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The Practice Effect (Bantam Spectra Book) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Spectra Book
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055326981X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553269819
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Brin is a scientist, public speaker and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

David's latest novel - Existence - is set forty years ahead, in a near future when human survival seems to teeter along not just on one tightrope, but dozens, with as many hopeful trends and breakthroughs as dangers... a world we already see ahead. Only one day an astronaut snares a small, crystalline object from space. It appears to contain a message, even visitors within. Peeling back layer after layer of motives and secrets may offer opportunities, or deadly peril.

David's non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Award from the American Library Association.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. Brin's 1989 ecological thriller - Earth - foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once. A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise.

David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. These include the award-winning Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov: Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy.

As a public speaker, Brin shares unique insights -- serious and humorous -- about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. He appears frequently on TV, including several episodes of "The Universe" and History Channel's "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS."

Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD - the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) - followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute. His technical patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

Brin lives in San Diego County with his wife and three children.

You can follow David Brin:
Website: http://www.davidbrin.com/
Blog: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DavidBrin
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/cab801

Customer Reviews

It became a nice easy way to get the characters out of trouble, and was relied on too much.
david lykens
This is exactly what this book is, and it's a great read, fast and fun at the same time, while still throwing up some interesting concepts.
Michael Battaglia
He weaves a very real and believable story, usually based upon real science, or real theory.
"kurtman"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on September 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gee, not every SF book has to be a deep exploration of the limits of the genre. Sometimes you just like to kick back and enjoy yourself. This is exactly what this book is, and it's a great read, fast and fun at the same time, while still throwing up some interesting concepts. David Brin normally is an acquired taste, his Uplift books are some of the best SF books around but then they to be heavy on the plot, stories seem to drag on for years (I think only recently he got around to resolving some stuff from the first trilogy) and he can be a bit wordy. Not here though. Granted the ideas aren't as mindblowing as elsewhere but you know what, who cares? The basis here is that an Earth scientist is sent to another world and trapped there for a bit. The world seems backwards and forwards at the same time, there is caveman technology sitting alongside highly advanced stuff, among other mysteries. The scientist (Dennis) has to try and figure out what the heck is going on before he gets killed, especially since a Baron is trying to take over everything. Sounds like fun, right? Dennis' solutions to get out of problems, especially once he figures out how everything works, are great, and Brin seems to delight in this world, putting a decent amount of detail into it. He uses a SF explantion at the end that makes a tiny bit of sense but by then it really won't matter. There's all sorts of good stuff here, from ingenuity to danger to suspense to action to a bit of romance as well. Even if this isn't the most innovative stuff it's well written and brisk and . . . fun. That's all I can say. It's a fun little book that is more memorable than some of Brin's other work simply because of that. And you can't go wrong like that.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By joe_n_bloe on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Once every so often, SF authors escape their genre and write something on a lark that turns out to be really special. That's the case with The Practice Effect. While I've generally found Brin a bit tedious (overlong, overplotted, overwordy), I loved The Practice Effect the first time I read it and enjoyed it at least as much when rereading it years later. It reads like Harry Harrison's best, or (most aptly) like The Flying Sorcerors. The hero is a technologically adept person, thrown into a less technological environment, who learns to combine his modern-day savvy with the peculiarities of his new environs to his considerable advantage. And, of course, to the delight of his readers.
The gimmick in "The Practice Effect" is too entertaining to give up in a review, but you'll enjoy every minute of seeing it exploited. It's a short book (I wouldn't mind more of these, actually) but one you'll want to read and re-read every word of.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I rate books by the bathroom. A good book is one I find myself taking into the bathroom without conscious thought, and the exceptional book causes me to forget to the bathroom even exists. The pinnacle is the book which so enraptures that I forget to eat, somewhat negating my normal rating system.

Only novels by David Brin and Robert Heinlein have had that ultimate effect on me.

If your only exposure to David Brin is Startide Rising or the Uplift War and you're expecting the same overwhelming immersion into a foreign land, you'll be disappointed. Practice Effect is the first novel Brin wrote, although not the first published, and it is "only" a good read. It has the same heroic themes common in his latter works, but without the polish. The result is inevitably, and unfairly, disappointing to someone familiar with his later works.

On the other hand it may be a good introduction to Heroic SF, especially for juveniles. There's still the same action on a grand scale, "ordinary joes" changing the course of nations, friendly familiars (a bit more explicitly than the Tymbrini computers hidden in Tom and Gillian's quarters), and the smugly superior facing their own petards a-hoisting, but the heros and devils are clear from the start and the point of view doesn't jump among the many players.

Finally, as a would-be author I've found it useful to compare the writing in Practice Effect, Sundiver, and Startide Rising, in that order. They form a dramatic demonstration of how a writer matures. If you want to learn how to write books like Startide Rising or the Uplift War, start by learning how to write books like Practice Effect and then refine your skills from "merely" very good to Hugo- and Nebula-award winning.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are a physicist (like this reader), you will be rolling on the floor laughing. If not, you will simply find the book very, very funny. Brin sneaks in everything, from parodies of Star Wars to bad Latin puns. So it falls in the standard hero-goes-to-strange-country-and-makes-good, complete with Helpful Sidekick and Beautiful Damsel. So what? Brin obviously had great fun writing this one. I had fun reading it. Hope you do too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "kurtman" on February 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read everything Brin has published. He weaves a very real and believable story, usually based upon real science, or real theory.This book was obviously a departure into fantasy. I found The Practic Effect to be a fun light-hearted Sci-Fi fantasy. It was interesting to explore the notion of, "What if physics and natures laws worked differently, somewhere else?" It was, of course, written very well, in Brin's cinematic style.
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