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Hellstrom's Hive [Kindle Edition]

Frank Herbert
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $21.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Book Description

America is a police state, and it is about to be threatened by the most hellish enemy in the world: insects.

When the Agency discovered that Dr. Hellstrom's Project 40 was a cover for a secret laboratory, a special team of agents was immediately dispatched to discover its true purpose and its weaknesses--it could not be allowed to continue. What they discovered was a nightmare more horrific and hideous than even their paranoid government minds could devise.

First published in Galaxy magazine in 1973 as "Project 40," Frank Herbert's vivid imagination and brilliant view of nature and ecology have never been more evident than in this classic of science fiction.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A classic of modern science fiction, Herbert's tale of insects threatening to destroy the Orwellian state that was once America is a vivid and imaginative tale sure to please longtime fans and newcomers alike. Scott Brick's reading is straightforward, but bears a weighty tone that helps to create a stern, almost sedated atmosphere. Once the insects invade, however, Brick never ceases to up the ante and terrify his audience. The characters are rich and wonderfully realized; Dr. Hellstrom himself is exceptionally interpreted. Although written in 1973, Herbert's chilling tale still holds firm and Brick is aware of this. While overacting would have been easy and possibly even acceptable, Brick's understated reading makes this a fantastic experience. A Tor paperback. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A speculative intellect with few rivals in modern SF."--The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Product Details

  • File Size: 771 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,692 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Book April 1, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this book we see Frank Herbert from his best side. A conflict between two societies - the Outside, which is our society, and the Hive, a human termite hill of gigantic proportions. Herbert lets you see the inside view from both sides in this fundamental battle over human nature, and he presents it so without prejudice that you can truly wonder which society Frank Herbert himself would have preferred.
The human characterizations are wonderful: Herbert lets his characters live through all 5 senses in such a way that you will feel immersed in the universe of this book. You will smell fear, sexual excitement and hopeful wafts of fresh air. He also hits it right with his characters observational abilities in this book, and makes the reader wish to keep his own observations equally keen.
The plot is rich, and the tension escalates all the way through the book. Who will survive? Who will escape? Who will be caught out? A surprise ending has you feel the book end with a spasm of tension rather than the release you would have expected.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary, disgusting, yet compelling September 26, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love science fiction that proposes "what if..." and takes that "what if" to a logical conclusion. In "Hellstrom's Hive", Herbert asks "what if humans were genetically engineered to be an insect-colony organism?"
This book, written long before genetic manipulation and cloning was a reality, is scarier than ever. The insect-humans in this novel are cunning yet totally without the human reactions we would consider "normal." This makes for some very disgusting scenes in "Hellstrom's Hive" and is possibly why this book has not yet been re-released along with the other Herbert novels that were out of print.
But if you can get past some of the more chilling aspects of "Hellstrom's Hive" you are in for a real thriller. No one can write about smells, sights, tastes, and all aspects of the senses, combined with exciting action better than Frank Herbert. This book will stay with you. If you like a bit of horror in your sci-fi, this is for you.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL idea, great story, disappointing ending May 22, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the second Herbert book I'd ever read - the first being, not surprising, Dune. I was already in love with Herbert's imagination and development as he crafts a story. When I heard about this book - a group of humans with a Hive-insect mentality, I HAD to read it, the mere idea just seemed so cool. As with Dune's "Writings of Princess Irulan", parts of the book are divided by excerpts from characters journals, notes, reports, or what have you. I always thought that was a cool way of doing it. Herbert quite convincingly creates his Hive world, with it's superior technology, emotional stoicism, and hard insect drive for survival, which is neither cruel, nor kind, just based on what it takes to survive. The book is definitely a good read, I love the introduction of "stun wands", although I had read in a previous review of a "surprise twist ending" and man, was I looking forward to it. However, I didn't find the ending to be particularly surprising or even very good really. The whole book was enjoyable, but the ending was a bit of a predictable letdown, I thought.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disturbing, yet entertaining April 3, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The concept of humans living as insects is disturbing in and of itself. The hive seeks to eradicate individuality, as they see it as a form of weakness within the whole. Sex orgies, humans modified to serve a specific purpose, the "stumps" (a horrifying concept for any woman)--and the vats, where all go upon death to feed the future generations of the hive.

