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Dark as Day (Cold As Ice) Mass Market Paperback – April 14, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Great War is over and humans have spread across the solar system, but mathematician Alex Ligon's complex computer model has just predicted that humanity is inexplicably doomed within a century. At the same time, scientist Milly Wu has identified what appears to be an extraterrestrial signal, and the idiosyncratic genius Bat searches for weapons from the Great War to add to his collection, finding much more than he bargained for. Their stories and others are intertwined in this tightly plotted and thoroughly engaging follow-up to Sheffield's Cold as Ice.

Nebula Award winner Sheffield distinguishes himself as a writer of intelligence, humor, and a pleasing balance of hard science and interesting, engaging characters. Fans will be particularly delighted to renew their acquaintance with Bat, but readers new to Sheffield's work should take the plunge enthusiastically--this novel easily and gracefully stands alone as a story of people, science, and the puzzles that both can produce. --Roz Genessee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of tangled plots, detailed settings and taut adventure will have a great time with Nebula Award-winner Sheffield's follow-up to Cold as Ice (1992). Earth and settlements on our moon and on Mars languish following the Great War, while colonies in the Asteroid Belt and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn are now thriving centers for business and research. Alex Ligon, heir to Ligon Industries, has turned his back on the family business to pursue mathematical modeling of development in the solar system. As Alex frets over his latest model, which shows humanity mysteriously dying out within a century, his family manipulates him into visiting Bat, a brilliant but antisocial hacker who owns the lease on Saturn's moon Pandora, where the Ligons want to place a new processing facility. Eager to acquire a cosmically devastating weapon left over from the Great War of which he's heard rumor, Bat agrees to meet with Alex out of curiosity over the mathematician's population model and a possible connection between it and the weapon. In the meantime, a man who may be the key to Bat's hypothetical superweapon is on his way to Ganymede, and SETI investigator Milly Wu has discovered the first real signal from an alien intelligence. Sheffield ties all the threads together a little too neatly by the end, but there's plenty of yarn left over for another sequel. The world he creates here seems imminently possible, and his characters, especially Milly and Bat, are portrayed with humor as well as the intellectual rigor demanded by a hard SF plot.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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

  • Series: Cold As Ice (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; 1st edition (April 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812580311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812580310
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,697,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Emil L. Posey on November 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The sequel to Cold as Ice, Sheffield brings back one who is becoming one of the great characters of science fiction, Rustum "Bat" Battachariya, along with a whole host of new characters. (He likely drew Bat's Puzzle Network handle, "Megachirops," from "chiropter", a noun meaning any mammal of the order Chiroptera, comprising the bats. Weighing in at 300 kilos or thereabouts, he definitely is "mega.") Two of the new characters, Janeed Jannex, an orphan who has looked after her self-adopted "brother" (also an orphan) for almost her entire life, and Paul Marr, First Mate on the Outer System Line (OSL) Achilles, come together in a manner distinctly reminiscent of Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and First Mate Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) of the original, 1933 version of the movie King Kong.
While not without blemishes (such as putting the action a mere 95 years from now, much too soon for the technology and colonization described in the book to take place -- why, oh why, do sci fi authors insist on doing this?), the book is nonetheless brilliant in scope and effectively weaves together several plots lines and even a couple of subplots. The gist of the story is how events slowly, but inexorably bring together a handful of people (well, maybe a couple of handfuls) from disparate walks of life and different corners of the Solar System to confront a danger from the past that threatens all life in the Solar System, human and otherwise. Along the way Sheffield plays out storylines that held my interest completely, never wanting to put the book down. Heck, anyone who can weave in the use of statistical mechanics as part of analytical prediction theory and keep my interest in the process...well, Sheffield is a master storyteller! He even throws in some "SETI Cryptanalysis 101" for good measure.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Glover on July 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After reading Cold as Ice I was disappointed by this book. Dark as Day is longer and had more characters, which is not necessarily a good thing. Most of the characters are not fully developed or introduced and then dropped along the way. The parallel storylines do converge at the end, but it is incomplete and sloppy.
The glue that holds the book together is the Great Bat. In all my literary tours of the universe I have never encountered a character like him. He prefers to be totally alone to think and study and solve puzzles. He does not wash, he does not dress, he does not travel; he eats and he thinks. Facinating. It is The Bat who finds the clues in the historic documents and puts everything together. Therefore, it is not until you get to the chapters featuring The Bat that the story gets exciting.
Science fiction is supposed to pose some interesting concepts for better living through technology and this book is no exception. There are people with enhanced bodies who stay forever young and healthly, but cannot reproduce. There is the predictive model that indicates all life in the Solar System will cease to exist unless the modifying variable is identified and controlled. There is the alien transmission that no one is able to decode that could be the variable. Each of these would make an exciting story, but they are not fully developed or explored. The story is ultimately about The Bat, his interaction with three computer systems, and his brilliant ability to think through complex problems that others cannot. If you are a fan of The Bat from other Sheffield novels, this is the book for you and I would rate it 4 stars. If The Bat does not do it for you, this is a pleasant read, but nothing to get excited about. No violence, some sexual descriptions, romance, some profanity.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Three decades have passed since the Great War left mankind on the brink of extinction. The devastating twenty-first century is a period of initial greatness throughout the solar system that turned deadly with weapons of mass destruction seemingly in use everywhere especially the biological ones on earth. Now that the century nears its end, humanity seems to have begun recovering especially in the Jupiter-Saturn region, but much more gradually on Earth where the Southern Hemisphere is starting to recuperate.

In 2097 on the moon Ganymede, Alex Ligon, son of a family of trading giants, has rebuilt the "seine" computer network. However, his program predicts humanity will become extinct in less than a hundred years. On the asteroids near Jupiter, SETI researcher Milly Wu believes she has received an alien communication. Rustum "Bat" Battachariya, who collects weapons from the Great War, follows rumors of a doomsday weapon. He consults with Milly and her SETI peers on her findings even as Alex tries to meet with him on a family matter. When Bat learns that earthling Sebastian contains strange nodules inside his head, he wonders what they are and what damage they can cause.

DARK AS DAY, the sequel to COLD AS ICE, is incredibly complex yet brilliantly entertaining as the deep story line traverses the solar system. The plot contains cleverly inspired enigmas and even smarter solutions that work at hyperspeed due to the believable ensemble. Though quite dark, humor eases the tale from going too deep into the abyss. Even with a powerful vivid story line, the authentic feel to characters make Charles Sheffield's cerebral dark futuristic tale a triumph for genre fans.

Harriet Klausner
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