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Grand Central Arena Mass Market Paperback – April 27, 2010

Book 1 of 2 in the Grand Central Arena Series

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439133557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439133552
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Grand Central Arena is my salute and homage to the Golden Age of science fiction, hopefully with enough modern twists to make it interesting and fun even today. While the novel is dedicated to the memory of the true father of Space Opera, E.E. "Doc" Smith, many other inspirations -- both old and new -- have their moments in GCA, ranging from the Six Million Dollar Man to Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep and anime such as Giant Robo.

At the same time it is its own story, one that -- in all honesty -- has only just begun by the time the novel ends. The adventures of Ariane Austin, Marc DuQuesne, and Simon Sandrisson have only gotten humanity to the point of knowing some of the questions to ask -- and some of the dangers they'll face in getting those answers. I hope you enjoy a visit to the Arena; I sure had a lot of fun making it, and hope to bring you on many more trips there!

About the Author

Ryk E. Spoor, while earning his Master’s degree in Pittsburgh, became a playtesting consultant and writer for the Wizards of the Coast, the leading publisher of role-playing games and related novels. He now lives in East Greenbush, NY, working as a technical proposal writer for a high-tech R&D firm, and spending his non-writing time with his wife and sons. Baen published his first novel, Digital Knight, in 2003.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 47 customer reviews
I would reccomend this book to any lover of Science Fiction, or anyone who just wants a good book to read.
Ripper Moore
I'm very happy to find well done character-driven sci fi that has great tech-talk, detailed world building and entertaining plots.
The greater universe perspective working well with the human interactions of the crew fighting for their lives.
Cold North

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 15, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book - even though I thought it got off to a slow start. For me, there was too much explanation of 'the amazing construction' that they were seeing and not enough action. The action came along later and I found it quite entertaining.
But I also had the continual impression that this was the second book in some kind of a series - as there was frequent mention of "Hyperion" - which may be another book?

that is one thing that I would like to see publishers and Amazon change - whenever there is a series, I would like them to put it into position with other books - as 'this is the 2nd book in John Doe's Hyperion series - which is the second series chronologically in the XYZ universe' and so on.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A group of eight explorers from the not too distant future set out to test-fly The Holy Grail, the very first faster-than-light experimental ship. Instead of finding themselves in interstellar space, they find themselves at a massive artificial construct that houses thousands of different intelligent species, and has existed for long enough to house creatures that have evolved to live within it. The Grand Central Arena is vast in ways that defy comprehension: it is apparently large enough to provide for a large population of every intelligent species in the universe, and has a history dating back though occupation by many species that have since become extinct. It has rules of conduct that it rigidly enforces, and a culture that is beautifully diverse yet may be suddenly deadly.

For Ariane Austin, the beautiful rocket racing pilot and default skipper of the expedition; for Dr. Carl Edlund, Ariane's crew chief and design expert; Dr. Marc DuQuesne, survivor of a massive genetic and psychological experiment; for Dr. Simon Sandrisson, inventor of the FTL drive and the rest of this elite crew the challenge becomes far greater than a simple test flight. The stakes in this arena run from full partnership in an interstellar trading community far beyond their greatest dreams, to slavery or destruction of the entire human race. Spoor does an outstanding job of bringing together a disparate party of human adventurers and an eclectic set of aliens with a wide variety of motivations. He also dragged this reader right into the midst of the battle to create a place for humanity amongst the stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lou Wainwright on October 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The cover art makes it pretty clear that you are going to get a 'Space Adventure'! While there are times that that is exactly the sort of low-intensity reading experience that I am looking for, I rarely end up giving such books 5 stars. But man, I simply could not put this book down. The pacing was excellent, the action fun, and the world building deftly swerved between amusingly science-fictiony and oddly thought provoking. I hope there will be a sequel, as this is a rich universe for future exploration.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on April 22, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Grand Central Arena (2010) is a standalone SF novel. It is set about two centuries in the future. Mankind has achieved breakthroughs in fusion power and artificial intelligence. Now they have developed a faster-than-light drive.

Humanity has also had calamities during this period, including the Hyperion experiment. Government has been reorganized to prevent the reoccurrence of such disasters. The new government has strict limits on their surveillance of the population and the capabilities of AIs.

In this novel, Ariane Austin is an obstacle racer. She flies her ships through especially constructed courses in space. She gets high on adrenaline and risk.

Carl Edlund is Ariane's crew chief and control engineer. He has an advanced degree and certification in control and interface design and another in small-craft drives.

Simon Sakuraba Sandrisson is a renown physicist and creator of the FTL drive. He has tested the concept with probes, but the results are anomalous. Now he is gathering a crew for a manned craft.

Steve Franceschetti is a renown structural designer. He is designing the FTL spaceship.

Marc C. DuQuesne is an expert in power systems. He is also a Super from the Hyperion experiment.

Thomas Cussler is a nanotechnology engineer. Tom is a Transcender, although he hasn't completely downloaded his consciousness into the nanotech. To do so is to lose his citizenship, since the law considers such downloads as artificial intelligences.

Gabrielle Wolfe is the physician on Ariane's crew. She has broad experience in emergency medicine.

Laila Canning is a renown biologist. She wishes to monitor the humans on the FTL ship.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jason H. on May 13, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ryk is very much a world builder, having known him through the old rec.arts DND Usenet Newsgroups. I won't go over the worldbuilding so aptly covered in a review previously, but his skill and dedication show through in this book. The homage to early pioneers in the work (E.E.
"Doc" Smith for DuQuense and the Skylark,for example) was very much a pleasure to read. I very much suspect that this universe was based off of his time at the gaming table, with several different factions, marvelous powers and technology to encounter and explore, and a very much unlimited palette to paint with.

I am very much looking forward to more set in this milieu.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Ryk E. Spoor was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and has lived in South Dakota, Georgia, New York, and Pennsylvania. Severe asthma forced him to spend most of his childhood reading and, by the time he was six, writing. While he began reading fantasy such as Oz and science fiction starting with Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, it was his 5th grade teacher that sent him on the course that would make him a science-fiction author, by lending Ryk a battered copy of E.E. "Doc" Smith's Second-Stage Lensmen; this sent him on a reading spree that devoured every science-fiction book he encountered for the next ten years, and instilled in him the conviction that being a science-fiction author was the greatest possible profession anyone could aspire to.

At the turn of the 21st century, Ryk succeeded in achieving this ambition by first launching a clever plan to be published through the diabolical strategem of insulting Eric Flint in public. (Note that neither Eric nor Ryk recommend anyone else attempt his strategy.) Subsequently, Eric brought Ryk's work to the attention of Baen Books, culminating in the publication of Digital Knight, and subsequently two stories with Eric Flint ("Diamonds Are Forever" and Boundary). His next solo novel Grand Central Arena was released in April 2010, followed in June by the sequel to Boundary, titled Threshold. Most recently, his solo epic fantasy, Phoenix Rising, was released in November 2012, and the third book in the Boundary series, Portal, is to be released in May 2013.

Ryk Spoor is also Research and Development Coordinator for International Electronic Machines (IEM), where he has obtained funding for and directed/assisted in research into wireless MEMS sensor systems, power harvesting, smart video security systems, and other related fields; he holds several patents in these areas. He lives in Troy, New York, with his wife Kathleen and their four children Christopher, Gabriel, Victoria, and Domenica.

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