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on 3 August 2017
I originally read this book when it was first published over thirty five years ago and have just re-read it. On both occasions I thought it was a fantastic work of imagination by the author - the idea of basically two-dimensional life evolving in a 67 billion gee gravitational field, where huge mountains are a few centimetres high and where technological advance is so rapid because so many generations of the Cheela live and die in such a short period of time (short, at least so far as humans are concerned). BRILLIANT BOOK!
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on 23 April 2018
Really fascinating and enjoyable hard (and I do mean HARD) sci fi. I'm not an expert in any of the fields dealt with in this work so I don't know how plausible the science really is. But the author sure made it seem plausible.

The premise is very imaginative and the story of the development of the cheela civilization is really gripping. And the different speeds of human and cheela life gave the whole thing a bit of real poignancy.

All in all a very enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
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on 9 July 2012
I read this book whilst studying Professor Alex Filippenko's Introduction to Astronomy 96 lecture course during which time he mentioned this book and recommended it to his students. I was pleased to see it available for the Kindle and so decided to purchase and download it.

What an awesome book! A huge star collapses in on itself and the resultant neutron star with something like 13 million times the density of Earth becomes the home to the Cheela, a race of creatures only about half a centimetre on size, more like little corpuscles with twelve sets of eyes and an ever increasing intelligence. The author describes the evolution of these creatures and tells of their life as they pray to a bright star they can see in the sky - a visiting spaceship from Earth. Read about the lives, struggles and triumphs and the Cheela live their lives (millions of times faster than humans live - I think an hour or two in human time was a whole generation of Cheela lives.) There was even a bit of the story of Christ thrown in as one Cheela lives and dies in a vary Christ-like way.

Fascinating read and one I would recommend any sci-fi fan to give a go.
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on 9 May 2018
Such an excellent book, something new and wonderful in the aliens line I think, and exciting how life started and develops on their neutron star. And nice that the people from Earth were pleasant ones, civilised and intelligent. Thank you Mr Forward.
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on 25 June 2011
This is the surprisingly engaging story of the Chela, whose world is the surface of a neutron star, and who live lives vastly accelerated compared to human ones.

It takes them from hunter-gatherer beginnings through to a Roman-style society, and then into their contact with a human exploratory crew. This has large implications for their society, both religious and intellectual. By the end, their society evolves enormously and they are no longer the learners.

The evolution of the Chela through their various challenges is the key part of the book, focussing on individuals as well as the whole society, and their religious and scientific ideas are effectively and compassionately treated.

The human part of the story, although well done, is not of quite the same level, but it does convincingly describe the process of discovery, with all its blind alleys.

Overall, this is a thoroughly good work of Hard SF imagination.
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on 17 August 2011
This is one of the greatest works of science fiction ever written, set on the surface of a neutron star, where huge gravitational and electromagnetic forces squeeze matter into a state quite foreign to our experience. Unexpectedly, an exploration by orbiting astronauts establishes contact with life forms adapted to these extreme conditions. Being governed by processes that function far faster than chemical action, they evolve at great speed, moving from hunting and gathering to empire in the space of days, then going beyond the observing humans to new realms of knowledge. The science of this world is worked out in convincing detail so that the whole story is thoroughly believable. Highly recommended!
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on 26 July 2017
Full of ideas.
Complex sympathetic characters.
Starts with a premise and then develops it both logically and with a real story telling craft.

Stylistically it has aged a little, but read through it's a great piece of SF
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on 19 September 2017
What an adventure. I am looking at the slugs in my garden and admiring how on earth they could climb up a 3 meters high sunflowers. Whilst reading this book I thought of characters of this wonderful novel.
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on 25 July 2017
I couldn't get into this at all but perhaps I have to give it another chance, given all the 5* reviews it has had. I usually love well written Sci-fi...
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on 25 July 2017
You will want to read this time after time. Real Sci Fi told with real but understandable Science and a unique storyline
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