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7th Sigma Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2012

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812561554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812561555
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Sheer adventure: full of engaging, nerdily detailed depictions of the minutiae of Aikido, spycraft, artificial life theory, frontier economics, religious zealotry, Zen meditation, and beautiful descriptions of the southwestern landscape. It has the true pulp adventure serial spirit, the compulsively consumable zing that'll have you turning pages long past your bedtime."
—Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, on 7th Sigma

About the Author

STEVEN GOULD is the author of Jumper, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, and Jumper: Griffin’s Story, as well as many short stories. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. Gould lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon and their two daughters.

More About the Author

Steven Gould is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, Jumper, as well as, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, Jumper: Griffin's Story, 7th Sigma, and Impulse as well as several short stories published in Analog, Asimov's, and Amazing, and other magazines and anthologies. Wildside won the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and was nominated for the Prometheus Award. He has been on the Hugo ballot twice and the Nebula ballot once for his short fiction. Jumper was made into the 2008 feature film of the same name with Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Hayden Christensen. Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon (aka M. J. Locke) and their two daughters, where he keeps chickens and studies and teaches Aikido and Iaido. He recently traveled to Doha, Qatar where he discussed writing and science fiction with Qatari college students. He is working with James Cameron on the next Avatar movies and will write four books each corresponding to Avatar 1 through 4.

Jumper was one of the 100 most frequently banned books in America 1990-1999 per the American Library Association. The fourth Jumper book, EXO, will be out in September.

Customer Reviews

If this is the only book Id say that any scifi fan should avoid it like a plague of metal bugs.
When I laid hands on the collection I read the very first chapter of the first chapters, which happened to be Steven Gould's 7th Sigma.
Simon Haynes
The characters are well written, the world is very well realized, and (like most of his books) things move along pretty quickly.
Landon Dyer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By N. Morris on July 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
7th Sigma is the full novel in the same world as the short excerpt "Bugs in the Arroyo" from 2009 which is still available from the publisher TOR's website as of this time.

Gould has created a story of people who survive and sometimes thrive in a localized apocalypse in the US South West. With a nod toward Clarke's third law, the apparently hyper advanced technology is not center stage. While teams of scientists almost certainly are working tirelessly to find an answer, this is not yet their story.

Kimble/Kim, the young, resourceful male protagonist who is also an aikidoka has some clearly audible echoes of Gould's prior book Helm. The actual technical aspects of Aikido are more in the background here than in Helm and the world receives more of the author's attention.

Technically, the story is broken into several slices of Kimble's life which may be months or only days in duration. The feel is almost episodic: the problem of the day front and center while the ongoing disaster the Bugs represent are the moving backdrop for everything in his world.

I will admit to being an unreasoning fan of the book Helm who owns 2 harcover copies and the kindle version. I was happily surprised by the similarities in this story. I do wish that Kimble was a bit less of a cipher in the later story slices. As the slices jump forward in time, I felt a bit left behind when the young man struggling to learn and expand the edge of his capabilities suddenly becomes the experienced campaigner.

All in all, I enjoyed the quick, entertaining story. For me, the surprising similarities previous work were less important than the large unanswered question of what the Bugs actually are. That question is only more loudly asked at the end of the story and I'm sure another installment from Kimble will be on the way to us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark on August 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At no point does the book discuss sigmas, statistics, or distributions. The title is perplexing. I'd like to believe that the title, and some of the plot elements in the book, will be addressed in a sequel. I liked the book well enough that I'm willing to pre-order the sequel now if it is announced.

The setting is intriguing, but never fully explored. At some point bugs began to eat all the metal in a region much like the American Southwest. Residents of that region have to adapt to life without any metal or electronics. The challenge of establishing a farmstead and a dojo in this setting links together a collection of stories featuring the main characters - a divorced woman and an orphaned uchideshi (live-in student). Although the characters grow over the course of the stories, the lack of a coherent plot leaves the book with a lack of focus.

Each story is interesting, but I kept waiting for the author to address the bugs. The bugs are the point at which the book's world diverges from ours. Although the characters learn more about the bugs, they're merely a feature of the environment like heat or water, never an antagonist or maguffin. Traditional writing advice says that the author is responsible for addressing all the plot elements introduced in the book. I wish that Gould had addressed the bugs because they have the potential to be fascinating.

I like Gould's writing - I have fond memories of Jumper and some of his other books. I think he's got a simple, straightforward style that tells a story well. There are times when I think he tries too hard in this book - like when he tries to tell a story through the characters' recollections rather than through a simple straightforward narrative.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Thiel on July 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first Gould book I've read; I typically read the classics, but having a real love for tv scifi (and sorely missing BSG) I decided to pick up a scifi book.

The world Gould creates is convincing and the story is an entertaining one. That's more than enough for me to feel like I got what I asked for. The language and imagery moves you along briskly in the text and there are very few continuity issues and almost no puzzling contradictions arising from the "bug" premise. (Quite a feat.)

I did find that the asian-martial-arts angle made the characters a little less accessible to me--their teachings and practices seemed so important and ingrained to them that I wish I'd understood them more fully, or, frankly, cared a bit more. I often found myself stopping to ponder the technology challenges imposed by the bugs, but I rarely stopped to wonder how any character was really feeling... and I think that's telling.

The writing is crisp and accessible, though the dialog seems often out of sync with the characters. Children especially seem to be granted the dialog (and occasionally, the wit) of forty somethings.

It is clear that the book is written with sequel(s) in mind, and frankly I thought the "not-_____" plot seemed plugged in as an afterthought. Unfortunately, I think the book needed a stronger plot overall, and the "ending" feels very unfinished. The whole book appears to be background and character development for future works.

All that said, I enjoyed it and will likely take a gander at some similar books by Gould and others.
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