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Further: Beyond the Threshold [Kindle Edition]

Chris Roberson
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
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  • Length: 352 pages
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Book Description

Humankind is spread across three thousand light years in a myriad of worlds and habitats known as the Human Entelechy. Linked by a network of wormholes with Earth at its center, it is the world Captain RJ Stone awakens to after a twelve-thousand-year cryogenic suspension.

Stone soon finds himself commanding the maiden voyage of the first spacecraft to break the light speed barrier: the FTL Further. In search of extraterrestrial intelligence, the landing party explores a distant pulsar only to be taken prisoner by the bloodthirsty Iron Mass, a religious sect exiled from the Entelechy millennia before. Now Stone and his crew must escape while they try to solve the riddle of the planet’s network of stone towers that may be proof of the intelligence they’ve come to find.

The first in critically acclaimed author Chris Roberson’s scintillating new series, Further: Beyond the Threshold is a fascinating ride to the farthest reaches of the imagination.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Further is an entertaining book, one that is legitimately interested in the challenges of finding oneself in an advanced civilization, in particular exploring questions of diversity and consciousness, but that doesn’t take itself too seriously. -Wired.com's GeekDad blog

From Booklist

SF and graphic-novel writer Roberson spins an entertaining tale of a cryogenically frozen spaceship captain who wakes up 12,000 years in the future. RJ Stone rises to a startling new society, the multiworld Human Entelechy, and a startling new concept of humanity (the definition of human having been expanded to include “uplifted” animal species and artificial sentient beings). Stone, still trying to get his bearings in this new world, is offered a tantalizing job: to captain the first faster-than-light spaceship. Naturally, it turns out to be a highly risky proposition. Tonally, the novel is a bit uneven: sometimes it sounds like a space opera (suggesting such authors as Alastair Reynolds and Neal Asher), and at other times like a light comedy. On the other hand, the story is captivating, full of imaginative technologies (interlinks, thresholds, and some very nifty personal weaponry) and inventive characters: dog-people, Anachronists (who re-create the past and get it almost entirely wrong), and a sort of holographic recreation of Stone’s long-dead shipmate. It’s impossible not to like the book, and readers will eagerly await the sequel the author seems to promise with the book’s final words.
 — David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 809 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: 47North (May 22, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ML3BW6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,709 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
(191)
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I gave this book four stars because it is clearly and carefully written, with a good deal of humor. It also has a fascinating far future setting -- 12,000 years in the future -- that is appropriately disorienting to the hero, Jason Ramachandra Stone, a half-Indian, half-African-American astronaut displaced in time by a failure in his sleeper ship's mechanism that left him and his crew off-course and asleep for centuries.

The author takes many science fiction cliches -- astronaut awakening from long sleep centuries away from his own era, gateways to other planets allowing instantaneous travel, humans who look like animals, uploads of peoples' brains so that they can live forever, eternal youth due to nanotechnology -- and gives them fresh life.

The book has some wonderful set pieces where history buffs from the future approach Captain Stone and show hilarious misunderstandings of his era.

The reason I did not give the book five stars were some glaring improbabilities. I couldn't imagine why this far future culture would put Captain Stone in charge of its most futuristic star ship, given how primitive his science knowledge must have been on arrival.

The author's assumption that all of the intelligent people in the far future will be atheists is very unlikely. The bad guys in the novel are devoutly religious and destructive fundamentalists. This is another science fiction cliche, but the author did not give it convincing new life. The bad guys are very stereotyped in their appearance and beliefs -- cartoonish.

Finally, I had a problem with the multi-worlds government, supposed to be a supremely wise group.
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73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, but also a bit of a riddle. April 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm torn on how to review this book. I think it is wildly imaginative. For instance, the premise is great--a deep space explorer is woken from cryogenic suspension later than he expected. Sure, that notion has been used before in everything from Rip Van Winkle to Buck Rogers to Aliens. But what sets this book apart is the amount of time involved. Not tens or even hundreds of years, but thousands.

The irony here is that the protagonist (Captain RJ Stone) went out looking for alien life, but by the time he awakes, humans are the aliens. And I don't exaggerate when I say that. In the future this book describes (one 12,000 years hence) "human" is a nebulous term. There are human "beings" in mechanical bodies and in lab-grown biological (but not necessarily human in appearance) bodies. There are distributed intelligences (consciousness shared over more than one body), animals that have been "uplifted" to sentience, humans reconstructed from former memories...it has the makings of the cantina scene in Star Wars, except all the creatures can trace their origin to Earth. But even Earth has radically changed too.

