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Neptune Crossing (The Chaos Chronicles, Vol 1) Hardcover – April, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this promising series kickoff about an astronaut exploring the surface of Neptune's moon, Triton, Carver ( Dragons in the Stars ) masterfully captures the joy of exploration, although the story itself follows a fairly standard save-the-world plot. Pilot John Bandicut has been cut off from his internal link to the "datanet" by faulty technology, leaving him subject to maddening "silence-fugues." His need for contact makes him a perfect candidate for a symbiotic relationship with the alien quarx, who are trying to save humanity from a mysterious disaster threatening Earth. The quarx, creations whose understanding of Terran culture comes mostly from monitoring old TV and radio programs, have a certain gee-whiz quality, although their interactions with the datanet are intriguing. A rather adolescent love story combines amusingly with an unlikely case of xenophobia, and a fiery conclusion sets Bandicut up for further adventures in yet another alien world, where Carver may find greater room to employ his gift for the fine rendering of difficult scientific concepts.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Attached to a research and mining project on Triton, John Bandicut becomes the reluctant "host" of an alien mind who needs him as a vehicle to save Earth from a cosmic catastrophe. The author of Dragons in the Stars (Tor Bks., 1992) and The Infinity Link (Bluejay Bks., 1984) excels at exuberant storytelling as he explores the very real day-to-day problems of playing host to an internal guest. Hard-science aficionados will delight in the story's focus on chaos theory; general sf fans will appreciate the adventure and mood. A good purchase for most libraries.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Chaos Chronicles, Vol 1 (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312856407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312856403
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kindle readers: Would you like a glimpse behind the scenes of my writing of The Chaos Chronicles? The ebook versions of Neptune Crossing, Strange Attractors, and The Infinite Sea now include all-new Afterwords--my reflections on the evolution of the series and my experience in writing each book. I've kept the prices low on these editions to encourage you to give them a try if you're new to my work. I hope you enjoy them!

Here's a little about me:

A Midwesterner by birth and upbringing (I grew up in Huron, Ohio), I've lived in New England ever since attending college at Brown University, in Rhode Island. Now I live outside Boston with my wife and daughters, and also with a border collie mix named Captain Jack and a cat named Moonlight.

I've loved science fiction since I first began to read, and from the time I began writing, I always knew my first love was going to be SF. I'm not sure where you'd place me as a writer: I love astronomy and cosmology and hard SF concepts, and yet the characters are the most important thing to me in any story, whether it's a story I'm reading or a story I'm writing. It's the people, and the sense of wonder, that have always made science fiction--and science!--so awe-inspiring to me. Basically, I have always tried to write stories that I would want to read myself.

Some years ago, I developed and hosted on the air an educational TV series fo r middle-school classrooms, called Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy--teaching kids the basics of how to turn ideas into stories. That later turned into a computer-based course called, oddly enough, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. In 2005, I decided it was about time to put the information online as a public service, available for free to any aspiring writer. It's online now, and you can use it anytime you like, just by going to

I also invite you to stop by and read my regular blog, at, or my web site at

Thanks for visiting! And please take a look at the video trailer for my novel Sunborn. If you'd like to view it in full-screen for full effect, you can do that at

--Jeffrey A. Carver

Customer Reviews

It was very well written and kept my interest.
Stanley R. Dennett
The story line did have alot of potential I just think the main characters interpersonal relationships distracted from the story rather than added to it.
The story ends partway through, but good enough to want to read on.
Fred T. Krogh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By IHiJump on September 2, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second Jeffrey Carver book I've read. The first was Infinity Link with wich I wasn't too impressed... but thought it had potential.
I came across Carver's collection in our local library and picked up Neptune Crossing with the hopes I might have a good series to read. I wasn't disappointed.
The fact is, different people expect different things from a sci fi book. To me, Neptune Crossing never ceased to be interesting. There weren't side stories that bored you... it was "in your face" throughout and I found myself glued to the book. Carver developed a believeable character in John Bandicut and placed him in a position we'd all like to be in... he had to save humanity.
This book is a great read. It gives you a glimpse into our potential future with the computer. I highly recommend it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tghu Verd on April 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like "Neptune Crossing" but John Bandicut, the main character, is such a listless sad sack that it was all too hard. And the alien quarx that takes up lodging in his mind is not much better. Possibly, if we had any detail of the viewpoints from other characters to pull the focus away from Bandicut and his inexplicable "silence fugue" this might have been all right, but really, "Neptune Crossing" is an unrelenting dirge as Bandicut shows no real nous for heroics, or God save us, even common sense.

