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Cosm Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1999

57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Alicia Butterworth is a physicist from U.C. Irvine who's trying to re-create the conditions that existed just before the big bang using the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider on Long Island. Something goes wrong during one of the collider runs, and part of the machine explodes, leaving behind a strange metallic sphere. Butterworth sneaks the object back to Irvine, where she and a colleague determine that what they have on their hands is a window into a miniature universe, or cosm. The cosm is evolving far faster than our own universe, giving Butterworth a ringside seat as the history of creation replays itself. Her theft turns out to be just the start of what, at times, is a boisterous adventure as she becomes ensnared in the intrigue of cloistered academic and scientific circles. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Avon launches Eos, its new sf/fantasy imprint, with a bang: a physics professor creates a new universe in her laboratory. Benford, himself a physics professor, has also won the United Nations Medal in Literature.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380790521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380790524
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,363,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregory Benford, author of top-selling novels, including Jupiter Project, Artifact, Against Infinity, Eater, and Timescape, is that unusual creative combination of scientist scholar and talented artist; his stories capture readers - hearts and minds - with imaginative leaps into the future of science and of us.

A University of California faculty member since 1971, Benford has conducted research in plasma turbulence theory and experiment, and in astrophysics. His published scientific articles include well over a hundred papers in fields of physics from condensed matter, particle physics, plasmas and mathematical physics, and several in biological conservation.

Often called hard science fiction, Benford's stories take physics into inspired realms. What would happen if cryonics worked and people, frozen, were awoken 50 years in the future? What might we encounter in other dimensions? How about sending messages across time? And finding aliens in our midst? The questions that physics and scientists ask, Benford's imagination explores.
With the re-release of some of his earlier works and the new release of current stories and novels, Benford takes the lead in creating science fiction that intrigues and amuses us while also pushing us to think.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a woman PhD physicist, who worked in academia and government labs, I REALLY identified with Benford's black superwoman, superhero, hard-nosed but soft hearted physicist, who is too busy teaching and making her name in science to get a love life (which, true to life, comes to her eventually through working on physics with fellow physicists).The science fiction flows smoothly out of science fact, the coast- to-coast settings and characters are all too familiar and true to style in this near-term future, whether it's the UC or Caltech faculty, students and administrators, or whether it's at the Brookhaven accelerator; and federal officials are still the BAD GUYS. As a Benford fan of long standing, I found this novel to have more depth, more character development, more plotline and more fun: it's a good read for all and any science or SciFi lovers...I give it an easy high five!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Otik on September 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As a black woman, I must say that reading these reviews both disturbed and intrigued me. Many of the reviewers wrote that Mr. Benford does not "accurately" portray a black woman. To this, I must ask, how is a black woman "supposed" to act/think/feel? To say that Alicia is unrealistic is to relegate black people to one-dimensional stereotypes.

After reading so many negative reviews about the author's portrayal of a black woman, I immediately ordered the book so I could form my own opinion. And you know what? I have to applaud Mr. Benford for his truthful-yet-risque comments & observations through the voice of Alicia Butterworth. Do I agree with everything Alicia says? No. Of course not. Does every white reader have to agree with every white character in a book? I think not.

Anywho - I gave this book 4 stars because of the concept, the great science and the questions it raises. I especially like the letters, emails and newspaper titles/blurbs peppered throughout the book because they give points of view from outside of the academic world (i.e., are we playing god? etc).

I took off a star because some aspects of the book were just unrealistic or unnecessary. For example - it makes absolutely no sense that Alicia was the only one with access to the Cosm. What university would allow that? Something of this magnitude would have been taken into the custody of the government. Also - why wasn't the Cosm being video recorded? Yes, they were getting reams and reams of numerical data, but why wouldn't they record it for study afterwards or for others to see (especially since no one else was allowed into the lab)? Completely unnecesary were all the pages dedicated to her failed love & social life. Yes, I enjoy character development and background history, but come on...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on June 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading Gregory Benford's COSM. The book was good (as usual) and sort of followed a path similar to that in ARTIFACT in that you have some characters trying to learn about a mysterious object.
An ambitious, young physicist is running an experiment on RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider) using streams of elliptic uranium. At first everything is fine but then the readings seem to slow down. Suddenly there is a massive explosion. Amidst some of the wreckage is a reflective sphere about the size of a bowling ball. The physicist knows this has something to do with the explosion and takes the sphere for observation. Unfortunately she is a little too secretive and charges of theft and impropriety are raised.
The sphere is an enigma. It feels solid but doesn't seem to be made of anything. It has no spectrum. Light can penetrate is slightly. It emits photons as if it were at four-thousand degrees. It seems to have a tidal effect near the surface. What is this object? The physicist teams up with a theorist to try and solve the mystery. But as the mystery becomes clear bit by bit, the political and scientific climates intensify. Finally, a theory is arrived at that seems to take into account all of the facts. The object is a pocket universe with an internal time that is accelerating.
Soon the sphere becomes transparent and the birth of galaxies can be witnessed. As time speeds up in the sphere, now called a Cosm, it becomes more and more important to continue observations. But as the experiment demands closer inspection and more time, the charges against the physicist also demand more time. Although the physicist warns against it, the Brookhaven Lab repeats the experiment and creates a much larger Cosm.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Russell Wild on December 3, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An original, believable novel about a small-particle researcher who discovers a strange, new object during an experiment with a particle accelerator. Hell...that sounds like a story-line only a hard-core geek could get off on....but Cosm is a very entertaining book in a genre which...if it hasn't grabbed me in the first twenty pages....I give it the flick. I read the whole 370-odd pages...(and that hasn't happened since Sagan's "Contact") The dialog is a strong point...witty, in parts down-right funny. There are no long winded rambles on the nobility of researchers delving into the unknown for totally self-less reasons etc...but the laboratory techniques of a working researcher are believable (to this reader at least) and some fascinating ideas about the evolution of our universe are conveyed; information on the working lives of the scientific community, particularly those involved in small-particle research is convincing. Greg Benford has put in the hard yards of research before he put pen to paper here. A darn good read.
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