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Borrowed Tides Mass Market Paperback – January 7, 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; First Edition edition (January 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812561511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812561517
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,874,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Paul Levinson's second novel, Borrowed Tides, is an enjoyable read. It has all of the qualities that a good one-chapter-a-night-before-bed novel should have: it's engrossing, educational, and thought provoking without being too heavy. The characters, who are traveling from Mars to Alpha Centauri on humankind's first interstellar voyage with only enough fuel for a one-way trip, are both believable and likeable. And although many of the ideas Levinson deals with--the paradoxes inherent in time travel, the group dynamics of a small crew isolated for a long period of time on a space ship, the applicability of quantum mechanical principles to macroscopic objects, children with special powers--are not new, and could even be considered trite, his handling of them is interesting enough to make revisiting them worthwhile. Levinson's erudition is apparent throughout the novel, and his allusions to Native American legend, the Bible, computer science, political theory, and Western physics and philosophy suggest that he is well versed in each of these disparate fields. Thus, like his first, this novel will be appreciated by hard-core technophiles and more well-rounded science fiction lovers as well. --Diana Gitig --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Politics blends neatly with spirituality in Levinson's provocative second novel (after The Silk Road), about the first manned interstellar flight to a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system. Two septuagenarians, first acquainted in childhood, head the crew: Aaron Schoenfeld, whom the U.S. president has chosen on the strength of his philosophical arguments for space exploration, and Jack Lumet, an anthropologist who has incorporated the mystical teachings of Iroquois Indians into his worldview. It is Lumet's insights into the Indians' beliefs regarding the cyclical nature of travel on river currents extrapolated to a cosmic level that enable a final American commitment to the trip. In order to maintain continued support of space exploration, a live crew that will be able to return must undertake this voyage. Once underway the other seven members of the crew face personal conflicts regarding the validity of the theoretical constructs adapted from spiritual sources. These doubts culminate in an attempted mutiny. None of the events leading up to the revolt fall into genre clich‚s, as all of the characters are well drawn and their motivations are believable. But the real surprises come on reaching the star system after eight years of travel. The author has created an ingenious narrative that loops back on itself like a M”bius strip. Readers will enjoy working through the unexpected paradoxes the characters find themselves in and watching how each character individually chooses to resolve the shared predicament during the journey homeward.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

My novel The Silk Code won the Locus Award for Best First Nove1 of 1999, and was published as an "author's cut" Kindle edition in 2012. My other science fiction and mystery novels include Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002, 2013), The Pixel Eye (2003, 2014), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006; author's cut Kindle 2012; Entertainment Weekly called it "challenging fun"), and Unburning Alexandria (2013). My short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. Nine nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009, 2nd edition 2012) have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Polish, and eight other languages. I appear from time to time on MSNBC, Fox News ("The O'Reilly Factor"), The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, NPR, BBC Radio and other TV and radio programs - I like talking just as much as writing. I'm also a songwriter, and have been in several bands over the years - one had two records out on Atlantic Records in 1960s. My 1972 album Twice Upon a Rhyme (on HappySad Records) was re-issued on CD by Beatball/Big Pink Records in 2009, and on re-pressed vinyl by Whiplash/Sound of Salvation Records in 2010. I was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009, and review the best of television on my Infinitte Regress.tv blog and on Starpulse. Last but not least: I have a PhD in Media Theory from New York University and am Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Why couldn't he have asked someone to proofread his book?
Amazon Customer
The sfnal premises are laughably wrong-headed -- the stuff of bad TV shows -- but I kept reading, thinking Levinson had something else in mind.
Peter D. Tillman
The story is intriguing, but the author is trying to tell it in far too little space.
Jane Avriette

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This really isn't any good. The story itself had possibilities, but the book falls prey to two major problems: Levinson doesn't write very well, and he doesn't know what he's talking about.