Because the future is so very different from our own, "Further" spends many pages in description and exposition. Much of that is probably necessary, given the foreignness of the surroundings. However, it means that about two-thirds of the book is spent touring around and talking to creatures, and discovering still more human-based creatures. To the book's credit, I never felt like it was dragging. The new things were interesting enough to hold my attention. But if you're looking for Star Wars style action, you won't find it here until the end. And then it comes in a hurry.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Series Debut May 13, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been a fan of Chris Roberson's work for a few years now. He may, though, be a bit of an acquired taste. He doesn't deal with hard science, like classic Larry Niven. He doesn't delve into esoteric ideas like Vernor Vinge. He doesn't unleash sprawling space operas on the scale of Peter Hamilton. And he doesn't dish out complicated military SF like David Weber. But he takes elements from all of these, and what he does, he makes look easy.

I regard him primarily as a stylist. He excels at sketching in new universes and settings in a few quick, broad strokes without bogging down into smothering detail, and he can introduce large concepts without undue flourishes and hoopla. His prose is clean and straightforward and propulsive, moving along smoothly to the major action set-pieces and resetting in between the dramatic high points with a few reflective character moments. I would, though, have liked in this present volume to have had a bit more development of the protagonist, your standard Man Out of Time, who reacts to the revelation that hundreds of years have passed him by and made him obsolete with the equivalent of an unruffled "Bummer, man...but what can you do?" I might have preferred a *bit* more angst than that.

I'm oddly reminded of Peter David's initial Star Trek: New Frontier books here. As with those, much of the focus of this novel is on introducing the ship, an unfamiliar and unwanted captain, and its eccentric crew. Again, a bit more time spent with the supporting cast would've been nice, but your average Roberson novel gets skittish when the page count nears 300. This is, in any case, a real solid introduction to what hopefully will become an ongoing series, and I look forward to future installments and seeing how the characters will be fleshed out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars passable plot, weak villains
Biggest problem was the author's weak grasp of basic science. Redshift is for things receding from you; a ship accelerating towards a star will see it blue shifted, not redshifted.
Published 27 days ago by James T. Yezek
3.0 out of 5 stars "Further" is the name of a new FTL ship.
The leader of a space exploration team is awakened several thousand years in the future. The human expansion in to he galaxy is now slowing down, and human space is so vast and so... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ken Brody
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, surprisingly hard s-f
Well done science fiction. Deep future setting without slipping much into handwavium and technobabble - thanks to Project Rho influence (telling easter egg included). Read more
Published 1 month ago by mon
2.0 out of 5 stars Another B- airport book.
Mildly entertaining. Way too much reliance on stock characters and situations. Not too much original here. A good airport book.
Published 2 months ago by One Real Picky Consumer
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey of 12,000 years begins with a single voice.
Highly creative and cleverly imaginative leap into far flung worlds and ideologies. This book was stunningly read by the hugely talented Jeff Crawford, who voiced these disparate... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sha W. Buikema
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book is written very well. It is at times a little hard to understand but that might be due to my age. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Justme
5.0 out of 5 stars Further: Part Two?
Great opening story to a new universe. A lot of neat ideas. Would love to read part two but given this book is a few years old already I guess I shouldn't hold my breath. Shame.
Published 3 months ago by RKramer
4.0 out of 5 stars fun
A fun and interesting read. I wish Chris would write a follow up novel. Or maybe he already has.thanks more?
Published 4 months ago by hap haselden
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Waiting for the next in a series
Published 4 months ago by Annette Zinke
5.0 out of 5 stars I really liked this book.
Humanity ending up as an entelechy isn't such a bad way to go. The premise was very amusing. The book had just the right blend of technology and drama.
Published 6 months ago by Carl gilmore
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More About the Author

New York Times Bestselling author Chris Roberson is best known for his Eisner nominated ongoing comic book series iZombie, co-created with artist Mike Allred, and multiple Cinderella mini-series set in the world of Bill Willingham's Fables. He has written more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories, as well as many other comic projects including Superman, Stan Lee's Starborn, Elric: The Balance Lost, Memorial, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust to Dust. He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award four times; twice a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer; and has won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History in both the Short Form and Novel categories. Chris lives with his wife and daughter in Portland, Oregon.

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Sequel?
Still waiting for part two as well... I'm not sure what happened because it sure ended like he was planning to add more books to this universe.
Feb 1, 2015 by RKramer |  See all 2 posts
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