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Phases of Gravity Hardcover – January 31, 2012

48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Simmons, a full-time public school teacher until 1987, is one of the few writers who consistently work across genres, and perhaps the only one to have won major awards in all of them. He has produced science fiction, horror, fantasy, and mainstream fiction, and is now launching stunning works in the thriller category. His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award; his first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award. His other novels and short fiction have been honored with numerous accoladres, including nine Locus Awards, four Bram Stoker Awards, the French Prix Cosmos 2000, the British SF Association Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Award. In 1995, Wabash College presented Simmons with an honorary doctorate in humane letters for his work in fiction and education. He lives in Colorado along the Front Range of the Rockies. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean; Deluxe edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596064161
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596064164
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,723,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.
Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and 14 years in Colorado.

His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.
Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."
Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker -- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike -- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.
Dan is one of the few novelists whose work spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and mainstream literary fiction . His books are published in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.
Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.
In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions in education and writing.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on August 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had never heard of this Dan Simmons book until the moment when I first saw it in some comic book store . . . and that immediately intruiged me. Generally with a successful author you hear about all of their books, whether it's the glorious peaks of their best work or the terrible quality that is the worst they have to offer. Curious I picked it up and put it on a shelf to read until just the other day, and now I finally finished. And I'm definitely impressed. This has to be one of the Simmons' least known and most underrated works, all of his fans who read his Hyperion series or even the fans who like his horror work should come and get this, because it falls nicely in the middle. Neither a science fiction nor a horror novel, this time he chooses to write about the simplest and most complex of topics: people. The novel concerns the spiritual (in a sense) quest of a former astronaut who once walked on the moon and his attempts to come to terms with his life and all that has transpired. It raises the interesting question, once you've sacrificed nearly everything so you can do what only a handful of men have done, isn't everything downhill after that. And if you leave your life in ruins because of those sacrifices, well you can't stay in space forever and you've eventually got to come down and face the music. The more is vastly more complicated than that and even though it doesn't have snarling vampires or weird spiky creatures (not that I don't like those) guarenteed you won't miss them one bit. Simmons crafts his main character with all the depth of a real person and eventually he becomes someone you want to know and someone you do get to know.Read more ›
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By papaphilly on January 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Dan Simmons has done something very rare in writing today. He makes you think. He has written a book about taking stock of ones life. His protangonist has been to the moon, which would make him the envy of many people. Yet, his life is not working. So the story weaves its magic on the reader. As the story proceeds, some of lifes questions are answered for the hero, but not all of them. There is a sense of disquiet that pervades the story. Better yet, melancholy best describes this work. If you going through your own personal search for the meaning of life or want a sense of what it could be like, then I highly recommend this novel. There are no aliens or monsters with this read, but it stands along with the best of what he has written. It is truly an amazing piece.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those rare books that I try to read again every few years. I was searching for another book on Amazon by another author and a book by Simmons was suggested. This got me thinking about Phases, one of the few books I have ever read that inspired serious reflection without inducing an even more serious downer. I don't remember a great deal about the plot or the protagonist, Baedecker, but I do recall reading the last line and closing the book with a clean satisfaction.
This is not sf, despite its designation as such. Its just a damned good story about a middle-aged "success" trying to find himself in an odd little world. If this sounds a bit like you -- get a copy -- if you can find one. Seeing that this book is out of print just about ruined my day -- except that I know where my copy is at home!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In many ways, this is a very depressing book, as it shows just how badly the dream of space exploration has been lost, corrupted, mismanaged, and shoved under the carpet, out of sight of all too many people. At the same time, by investigating just what is important in life, it is uplifting and insightful.

The story tracks former astronaut Richard Baedecker, who is plagued by feelings of not doing anything meaningful in his post-NASA job, a divorce and an estranged son. The son has taken up with an Indian guru, seeking something he is not getting from his famous father, while Richard cannot seem to find a way to re-connect with his son, but does manage to connect with his son's semi-girlfriend. That connection leads him on a search for what is meaningful for him, from recollections of the items he left on the moon as a permanent mark on that world, to finding the magic of high places. His final actions of this book show that he has found, at least for him, some answers to the meaning of life, answers that will resonate with most readers.

This story is told very stylistically, with clean descriptions, very quiet actions, and with quick flashes backward and forward in time - potentially a confusing method of telling a story, but Simmons brings this off nicely. Richard's character is nicely portrayed, building on his recollections of his past exploits and his current interactions with those around him to show a fully realized man, one who has many doubts, fears, and sometimes moments of happiness. The characters around him, while not shown in as great a depth, are more than adequately developed, especially Dave, his former NASA crewmate. Perhaps the best item about this book is that all the characters and themes are developed by showing, not telling or pontificating.
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