The first problem might be overlooked by science fiction fans of the old school, who don't place terribly high importance on literary style. Levinson's awkward prose and unconvincing dialogue are not particularly bad by space-opera standards.
However, the science in this novel is simply ridiculous. In attempting to use the language and concepts of quantum physics, Mr. Levinson is obviously living far beyond his intellectual means.
Furthermore, I am assured by Native American friends that the "Iroquois" material is even more wildly wrong than the alleged science. And as for the philosophical "profundities", words fail me. It is too bad they did not fail Mr. Levinson.
The Silk Code, despite a silly premise and a tortuous plot, did have its moments. Borrowed Tides is simply awful.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The local library had this book because it is by a local author; my wife gave me a copy to take on a business trip. I found Borrowed Tides a slow and unfocused read and if I hadn't been stuck in backwoods North Carolina for a couple days I probably wouldn't have finished it.
The characters were not very well developed for the most part -- especially the "kid" with strange power -- and it looks like one character got killed off more for the convenience of the author ( who couldn't figure out what to do next) than for the needs of the plot.
Worse, the ideas seemed borrowed from a lot of new age sources but they were strewn about right and left and they didn't quite connect. ... In fact the ending was the biggest disappointment -- it is definitely a cheat -- almost as bad as one of those "it was all a dream" things.
They tell me the writer is a college professor; perhaps that's why the book is as dry as it is. Fun the book isn't. RH, NY
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Levinson's quality is slipping in this disapointing second novel. He doesn't seem to know what to do with the story and quickly losses the reader's interest in this novel which could use severe editing.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on April 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Imagine a novel set in the near future where mankind is on the verge of attempting the stars--or falling back on itself. Imagine a heroic scientist, a dash of Native American legend, strange psychic abilities, an alien space hulk, and a time warp. Clearly Paul Levinson has assembled all of the ingredients of a great science fiction novel.
Unfortunately, Levinson falls far short of this promise. His science is a bit bizarre--his plot depends on the ability to turn around halfway to the destination. The idea of a halfway point with a space ship (whether under continuous drive or especially with inertia) is scientifically suspect. With inertia (as with the U.S. travel to the moon), it takes just as much fuel to reverse direction no matter how far you've traveled. With continuous acceleration, you would have to turn around far closer to the starting point than the end.
Readers can forgive suspect science if they're given interally logical stories. Here too, Levinson lets us down. We have long discussions about the impossibility of sending a human to the new planet--and then we send one. We have other long discussions about increasing the biomass on the ship (cool--use the time warp to overcome conservation of mass/energy, I like it) and then we never see what happens. The characters decide to have a baby for its presumed psychic abilities--did it have any? Who knows, Levinson never tells us.
Levinson can write. Maybe he needs a critique partner to help him make sure everything sticks together.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
OK OK I confess, I only to got to page 80, and I also have to admit, hard science in SF novels is not that important to me, nor are the mechanics of interstellar spaceflight. But to make the mechanics of space flight, apparently using contemporary science, the main interest of the first 30% of your novel and then be so ludicrously ill informed about it really is an acute embarassment. Its reminiscent of someone who was a techical advisor to star wars. Characterisation and plot development were also weak areas, in fact the novel had no strengths, unless you count the fact the author seemed in a cheerful mood throughout and quite unaware of his own shortcomings. Avoid.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Borrowed Tides is a good title but as a book it is an unfortunate mix of ideas. I'll try not to spoil the book with details, but the science is weak at best and the attempt to get metaphysical seems like a feel-good way to overcome a lack of knowledge of basic physics. For example the so-called "boomerang effect" is nothing new for space travel -- Jules Verne predicted it! -- but is presented as something far out. Dr. Levinson's background in media and internet (check his amazon list!)turn the book's "hero" into a kind of wishful thinking "Mary Sue". It is diffcult to imagine a less likely (or less competent) mission leader! The cover promised me a rip-roaring space adventure, but that's not what I got. Some interesting ideas here, but it doesn't gel.
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