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Eternal Light Hardcover – September 24, 1993

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ambitious but disappointing, this new work by the author of Four Hundred Billion Stars is set centuries in the future after humans have won a war with a race of vicious xenophobic aliens at a distant stellar outpost. Towards the end of these campaigns, Dr. Dorothy Yoshida was implanted by a dying enemy matriarch with immense but difficult-to-tap knowledge of this ancient alien culture. After a five-year "debriefing" by the Navy, Yoshida finds tenuous freedom under the wing of the immensely wealthy, near-immortal Talbeck Barlstilkin, who plans to use her in an elaborate revenge scheme involving a renegade star on a collision course with our solar system. Along with veteran combat pilot Suzy Falcon and a schizoid cyborg mechanic and artist called Robot, Yoshida and Barlstilkin eventually become the crucial pawns in the endgame of a multimillion-year contest between eons-old civilizations. McAuley works best on a grandiose scale, creating both awe-inspiring starscapes and grand cosmological theories with impeccable scientific detail. However, much of the book is derivative, a farrago of SF elements done better elsewhere. This dense, difficult work has some great ideas, but the background is more interesting than the plodding plot.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As a hypervelocity star approaches the solar system, research scientist Dorthy Yoshida and single-ship pilot Suzy Faldon become pawns in a race to the galactic core to uncover the star's origins and locate the remnants of an alien enemy. Hard science and heady mysticism combine in a story that relates nothing less than the "secret history of the universe." The presence of strong protagonists and an intriguing vision of the far future recommend this title for most sf collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (September 24, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688127576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688127572
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,585,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul McAuley's first novel won the Philip K. Dick Award, and he has gone on to win almost all of the major awards in the field. For many years a research biologist, he now writes full-time. McAuley's novel The Quiet War made several "best of the year" lists, including SF Site's Reader's Choice Top 10 SF and Fantasy Books of 2009. He lives in London. Visit him online at unlikelyworlds.blogspot.com .

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Criminally out of print, this was the book that catapulted McAuley into the science fiction spotlight, I believe this was preceded by two books (making this the third of a trilogy) that were entertaining but mediocre genre SF and indeed there are several references to events that I can only assume happened in previous books but you really don't notice. Just start reading and dive in. Attempting to describe the plot is probably pointless because there are so many threads and details, needless to say it deals with the center of the galaxy and god-like intelligences and the people who want to use that sort of stuff for their own benefits. And science. Lots of it. These people all do weird things that seem to defy science and McAuley has no problem making it all seem probable. Heck his science seems to make sense so I guess he knows what he's talking about. Go figure. Basically you just let yourself get carried along, the characters are fairly memorable (if a tad flat at points) and frankly he drags out the ending just a little bit, the book should have ended about fifty pages before it actually does but he needs to wrap it up somehow I guess. Alas, it's close to the peaks already set by hypercomplicated science freaks Dan Simmons (read Hyperion! Now!) and Peter Hamilton but their books hang together a little better and don't depend as much on the visceral rush of reading the book. Nevertheless this was a major leap for McAuley and one of the best SF books of the decade easily. You won't be sorry for tracking this one down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
compared to Iain M Banks this is quite light on. Rambles on a bit with a fluffy ending.. not something I would read again.
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Format: Paperback
Okay, so, I used to be kinda leery of the way the recommendation software seems like it's trying hard to be your friend...I was like, hey, I'll find my own way around, thanks. But then, in a moment of weakness, I followed the link to Paul McAuley's "Eternal Light" when it was recommended to me after I had looked up some other space-opera-like titles. And even though it's currently out of print (which i agree is a shame), i lucked up on a used copy, and now i have to say, the recommendation software seems to know me pretty well by now, 'cause i really liked this book a lot, even though i had never heard of McAuley before. What I liked so much about "Eternal Light" were the strong characterizations, the ins-and-outs of the intriguing plot, and the extra-groovy settings, especially the colorful city of Urbis on Titan. The story did throw me just a little toward the end, when it seemed to roll right on past the climax into a long decline...but, that's not really a complaint, 'cause it was a fun ride the whole way, and i didn't mind spending extra time with the protagonists. Oh, and the aliens were interesting, the mind-blowing hyper-whatsits totally mind-blowing in just the right way, and the echoes of space operas past felt nice...all in all, a fine read for a long spell of midwinter cabin fever. So I guess what I'm saying is, hey Mr. or Ms. Book Publisher, you all oughta print up a few more of this title, to let other folks in on the magic of Mr. McAuley's wild imagination.
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Format: Paperback
Dorothy Yoshida is back, and again her telepathic abilities are part of someone's plots and plans. The war in the far flung reaches of space is won, but a bizarre and maybe crazy really old guy has a really large scale crazy idea of his own that he wants to carry out.

Dorothy, along with a couple of others that he has along for the ride, must work out what to do about that, the alien knowledge she has, and a few other star-spanning issues.
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