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Dragon's Egg (Del Rey Impact) Paperback – February 29, 2000

96 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Cheela Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Forward's book is a knockout. In science fiction there is only a handful of books that stretch the mind--and this is one of them!"

"Bob Forward writes in the tradition of Hal Clement's Mission Gravity and carries it a giant step (how else?) forward."

"Dragon's Egg is superb. I couldn't have written it; it required too much real physics."

"This is one for the real science-fiction fan."

"Robert L. Forward tells a good story and asks a profound question. If we run into a race of creatures who live a hundred years while we live an hour, what can they say to us or we to them?"
   Author of Disturbing the Universe

"Forward has impeccable scientific credentials, and . . . big, original, speculative ideas."
--The Washington Post

From the Publisher

I joined Random House in 1995 as General Manager for the House of Collectibles imprint. The offices for House of Collectibles are right next door to Del Rey and, since I have a passion for science fiction, I moseyed over and asked Veronica Chapman, a Del Rey editor, for a book recommendation. She asked if I was looking for a fantasy book or a hard science fiction book. I indicated the later and without hesitation she recommended Dragon's Egg.

Wow! What a truly great book! It is so brimming with new ideas and new perspectives that it literally expands your mind. It opens your eyes to new possibilities. Every few pages draw another exclaimation of "Wow!"

I wish I could say, "I liked the book so much, I bought the company." But next best thing did happen: I became General Manager of Del Rey. (Please note that your results from reading this book may vary.) Thank you, Veronica, for this fantastic recommendation which I whole-heartedly pass along to one and all.
                                                --Tim Kochuba, General Manager --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Del Rey Impact
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1 Reprint edition (February 29, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034543529X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345435293
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Scott on August 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
As others have noted, the alien cheela, despite being only 0.5 mm tall, have far more depth than the human characters in this novel. This story is about the cheela, and the humans serve mainly as a plot device. Further, the cheela are a *very* different from us, in almost every way -- size, speed, environment, and culture. This will doubtless put many readers off, as there is little to relate to our frame of reference. If you prefer your aliens to be humans with bumpy noses, look elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, the idea of aliens that really *are* alien appeals to you, this is a great read. Reading about the development of civilization in such an alien context is fascinating. There are parts where the story of the cheela becomes very compelling. Swift-Killer's Climb is nothing short of heroic (yes, something unexciting can still be heroic). The brief "Visit" between humans and Cheela is a blast.

I don't give it five stars, because the human characters *are* flat. It may well be impossible to place both truly alien beings and interesting humans in the same story (as opposed to two different, co-located stories). A separate human story would still be something, though, and it appears the author either did not even try to develop one, or failed completely. The humans are a plot device -- they give the author a reason to tell the story of the cheela, nothing more. Likewise, the human discovery of the "Egg" and the expedition reads as very contrived. Every work of fiction is contrived, of course, but good fiction keeps the reader from noticing. These drawbacks mar what would otherwise be a true masterpiece of science fiction.

While it is radical fiction, this book is based on a strong foundation in reality -- both science fact and scientific speculation.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Burgoine on July 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Robert L. Forward has written an absolutely wonderful account of an alien life that simply has not been done as well as this in any other SF book I've read.
To set the tone, picture a neutron star. This is simply one of the most hostile astronomical bodies out there, something that man can orbit only with the most sophisticated equipment and technology, but from which man could learn a lot about the universe. So, when one such star is within reach of a human spacecraft, we go.
And find life on the surface of the star.
In dealing with the development of the alien race, the Cheela, Forward has crafted a magnificent piece of SF. It's unfortunate that the sophistication that he shows in regards to these aliens doesn't quite shine through with the human characters in the story. Often the humans come off flat and a little less then interesting, but this is completely overshadowed by the Cheela. Playing with notions of relative time, alien forms of perception, and with a SF ending that puts most other "alient contact" books to shame, "Dragon's Egg" is required reading for any fan of SF.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By From the Oregon Country on December 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this back in the 80's, after reading a recommendation in a book by Arthur C. Clarke. Altho Forward was not the only scientist to speculate on the possibliity of exotic life on a neutron star (Steven Baxter does a better job of it in his excellent novel, FLUX ), and altho the character development and writing style are at times severely lacking in Dragon's Egg, the author does tell a story worth reading. The technological details will fascinate some, and bore others, but the concept of life existing under such conditions will hold your attention, and the characters do sort of grow on you after awhile. The accelerated time frame of the Cheela is suspect, but it does add an interesting twist to the tale, particularly when their technology starts to bypass that of their human visitors.
This is not in the running for the greatest science-fiction novel ever written. And of this author's works, I personally liked Flight of the Dragonfly better. (Later expanded into Rocheworld, which I haven't read.) Dragon's Egg is , however, quite an interesting yarn taking place in one of the unlikeliest of locales. Read it and enjoy, as well as the sequel, Starquake.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jill porter on December 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Forward presents amazingly full-blown alternate realities to his readers gift-wrapped as sci-fi novels. Included for your $$ value is the research scientist's world-renowned expertise in the field of gravitational astronomy and radiation. My entire family agrees that Dragon's Egg and its sequel Starquake provide moments of profound enlightenment, immaculately constructed science, and the thrilling possibility of communication between vastly different species. I cannot recommend it too highly. [I wish others would abide by the review rules. Some sneer at the honest reviews of others, assuming a pseudo-intellectual, 'I know better than thou' stance. What purpose is served by printing the negativity of people who are incapable of producing a coherent review, let alone an entire novel that thrills millions?]
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rolf B Green on October 26, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most Si-Fi books look to life and situations that will, or could, arise in the future but this is so much more. Occasionally Si-Fi writers have branched out into areas outside the norms of Si-Fi, Asimov's Psychohistory to mention one. In Dragon's Egg Forward does this with great simplicity and yet keeps thrilling us with true flights into the imagination.
Dragon's Egg goes into the full mental and sociological development of a species from the development of mathematics, to GOD, and beyond. The story is not expected to become a reality but, in a way, has already happened.
I have lent my copy to so many people that it has about fallen apart, but until I get a new copy it will remain my most treasured book.
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