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Brainwave: His Enduring Masterpiece Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ibooks, Inc. (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596872209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596872202
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,970,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''A masterpiece.'' --Larry Niven author of the Ringworld series and Fleet of Worldsseries --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

POUL ANDERSON (1926-2001) was one of the most prolific and popular writers in science fiction. He won the Hugo Award seven times and the Nebula Award three times, as well as many other awards, including the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America for a lifetime of distinguished achievement. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

What a brilliant concept!
Rebecca Lethlean
Most of these new publishers only issued hardback books.
Arthur W. Jordin
Among the best science fiction, I've read.
Michael Clarke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By mathilde de gardin on December 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What if - - - . What if earth, after millennia, leaves a part of space in which an unknown phenomena has (up untill then) dampened the IQ of the earthlings? What if everyone's IQ suddenly jumps up with 400%?
Morons become "normal", pigs get smart and the great masses of normal people become geniuses over night, all bilions of them. Are they glad, can they cope with it, and what does it do to society? Poul Anderson explored these questions in 1954, in a book that is still fresh today. He succeeds very well in describing the changes in thinking and feeling patterns in people that evolve from normal to incredible high IQ. A good and interesting read, that is highly probable, once you have accepted the premisse. It'll set your mind in motion.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Maximiliano F Yofre on October 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've read this novel when I was a teenager in the mythical Argentinean sci-fi magazine "Más Allá". It was published in the last two volumes edited. I've treasured my collection for more than 40 years. Time and again I reread the most outstanding novels and short stories kept there as in a time shell.

"Brain Wave" is one of the best novels written by Poul Anderson.

The argument is great: suddenly all sentient beings start to change. Everybody is more intelligent each day. Cattle start to avoid slaughter. Horses refuse to be saddled. Brock, a moron peasant, start to have lucid insights and want to read.

The rest of humankind tries to cope with emotional disturbance, weird dreams, creativity shocks, religious surges and many more strange "symptoms".

Anderson analyzes this impossible situation and shows the reader a kaleidoscopic maddening universe. Little by little things began to fall in place and a new civilization emerges from chaos.

The follow up of the story is done by some key characters ranging from the retarded Brock, thru the ordinary housewife distressed by the new unsolicited abilities till her scientific husband and his neighbors.

The novel has an optimistic conclusion as was styled in the blessed `50s sci-fi.

Take a romp thru it, you won't be disappointed!

Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ensiform on September 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Earth moves out of some kind of force field, and suddenly, all electromagnetic and -chemical processes; not only do intruments go out of wack, everyone and everything with a brain triples in intelligence. For some individuals, this is liberating, albeit terrifying; some crack under the strain of such a jump. The human race as a whole, indeed, finds itself wondering what wo do with itself. This is a pretty good piece of speculative fiction, the idea taken to the limit. There are great bits, like intelligent chimps rising elephants and teming with African tribes; the story of Brock, the one-time moron, is particularly resonant. Overall, it's certainly a supremely optimistic view. As one character in the book notes, just because people are smart doesn't stop them from doing stupid things like speeding or smoking; nor does intelligence always erase prejudice. Yet Anderson envisions a human race that, due solely to higher intelligence, (after a lengthy period of great strife) transcends war, patriotism, and borders - indeed, seems at the end to have formed into some unified collective mind. I'm not so sure that all this necessarily follows from increased intelligence, even such an exponential leap in brain activity; but I see that Anderson is actually painting humans as the wise celestial visitors that most SF authors depict alien beings as. It's sort of a nice touch. Recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Susan Norton on December 20, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great classic by one of the very greatest masters of science-fiction. I have just re-read it and am again awe-struck by just how good a writer Anderson was. The premise of the story is that the intelligence of everyone on Earth - humans and animals - trebles. There is chaos at first - no one wants to do dull but necessary jobs any more, animals rebel against being slaughtered, monkeys learn to use guns. There is a tragic love-story but the end is deeply satisfying. Anderson not only keeps the story pacing along, but, as always, can evoke awe and wonder, with some very pointed and poignant comments on the human condition. The book was written quite a while ago but is as fresh as ever. If you read no other science-fiction, read this!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By yuriv@bu.edu on June 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first novel written by Poul Anderson, one of the all-times greats of Science Fiction. The novel tells about a present-time Earth (of the 60's, at the time), which suddenly comes out of an unknown-before power field, which was slowing the speed of our brain activity. This results in a tripling of an average IQ, and even animals approach the mental levels of a pre-change humanity. The ensuing chaos and rebuild of the world are the subject of the book. I think the premise is tremendous, and I liked the way Anderson handled it. The only reason I did not give the book 5 stars is because it shows very slight signs of aging. A classic and a must-read, though.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "phyed-rautha" on June 8, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do'nt usually read Poul Anderson's books. He's just not one of my favorite writers. This book , though , IS one of my favorites.
The basic premise is that for unknown millions of years the world and it's surroundings have been in a kind of force-field - one that slows down electricity.
Since we've been under it's influence before we became intelligent , when it's influence is lifted from our brains , all the living beings on earth becomes three or four times as intelligent as before.
One cute point : It is possible that earth entry into this force-field is what killed the dinosaurs.
Some die , some are not able to deal with their new abilities and become insane and some , as always , carry on.
The way Anderson developes that basic brilliant premise is remarkeble. It is well written and very interesting. The book has not one but a couple of heroes , and it's following them in their dealing with the change and their activities as super-geniuses. Very recommended.
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