For the most part, these characters just aren't leading terribly interested lives, but they're treated as though they are. The lovingly detailed scene of the scientist walking in on his girlfriend in the bathroom, for example. Most of the characters are thoroughly unlikeable on top of that, especially the womanizing Peterson. Which brings me to the part women play in the book. They are sexual conquests, housewives, and helpers to men. There are a few female scientists, but they aren't allowed to actually do anything on the page.
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This is somewhat understandable in , far less so in I'd even give that a bit of a pass as a product of its time, but this book was written in , not One last thing. The messages being sent back in time are meant to give scientists a head start on the pesticide problem. What they actually do is prevent the Kennedy assassination.
The chain of events here is more than a little forced, and it's never actually explained why that made a difference. View 1 comment. Sep 03, Denis rated it really liked it Shelves: do-not-own. I enjoyed this one very much. I loved the whole idea of "we" of the future or rather 'near past' as the story is set in attempting to communicate with those of the 'more-past' to warn them of an ecological disaster that could be prevented if certain chemicals are not released into the ocean which will cause devastating algal blooms.
If this were possible,could we warn those of the early 20th century not to use asbestos, or discourage the use of disposable plastics or the burning of I enjoyed this one very much.
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If this were possible,could we warn those of the early 20th century not to use asbestos, or discourage the use of disposable plastics or the burning of coal and the over use of oil and such? Would they listen? We are constantly warned of the devastating effect on our climate by credible scientist for decades but we actually do very little to avert these future disasters in spite of the warnings.
Add in the whole paradox thing in with it all and the lack of clarity of the message - it isn't as simple as sending a message in a bottle to the past via a time-machine, rather they send "noise" by way of tachyon particles. I was impressed with the quality of the writing.
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Great character development, the back stories of both those from the "past" and "future". I liked the flip between both timelines throughout the novel. Mind you, this was not a perfect story, there were stretches and a few arguable technical flaws, but I believe that comes with the territory when it comes to scfi. Overall, I was impressed with this one. Okay, this was not for me.
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The good part was the idea and the scientific approach. It was apparent that the time travel ideas were founded on solid physics science of the time of the writing and not some timey wimey stuff to help the plot. Yet the fascination of the author with the medium turned the scientific parts more or less into lectures that did not help to build an exciting or thrilling plot which the idea of the narrative would have been wonderful for.
Most of the time the actual SF plot Okay, this was not for me. That irked me so much, that I started skipping passages from half point on. What kind of future development of humankind is it, if a woman has problems, because her husband is never at home or cares for anything in the family and he gives her the advice to go to London and buy a new dress, whereupon she seemed to be happy again and told him he's a good man. Those 90ie passages the future in this book from the early 80ies were in no way distinguishable from the family feeling of the 60ies passages.
This was not only dated, this was archaic.
There is a lot of physics discussion on why it can work and with what consequences, e. The novel was originally published in and two time periods are each 18 years from this date — and In there is an environmental disaster caused by mankind and some increasingly rarer resources are directed to send a message to the past to prevent the calamity, while the world is falling apart. They all get to tell their stories. This is a serious novel that should stimulate reader to think, not an easy read. Oct 29, Greg Kennedy rated it it was ok. Couldn't get through it The science is interesting and clearly written, but it's just background noise to the character drama on the forefront.
This novel's big problem is that it has aspirations to be something more: it wants so badly to be Real Literature tm The rest of the time is spent fumbling around in an overly wordy mix of boring interpersonal struggles. Every so often it hits the mark. There is a Couldn't get through it There is a brilliant chapter in which a character builds shelves in his home, an extended metaphor of applying his scientific rigor to the crooked and convoluted realities of human interactions.
The timing is right on and the whole chapter is very satisfying. On the flip side it's outweighed by incompetent segues: a highly romanticized scene in which a character accidentally stumbling in on his girlfriend using the toilet, vividly describing e. Or there's Peterson, highly successful womanizing bureaucrat who spends most of the book trying to get every female character in bed - at one point it's revealed, almost apologetically, that the sex he's had thus far hasn't been very good All told there's a lot of wading through the bland and occasionally awful just for a few bits of perfectly crafted writing or as your interest may be: the "science" half of this SF novel.
