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All the Lives He Led: A Novel Hardcover – April 12, 2011
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Very few books have ever held my attention in such an iron grip right up until the last paragraph, built so irresistibly to such a satisfying series of blockbuster punch lines, left me so breathless with admiration, achieved such truly cosmic scope." (Analog on Beyond the Blue Event Horizon)
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Top Customer Reviews
Pohl never uses 4 words when 11 will do. A gaseous, golly gee gosh a rootie flavor coils about every sentence. I'm 1/3 of the way through the book, and only the central character is even sketched, a kind of English boy's school boy with an American tough kid back story, and there's no sense the author even cares that it's not plausible, or involving.
We should, by now, given how badly things are going in the writing department, be starting to get whiffs of flop sweat. Yet there's nothing but pure, uninflected blandness. Was Pohl on Xanax when he wrote this? Is there some kind of sadistic, passive aggressive subtext? Doesn't this man have an editor?
"All the lives he led" is a book which aspires to teach you something, and fails. This book gives the impression it attempts to be some fable, an allegory to nowadays lives. By itself, this is OK. However it leaves too many open threads, unanswered issues, and (it must be said) many holes in the plot, to give the reader the one thing a book must deliver - it is not a good read.
I did force myself to read it through, mostly due to the great respect I have for Pohl's previous work. I'm afraid this was not time well spent.
In author Frederik Pohl's near-future story, it isn't just the Yellowstone volcano that causes suffering. Terrorists seem intent on destroying nearly everything, each group pursuing some cause that seems noble to them, seems even to justify the deaths of innocents. And security has reason to believe that the recent outbreak of what is called Pompeian Flu is not a natural disease but a deadly bio-terrorist attack--one with which Brad seems to be involved--whether intentionally or not.
Pohl's world of terrorism is intriguingly complex. Brad is both a willing informant to security but also a man deeply in love with someone who clearly is not just a terrorist but who is involved with something that may kill millions. Security has extraordinary powers they use without much discrimination--but also has officers who try to do the right thing and who even care about the people they hurt. And Pohl's vision of an America virtually destroyed by a natural disaster is the perfect vehicle to remind us that extreme poverty changes everything.
Although, ultimately, I found ALL THE LIVES HE LED to be intriguing and insightful, this story took a long time getting started. As a con-man and seller of recycled wine, Brad isn't very interesting.Read more ›
This one is a simple romance novel, with a sexual/gender quirk not very original, and pretty shallow too, really - it has glaring points where memory serves the reader to see the disjunctions, and the sloppy cover-ups
Oh wait - was i expecting literature? well, at least it's litter
A disappointing read, neither exciting, nor convincing, nor original, nor thought-provoking, nor useful - unless you are a dabbler and think ripples on the pond reveal all the depth there needs to be
One waits for the future, and if it is so mundane as this book, one would not be surprised, but still be disappointed in the banality of it
Re-read something you really liked rather than this
We have a constantly repeated description of an indentured person. A result of a blast in Yellowstone. I'm not sure if the idea that the blast wasn't detected early was meant to be a slight on scientists. Descriptions of real & virtual characters that never went anywhere. Totally ho hum.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
came in good shape.
Love Pohl, he always is good.
A main stay in the genre.
This is a hard read.Tough trying to keep characters and places in line. I find myself re-reading every 20 pages or so. Interestingly weird. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Alan J Chlystun
Ever since Andre Norton walked a stargate Pohl has been on my reading list. This ok, but he's written better. We all get old.Published on October 15, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Fred: we expected so much more from you. If you really needed my 8 bucks you should have just asked, there was no need to present this sham parading as a novel to get it. Read morePublished on February 12, 2012 by John B.
Pohl proves himself a committed existential nihilist through his main character's first person narrative, Brad Sheridan. Read morePublished on December 27, 2011 by Donald
The premise of this book is exciting! Then you read it and realize it's barely worth remembering. A volcano in Yellowstone blows up, the scene switches to Pompeii for the two... Read morePublished on November 21, 2011 by Rick O
Warning: Ambiguous spoilers
"All the Lives He Led" had the promise of an SF novel of Pohl authorship but disappoints as science fiction. Read more