The basis for the plot is fine - alien guardian seeks daring human to selflessly save planet Earth from calamity. But Carver's execution is frustrating, and even more so because there is a good story here trying to get out.

Nothing much happens for way too long, and when it does happen you just want to jump into the novel and give Bandicut a good shove to make him actually do something...anything...of his own volition. Instead, Bandicut just gets angry and then depressed and then lurches into lacklustre action at the urging of the quarx (and sometimes that is literally because the quarx takes him over to get things done). And the quarx, a representative of a billion year old race that saves civilisations from disaster, is strangely unable to explain much of anything so Carver doesn't even give us some interesting science to spice things up. Instead, we get platitudes about a chaos theory too complicated for Bandicut to understand but trust us because we'll save the day...even though we're too inept to intervene before it's so late in the day there is a good chance we'll fail. (And the less said about Carver's "strong intuition" of how a mine is run the better.)

Basically, the science is lame, the main two characters limp and the action lethargic.
Read more ›
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49 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Goldwave on December 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
first I want to say that this may seem harsh but I am frustrated at wasting my leisure time on poorly written books....

This is tedious and seemed to copy multiple ideas I recall from numerous other sci fi novels that I have read over the years. Indeed I began to wonder whether I had already read this in the past because is seemed so familiar. But checking the date I realized that was not so. In any event it is very cliched and predictable.

My main frustration follows. I decided to plow through to the end for two reasons. First is because I have dumped many books like this partway through lately for the same reasons and heck I just wanted to find a decent read and hoped if I kept going it might get better. It did not. Second is a trend I really hate which is the badly handled cliff hanger ending. Writers note that not all of you equate with JRR Tolkein and your forced efforts to milk out a wimpy story across multiple tomes is misguided.

I feel that I wasted time on this and therefore want to alert others who might view things from the same perspective. I would say that if you are still bored about a third of the way through then you can safely just set it aside. Otherwise you may enjoy it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By netkat on July 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I disagree with many of the reviews here. I think this is a great book, because Carver is a good storyteller. The three books in this series (soon to be a fourth) are interesting due to the characters and the universe they inhabit. It reminds me of the Roche World Series (Robert Forward), somewhat Heinleinesqe, and yet it is all his own. I think you will find books two and three in the series are a bit better, but this first novel will get you interested!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book combines hard sci-fi with a bit of humor to create an interesting story. Keeps you interested and wanting for more, which is provided in the sequels. Maybe alien "inhabitation" of human minds isn't so bad after all...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been reading this in fits and starts, now I'm a little more than halfway through and I can't bring myself to continue. The action is just too sloooow. The delete button is calling.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By AntiochAndy on July 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As others have said, "Neptune Crossing" seemingly has everything it needs to be a compelling scifi read. An "electrifying scenario" that finds a comet speeding on a collision course with Earth, an alien artifact with accompanying alien, romance, and "a winning combination in Bandicut and the...quarx". Why, then, did I find this book less than compelling? First, I'm not crazy about incorporeal beings that inhabit people's minds. They're OK in fantasies or ghost stories, but this is supposed to be "hard" scifi and there isn't any hard evidence anywhere for the existence of incorporeal beings. Secondly, as somebody else has pointed out, there is a lot here (and not just alien technology) that goes completely unexplained. Finally, though, and most importantly, the story meandered. There just wasn't enough action to keep me turning the page to see what would happen next. Between the first 30 pages and the last 50, not much happens that seems to be of major consequence to the! plot. Even the development of the relationship between John and Julie seems to be a side issue, significant only because it adds to Bandicut's reluctance to do what he obviously must. The mine accident, for example, seems largely irrelevant. Ultimately, this was a slow read. Reading often right before going to bed, I more than once found that I had fallen asleep after reading only a page or two.

Oddly, the action finally did pick up near the end, and the end left things hanging in an interesting place. It left me wanting to know more about the new artifact and where things go from there, as well as whether John will ever get back to Julie. In short, it left me wanting to read the next installment in the series (this book is the first). On its own, this book is, IMHO, just average. You may want to give it a try, however, on the possibility that subsequent books in the series will be better. Stay tuned.
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