The book serves two purposes. First, it is an explanation of what such a society as the hive would look like. Humans living as insects have none of the inhibitions that normal humans have. Such inhibitions are contrary to the functioning of such a society. The result of such a group where all minds are directed toward specific purposes has led to some rather startling new technologies that represent a threat to the world.

Second, it is a parallel of the cold war. The hive, with their lack of individuality and the belief that the whole is far more important than any individual, represents communism. The "good guys" are investigating the loss of their agents within the area, upon which they learn of the hive. I place good guys in quotations as the characters in the story belong to a secret ageny that manipulates the USA from behind the scenes (obviously, Herbert had a low opinion of the US as well). Project 40 clearly symbolizes the concept of mutual assured destruction that was central to the cold war.

The book doesn't have much of an ending. Events seemingly come to a halt for no reason with a number of plot points left unresolved. This is acceptable given the nature of the novel. The point of the book is the exploration of this hive society, which is done with great detail. Worth the read if you are into reading about strange (and disturbing) worlds.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hellstrom's Hive is ingenious, and a precursor to Dune ! November 22, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Incredible. How imaginative for Frank Herbert to take a popular documentary movie of the late 60's about insects, the famous "Hellstrom's Chronicles", and turn it into a science fiction novel ! In this story, the movie-making lab of Dr. Hellstrom is just a cover for a more sinister plot to overtake the Earth with humans bred with a hive mentality... human insects ! For Dune fans, the connection will be immediate: Dune's Bene Jesserett sisterhood could well have been forming in Frank's mind when he wrote Hellstrom's Hive. The engineering of the human species is the basis for this novel and Dune (not to mention other Herbert novels). I couldn't help but feel that Hellstrom's Hive was the embryonic stages of Dune coming to life. For a true Herbert fan, this book is a blessing. Oh, the ending is not your typical fairy-tale ending either ! Quite scarey actually. Good luck finding a copy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
I've read it before. Just as gripping the second time. Herbert is a master of Sci Fi and this speculative story about hive minds applied to human beings is no exception.
Published 15 months ago by Kimberly Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read from a great author
A bit dated now but an interesting (if somewhat unlikely) premise that was well developed and very well written. Well paced, well developed characters, good build-up in the action.
Published 15 months ago by John Willoughby
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Herbert
A lot of Herbert's themes you see in Dune are touched on in Hellstrom's Hive. Although a little dated, still a good read
Published 22 months ago by RB
5.0 out of 5 stars Spy thriller with Syfy twist
I have always liked the `Dune' series of books, and during periods between publications looked out for other lesser known books by Frank Herbert. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Susman
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting
There really isn't much positive I can say about this. I was very interested because I enjoy Frank Herbert's ecological emphasis, and I'm a biologist by training. Read more
Published on November 3, 2012 by JMX
2.0 out of 5 stars Environmental bees
I read this for second time, and the first time I got it at a used book store. It was actually different. I remember how the "old" book started, and how it ended. Read more
Published on October 21, 2012 by bno
5.0 out of 5 stars Despite 40 years, still surprisingly relevant and provocative
This first thing to know, if you read this book, is that it is helpful--though not necessary--to first watch the film The Hellstrom Chronicle. Read more
Published on May 11, 2012 by J.C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not mess the Human-hive!
Frank Herbert (1920-1986) wrote his masterpiece "Dune" (1965), generating a recognizable turning point in sci-fi literature. Read more
Published on August 21, 2010 by Maximiliano F Yofre
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
This would be one of my more favorite of Frank Herbert's oneshot novels, though I do wish that he could have expanded a bit more on Hive-life. Read more
Published on December 18, 2009 by M
5.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Muddle With the Human-hive!
Frank Herbert (1920-1986) wrote his masterpiece "Dune" (1965), generating a recognizable turning point in sci-fi literature. Read more
Published on December 3, 2009 by Maximiliano F Yofre
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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.

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