After nearly pages, I had to give up. Nov 10, Sable rated it it was amazing. Method of the world's destruction: A major failure of chemical balance in the oceans, mostly caused by an overabundance of hydrocarbons, overwhelms the ecosystem and leads to a toxic ocean bloom. I am fascinated by the mixed reviews of this book! Overall the enjoyment of it seems to depend upon whether the reader understands the science behind it. I do not have a background in physics, but I do have an amateur's appreciation for the workings of astrophysics and the flow of deep time, so this might have had a bearing.
And personally, I loved it! There are two concurrent plot threads that Benford follows. Written in , this book postulates a future ecological disaster, and the work of physicists attempting to use tachyons to send a message into the past, in the hopes that doing so will change the course of events. Benford also follows the flow of the physicists in the past with whom they have made contact as they attempt to understand and interpret what has happened to an otherwise simple physics experiment.
Much of the novel is concerned with the social and political workings of the scientists. The team of the future faces constant constraints in their work due to top-down limitations imposed by a council who allocate scarce resources to what they view as the "most practical" science dealing with the disaster; and this physics experiment is perhaps rightfully viewed as a long shot.
The lead physicist in the past must contend with the resistance of his scientific community and administrators, who dislike his results and view the idea of a "message" sent from somebody with incredulity, and they make an active effort to discredit his work. I imagine it's interesting to some people to understand that scientists are themselves human, dealing with all their innate flaws and prejudices, and to realize how much of our understanding of science depends on flawed human beings doing their best.
Some critiques. First, I found it very slow to start with and hard to get into, but once I had done so and understood the nature of the drama, I was engrossed. Second, a modern reader like myself may find the casual sexism and racism distracting, though I wouldn't call it a deal-breaker. We tend to think of as a modern time that follows women's liberation, but evidently we were not that liberated yet. As a Jewish scientist, the physicist of is viewed with unconscious distrust and suspicion that is not even explained by the author, probably because it was so ubiquitous at the time.
And women are bookends to the men who are the movers and shakers of the drama. It rankles on me how the 's protagonist's girlfriend, who is also faculty though in the English department is expected to come home and make dinner for the great scientist after a hard day's work like hers is any less hard. And even in , the other end of things, women are mostly wives who have no other purpose there are peripheral female scientists in both times, but they are exceptions and hardly mentioned. I think it best to view both timelines as alternate histories, with corresponding differences in culture, in order for this to be palatable, and that works well with the way the book resolves though I won't tell you any more because that would be an awful spoiler.
But as I said, this is still an awesome read, well worthy of its place as a SF Masterwork, and I would highly recommend it to all fans of the genre. Jul 31, Ron rated it it was amazing Shelves: science-fiction. This is it: good, hard science fiction. The science is so hard my head hurts. The fiction is so imaginative that separating fact from fiction requires too much thought, too.
Best of all the people and place "ring true" even though you know—don't you? With each point of view shift the reader is taken inside the mind and the world of that character. Benford has no trouble recreating southern California in the 60s because he lived it, but his Cambrid This is it: good, hard science fiction.teuwalsembli.tk
Benford has no trouble recreating southern California in the 60s because he lived it, but his Cambridge, UK written in tastes just as authentic. The gloomy future is the worst of all possible worlds as projected by liberals and conservatives about the time Benford wrote. Remember James Gallagher's England?
Or Jimmy Carter, huddling in his cardigan sweater, telling the nation that the future would be cold, gloomy and small? Or Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" ? Benford also captures the horror of science and it might as well be arts dictated by government committees interested in only in practical applications. And the tyranny of the established opinion: such as today's string theorists who will not even admit to alternative models of physical reality. Or Darwinists who shout down not only creationists but anyone questioning their orthodox beliefs.
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