: It seems unlikely to me that anyone would put up with it for long. Also, for a story set some 30-40 years in the future, it sometimes seems as if the technology of the time is more like the present. But these are not real obstacles to the enjoyment of the story.
A couple of revieweers commented about the ending being very sudden. Well, yes, I suppose it is, but not unjustifiably so. I am reminded of the ending of Gateway, where the climax came & went in a single page - for me that worked fantastically - it was right for that book, and left an image in my head that has lasted 20 years.
I feel this is a three & a half crown book really, so in light of some of the other reviews, I'm giving it four.
PS I am now halfway through The Siege of Eternity and so far finding it much more satisfying.
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on 30 August 1999
I've read a few books by Pohl and I particularly enjoy the way his settings are rich and coherent. He seems to think carefully about the psychology of his characters and the social background they come from (both the humans and the aliens, in this case) explains the characters' motivations and actions quite plausibly. I very much appreciate the depth this adds to the story. Pohl also takes pains to base his stories on science (not necessarily accepted fact, as he notes in an afterword), which makes the story more believable, without sacrificing an imaginative plot. Contrary to another reader, I found the characters compelling. My only disappointment with the book is that it sets up so many different strands, without resolving them -- obviously a sequel is coming, but when? I'm impatient to read it.
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on 8 August 1997
Pohl consistently turns out inventive, readable, novels. The concept and the characters are up to his usual high standards. Unfortunately, the last third of the book moves at a glacial pace-- documenting the incarceration of our heroes in an alien test lab, where next to nothing of any consequence happens. Near the end, the plot picks up pace, only to be abruptly concluded in the final 10 pages with an unsatisfying and unsurprising ending. If you haven't read "Gateway" or "Starburst" or such, read those first!
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on 28 August 1998
After hearing that Frederik Pohl was supposed to be a great novelist, I picked up "The Other End of Time." In the first section, it seems more like a mystery than a sci-fi. Then the plot slows down considerably. It picks up a little at the end, which I read for lack of anything else to do, but it has no real closure. However, I wouldn't want to read a sequel. In some parts, the story is a litle suspenseful, and that does add to the factor of wanting to read a little more, but most areas lack any form of suspense at all. "The Other End of Time" really isn't worth the price tag.
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on 29 July 1997
I was in the Sci-Fi Section of my local bookstore, and someone recomended Pohl to me. I can see why. He writes Sci-Fi the way it was meant to be written. With the knowledge of a scientist, and the skill of a novelist. Read The Other End of Time. It really is one of the best Sci-Fi novels I have read in recent years.
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on 4 August 1998
This book is one of the most original sci-fi books I have read. It has enough twists and turns to make a pretzel look straight and enough original and funny things to keep the most jaded sci-fi fan happy. I can hardly wait to get the sequel!
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on 3 September 1999
As good as any SF I've read and I've read a lot. The fact that Pohl was 78 (I think) when he wrote this and 80 when the sequel was written is amazing when you consider these are as good as any he ever wrote (in my humble opinion).
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on 23 July 1997
I don't know what book the reviewers were reading but it certainly wasn't this one. The usually reliable Pohl has concocted a unlikeable pastiche of trite characters and a weird plot.
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