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Better Angels Paperback – November 1, 2000


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade; First Trade Paperback Edition, First Printing edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441007678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441007677
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,087,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

This hardcover debut from the author of Standing Wave, etc. arrives too late for a full review. By 2014, a religion-obsessed government is repressing scientific endeavor. Some years previously, however, Jacinta Larkin discovered a South American Neanderthal population whose religion was based on ingesting a fungus that produced cosmic mental connections and eventually would transport them through a wormhole to meet the alien Allesseh. (When an Allesseh ship crashed on Earth millions of years ago, they left the fungus in case intelligence someday evolved.) Jacinta's skeptical brother Paul watches in disbelief as Jacinta and friends vanish into space. Eventually, he sells the fungus to Dr. Vang, who hopes to develop mind/machine linkages of such information density that a transcendental singularity will open. Others take the fungus drug with varying degrees of enlightenment. Meanwhile, researcher Lydia Farbro discovers an alien artifact in a California tar pit. Extraordinarily rich in ideas, but bogged down by indistinguishable characters and laborious exposition. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Howard V. Hendrix is one of those abundantly talented writers, and BETTER ANGELS, a prequel to his two earlier books, LIGHTPATHS and STANDING WAVE, defies genre boundaries with great panache. . . . Matter and antimatter, Apollonian and Dionysian, Christ and Antichrist, Logos and Chaos -- all these opposites will come into play by the end of what is also a splendid adventure novel, equally at home in big-time transcendence and a very human scale where everyone does matter . . . Like the sciences themselves, SF and the sense of wonder have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years. Though purists may decry his refusal to stay within the boundaries of genre, Howard V. Hendrix can be claimed as one of our very best. -- Locus Magazine, December 1999, p.19 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stephan Arndt on November 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book starts off with a very creative set of suppositions. With a little imagination, the beginning goes off very well and sets a stage for an exciting book. Unfortunately, the author cannot hold the force for long. The various subplots don't tie together very well and actually get boring. Then it goes downhill after that. The last part of the book reads as if Timothy Leary wrote it on a particularly incoherent day. Too bad - given the start, it was a disappointment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mallory Kane on October 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It starts when Professor Fabro finds a human shoulder bone in the La Brea Tar Pits. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, the bone contains evidence that it is not a natural substance. Jiro Yamaguchi is consulted to help with the analysis. The media inevitably gets hold of the story, and concocts a brilliantly twisted theory that the shoulder blade is the bone of an angel, which does more to legitimize its veracity than a hundred serious stories would have.

In an alternate USA of the next millennium which has been thrashing in the throes of its second civil war, rebelling against a tyrannous theocracy, and wheresuch scientific pursuits as archeology, anthropology, and paleontology are banned, the disappearance of the brilliant scientist Yamaguchi causes all sorts of rumors and questions and fears.

In a book he himself describes as the prequel to his astonishing prior novels, Lightpaths and Standing Wave, Howard Hendrix explores the outer limits of human imagination and religious fervor. Hendrix's claim that one can enter his universe from any one of his three books, may be a bit optimistic. He suggests, if you haven't read them, to read Better Angels first, then Lightpaths, then Standing Wave. But he doesn't insist.

Mr. Hendrix is adept at placing humanity within science, or perhaps science within humanity. He is well-versed in high concept scientific principles, and has an incredibly awesome imagination, which he puts to good use as he explores what might happen if there were scientific proof of such things as angels. For those who have already read Lightpaths and Standing Wave, some questions and confusions may be answered. Others may be created by this ambitious prequel.

There is no doubt that Howard Hendrix is a brilliant writer. Better Angels brings his Lightpaths universe full circle. One can only imagine what his next universe will be like.
Rickey R. Mallory
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By doctordruidphd on October 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again, Dr. Hendrix weaves technology and metaphysics into a spectacular tale of people trying to understand the world around them, and their ultimate confrontation with a Universal Consciousness that refuses to understand itself -- until its options run out. From the corporate and governmental greed and lust for power at the heart of the evil Tetragrammaton project to the (hopefully fictitious) rise and fall of the Christian States of America, we see how the events of the characters lives (and by implication, our own) are intertwined with cosmic destiny. Can the unvierse ever truly become conscious? Yes, but even after becoming fully conscious ourselves, there is yet one more demon to fight. The interplay of action and ideas in that final battle, so spectrally protrayed in the last chapter, challenges us to think to the limits of what can be thought -- and beyond. If you want a compelling story that will leave you thinking, this is your book. Oh yes, this is definitely a book you will want to buy for your children. I can guarantee that, having read it, they will NEVER give hitch-hiking another thought.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "richhorn7" on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was really bored with the people in this book. I read mysteries and some science fiction and neither the mystery or the "science fiction" grabbed me because the chracters were all cardboard and so was the dialog. I did finish the book but I never liked it; if you want fun and adventure don't try this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. micallef on May 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
I think I can explain the negative reviews. First, this is actually the first book of a trilogy. Second no matter how Hendrix's publishers bill him, he's writes a novels of ideas--and not 'hard sf'. So if you want is fiction about consistent plausible science then read Benford, but if you want your mind stretched read Howard.
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