Black Cloud Hardcover – 1 Dec 1960
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the story of a black cloud which approaches the earth, slowly enveloping it, and causing massive disruption to its weather. According to physics, the cloud should not be behaving in this way, and a small band of scientists (including one who is, I suspect, modelled on Hoyle himself!) guess that some kind of intelligence is driving it. The book climaxes with their attempts to communicate with it, and the difficulties involved (unlike Star Trek, immediate understanding is not assumed...).
I bought this book for 80p from a charity shop in Cambridge and I shall not be selling it. As Hoyle himself says in his preface 'there is very little here that could not conceivably happen'. Perhaps I will need it for reference...
The book is very readable - the plot rolls along, keeping the reader intrigued. I appreciated the occasional mathematical parts (though they're sometimes obvious and ridiculous to imagine scientists discussing). I found the understated descriptions of the cataclysmic events' effects effective - though not as strong as Greg Egan's "Diaspora". The stereotyped characterisation, even beyond the undifferentiated male boffins, was the weakest part. But this is genuine "hard" science-fiction - defined as story-telling through the exposition of science. It also has interesting relevance to global warming, and a refreshingly down-beat climax.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I believe that together with "Death of grass" and "Day of triffids", this book is one of the most important British SF works of the 50s and as the other two, it... Read morePublished on 19 Mar. 2014 by Maciej
I don't often read science fiction but I read, and enjoyed, this book on the recommendation of Richard Dawkins (Oxford Book of Science Writing). Read morePublished on 24 Sept. 2008 by Nicholas Warren