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Convergent Series Mass Market Paperback – 1 Oct 1998

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; paperback / softback edition (1 Oct. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671877917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671877910
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,862,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"... in the manner of Arthur C. Clarke's Rama books".-- The New York Times

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, that synopsis is just a little off. This is a unitary edition of the first two *novels* in Sheffield's Heritage universe, a place where long-gone alien's have left giant, mostly incomprehensable artifacts that Humans and other species (none of which are flesh eating telepaths... sorry) puzzle over. There are four novels in the series: Summertide and Divergence (combined here), and Transcendence and Convergence (combined in Transvergence). All have the same main characters and follow on the heels of the last instalment.
Summertide: baisically a preview to the series; introduces the characters and universe and has little to do with the Builders of the artifacts until the end. A group of humans and aliens travel to Quake, an earthquake prone planet that has its worse quakes at summertide... and due to the alignment of the rest of the system, this will be the worst in a few hundred thousand years. Chaos ensues.
Divergence: The characters start on a journey through the mysterious artifacts, which are showing signs of change that may hearald the return of their Builders. They run into a long-dead alien race that had dominated the galaxy until its subjects revolted. Chaos ensues.
These stories are pretty standard space opera in the Star Wars vain. Readable, enjoyable, but nothing special. However, the third book is much better, and the final instalment is outstanding. As long as you don't mind that it's really pretty standard, it's a good way to spend a weekend, and it leads into a third and fourth novel that are both worth the wait.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good setup, but the ending disappoints 23 Aug. 2001
By David M. Chess - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
(The Ingram reviewer must have read only the first couple pages of the book! The "Paradox" artifact pays essentially no role in the story.)
The hard thing about the "mysterious alien artifacts" theme is that if you've done the setup well the reader is wildly curious about the aliens and what astounding purposes their artifacts must have had, and doing a good ending is extremely challenging. It's hard to make the actual explanation as mind-bending and transcendant as the reader wants it, needs it, to be. The novels in "Convergent Series" are, unfortunately, an example of how the actual explanation of the enigma can disappoint.
Without giving the ending away entirely, it turns out that the aliens are basically pretty dumb. Their entire civilization was traumatized by one of those pseudo-profound questions that first year Philosophy students dissect endlessly in the pub, but that in fact evaporate under serious consideration. Their approach to working on the problem is utterly silly and implausible, and serves mainly as a plot device to get the characters to where they need to be for the next scene.
The book is certainly fodder for airplane reading if you have nothing else to hand. But there are lots better things out there...
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good hard sf ideas rather let down by execution 24 Jan. 2002
By Arnab Bhaduri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The 'strange artifacts left behind by vanished races' theme has been quite a staple of hard sf writing. The problem is the difficulty of providing a satisfactory explanation of the aliens and their motives for doing whatever it was they did. That's the problem with this book. The trappings of hard sf are well done, but the story (this is actually two books in one, the first two parts of a four-book series) does not build up to a real climax. To be fair, it could be argued that at this point we are only halfway through the full story - but I think that each individual part of any series, that is published as a book by itself, ought to stand on its own.
The descriptive part of the narrative - the science, the alien artifacts - are well done. In my view, the book is let down by two weaknesses, wooden characters and the pace of the narration. None of the characters really stick in your mind; they all seem to be rather two-dimensional and ordinary. In this regard I suppose the comparison to Arthur C. Clarke is quite valid :-) Where the author falls behind in comparison with great books employing the same setting is primarily in the pace of events. Things start off slowly, seem to get even slower in the middle, and only towards the end does the pace really pick up. This may be OK for some people, but not for me.
I don't mean to give a completely negative impression here. The book is not bad, in fact it is among the better ones of its kind. Maybe my expectations were set a bit high, after having read some of the author's shorter work first. Read it, if you can borrow it. Then compare with "Ringworld" (Niven)and "Rendezvous with Rama" (Clarke).
9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tom 6 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Strong on science, concept, and plot. The name caught me, and the book didn't disappoint. Sheffield bridges the gap between space opera and hard sci-fi with an excellent grasp of drama, humor and "wow".
1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting. 6 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Convergent Series is diffinenty a thinking man's book. Sheffield writes an amazing trip through the mind, and creates a new level for human thought to expand into.
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