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Destination Void (Pandora Sequence Book 0) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

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Destination: Void Mass Market Paperback – June, 1970

71 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 2nd edition (June 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425018644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425018644
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,558,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frank Herbert (1920-86) was born in Tacoma, Washington and worked as a reporter and later editor of a number of West Coast newspapers before becoming a full-time writer. His first sf story was published in 1952 but he achieved fame more than ten years later with the publication in Analog of Dune World and The Prophet of Dune that were amalgamated in the novel Dune in 1965.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Welsh on November 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having glanced at the reader reviews "Destination: Void" has collected so far, I cannot pass by on the other side. True, it is 30 years since I read it in college. But it is still among the best ten books I have ever read - and I have read many thousands since then. The difficulty is that it is deliberately aimed at a rather limited audience. In a world of commercialism run wild, this is refreshing indeed.
Herbert does not complicate matters wilfully, but on the other hand he makes no concessions whatsoever to his readers' ignorance. He assumes that they are interested both in technology and in the problems of existence, consciousness and religion. There should be plenty of people like that out there, right? Maybe they are all too busy doing useful work to read SF novels!
The upside is that Herbert is a real expert, and even allowing for the 30 years that have elapsed (a huge chasm in terms of technical progress) this book is vastly superior to the schlock that passes for SF today. The Tin Egg has the authentic feel of an experimental interstellar spaceship, whereas starship Enterprise is basically a flying playpen.
As for the science, it isn't too clear just where the facts leave off and the fiction sets in - and that is good, too. Suffice it to say that we still aren't any closer to cracking artificial intelligence yet, let alone artificial consciousness. (See Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" for another approach to the latter). So Herbert's speculations have hardly dated at all.
Personally, I rate "Destination: Void" as Herbert's best book, ahead of Dune, The Dragon in the Sea (Under Pressure), Dune Messiah, and The Dosadi Experiment. A matter of taste, I guess.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Huckins on January 19, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I happened to come upon a yellowed, 75 cent copy of Destination: Void while browsing through a used book store. The title intrigued me and I was familiar with Herbert's writings so I bought it. When I finally got around to reading it-- I was amazed! It followed a storyline that seemed, at first, to be a cliche sci-fi plot of colony-ship-meets-computer-intelligence, but emerged as an incredible tale. It is, I must admit, a bit technical. Jargon and concepts from computer programming and other areas of science were prevalent, but could be understood from context without an extensive scientific background. Aside from all that, the dialogue between the four primary characters developed into a discussion on the nature and origin of intelligence, religion, and life itself. No new age factless speculation here: arguments were carried out on a firm and cogent level palatable to academics of all sorts. I firmly recommend this book to any mature person who wishes to investigate what it is we mean when we say we are 'conscious'.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Vilbs on September 29, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I picked up "Destination: Void" from a seedy little used book store. I'd been a huge Herbert fan for years (one read of "Dune" is all it took for that), but I'd heard very mixed reviews of this particular novel. This is different from a lot of his other works, in that the plot is completely secondary to the philosophical/technical issues he raises. Usually Herbert weaves an intricate plot around his ideas that keeps the pages turning, but that just wasn't the case here. In some areas it becomes a tad tedious to read, but if you pay attention, it's a very insightful novel, even if the technology that's discussed is a tad dated.
One of his favorite themes has always been consciousness, how we define it, what levels can be attained by humans, and is there something more that we're lacking. In "Destination: Void", the characters are forced to attempt the creation of artificial intelligence for their very survival, and all of these questions are called in to play, not to mention the ethical ramifications of their "playing God". Eventually they succeed in creating "Ship", and thereby set the basis for the entertaining, if bizarre Pandora series.
This is not the best book for someone hoping to read a story, but if you love Herbert and have an interest in philosophy, then he will take you on a great ride and share his perspective with you in "Destination: Void".
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Steven P. Kent on December 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Voidship Earthling, 7th serial spaceship on a mission from Unified Moon Base, is on its way to colonize in the Tau Ceti star system. The members on the ship are clones who a programmed to certain orientations and duties. Bickel is the frontier pusher who is programmed to refuse turning back from the mission, Timberlake the life systems engineer, Flattery the chaplain-psychiatrist with orders to destroy the ship if he feels it is necessary, and Prudence, who is directed to prod Bickel.

Central to the operation of the ship is the OMC, or organic mental core, a specialized brain that coordinates ship functions. After the original OMC and two backups fail, the crew has to manually direct many gross ship functions. This is extremely difficult for them and it becomes apparent that they will have to devise another approach to ship operation.

The arrived at alternative is to take the ship's computer as a basis and attempt the creation of an AI using inorganic components available in ship stores. This attempt is the crux of the novel.

It becomes apparent that the difficulties that confront the ship (failure of 3 OMCs and other incidents) were orchestrated by the project team back at UMB. Why? To put the crew into survival mode, forcing them into hyper-alertness in order to create the artificial consciousness. If they don't successfully create the consciousness, they die. Also, having the attempt take place on a ship far away from UMB is a safety measure, as there is some concern that the consciousness created by the crew could be dangerous.
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