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The Boat of A Million Years Paperback – May 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; First Edition edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765310244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765310248
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Less a novel than a series of short stories and novelettes tied together by their subjects, this volume tells of 11 "immortals": individuals who will not die of old age but who can, however, be killed. Anderson ( The Avatar ) brings proven storytelling abilities and research skills to chronicles that range from 310 B.C. to a centuries-distant future. Many of the stories describe an immortal's first awareness of his or her difference, and flight from accusations of witchcraft; other tales relate chance encounters between immortals; a few simply tell a good yarn. The penultimate chapter tells of the eight survivors coming together in present times; the last portrays a future where science has extended everyone's life, creating a world vastly different from what the immortals had expected. BOMC and QPB selection.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Hanno the navigator, Tu Shan the mystic, and Aliyat the courtesan share a common bond--immortality. Their search for others like themselves covers thousands of years of human history, from the earliest explorations of the world to the ultimate journey into the stars. Against an everchanging backdrop that includes medieval Japan, the court of Richelieu, and 19th-century America, Anderson draws together a group of very special heroes. Ambitious in scope, meticulous in detail, polished in style, the author's first novel in ten years is highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/89.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Wonderful story, wonderful storytelling...
George Baxter
In transcending the divisions between past, present, and future, Anderson endows the reader with a feel for the continuity and dynamism of humanity.
Aaron Warren
The last chapter is almost novella length and is probably the strongest part of the book -- but it also has a bit of a dull edge.
C. Baker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Maximiliano F Yofre on February 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Boat of a Million Years " is one of the best novels written by Poul Anderson.

It is constructed as a series of short stories telling about immortal people (or almost immortal). The different characters crisscross their ways along centuries and millennia. The outcomes of these encounters are sometimes friendly, sometimes antagonistic; never innocuous.

Poul Anderson show his talent to mix action, drama and humor with deep meditations about meaning of life, ethics, gender conflict, ethnic discrimination and many subjects more. He includes accurate different historical backgrounds for each episode ranging from ancient Greece thru far future.

The story is great; it mainly follows Phoenician seaman Hanno in his eternal quest to find more people like him. He is very special. He never get sick or old, his teeth grows up again when he loose one, he recover very quickly from injuries.

He soon discover that his bless is also his curse. He remains unchanged yet consorts and descents grow old, die and vanish. Neighbors usually react violently to his "witchery" blaming him to practice strange deals with demons.

To evade these circumstances Hanno becomes a master in changing personalities and evading suspicion.

The narrative starts to catch momentum and conclude with a very interesting piece situated in a far future full of new possibilities.

Take a joyful romp thru it, you won't be disappointed!

Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth Carey on October 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is solid, if rambling, Anderson fun: scenes from the lives of a small group of immortals as they learn to hide their nature and cope with the natural suspicions of their short-lived compatriots. The oldest is Hanno, a Phoenician sailor, and the youngest is an African-American slave who eventually uses the name Corinne Macandal. The others who make it to the end of book are Aliyat (Syrian), Svoboda (Ukrainian), Tu Shan (Chinese), Yukiko (Japanese), John Wanderer (Native American), and Patulcius (Roman). Agelessness is not enough to ensure long lives, and we meet other immortals along the way, who from carelessness, bad luck, or deliberate choice, don't survive to share the ultimate fate of the eight survivors. Or rather, as they come to be known, Survivors.

Most of the book consists of the adventures the individual immortals in various well-devoloped ancient settings. Hanno joins a Greek expedition to Britain and Scandinavia. Aliyat lives too long in Palmyra while it is changing from a Christian to a Muslim city, and escapes the harem to become a prostitute--in Constantinople for a while, where she briefly meets Hanno, who has become a Rus trader. (Well, Welsh, really, for certain values of "really," but the Byzantines regard him as Rus.) Svoboda, already a great-grandmother, leaves her village before she can be killed for witchcraft, to become a merchant's wife in Kiev (and briefly meets Hanno), and later a nun, and still later a Cossack and then a soldier for Mother Russia during the Second World War. (Not for the USSR; the Soviets are better than the Nazis for Svoboda's people, but not much.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By George Baxter on September 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Poul Anderson is not (was.. he died just recently) the most optimistic of writers. He did not believe in the predestined success of humanity.. at least as a whole. (This is as opposed to David Brin.. who is hugely optimistic.)
In this book he presents a set of characters that, by accident of genetics, find themselves immortal. We follow them from pre- or barely- historical times well into the future. Through their eyes we watch humankind as a whole struggle, achieve, fail, die and live. We watch these immortals as they set themselves apart
for survival reasons.. twice.
The grand sweep of the book through humankind's history is wonderful. The book gets a bit lost at the end.. we wander too far from humanity, though it is a natural conclusion. In the end, perhaps... it is not the book that wandered too far, but humanity itself.
Wonderful story, wonderful storytelling...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first (and so far only) Poul Anderson book I read, so I did not know what to expect. After reading throught the first few chapters, it appeared that it was just a series of tales about being immortal during different periods in history. It was very interesting to see it all coalesce into one final resolution (though not a final conclusion). This book is very unusual and thought-provoking, and I recommend it for anyone who is looking more for original ideas instead of standard future-time stories (most of this novel takes place in the past, starting at 500BC(?). It is not always an instant page-turner, but leaves you with a feeling of awe.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By C. Baker VINE VOICE on September 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is another one of those books that is hard to review because there are a lot of good parts, and a lot parts that are not so good, so you're left with a mixed bag.

The Boat of a Million Years follows the lives of several immortals from 310 B.C. through the future. It chronicles the trials they find themselves in trying to hide or mask their immortality from their communities and even their families, and the life of wandering, and at times despair, it leads them to. In the end they come together to voyage into space to make their future -- which makes up the last chapter of the book.

Most of the book is written as short chapters chronicling events in the lives of the immortals -- some who don't even survive to modern times. The most interesting and well written of the characters is Hanno, who we find in the opening scenes of the book, and several chapters throughout in different eras and with a different name. There are other interesting characters as well. But the main problem of the novel is it's overwritten and long winded. It takes a lot of patience to wade through the slag to get to the good parts. And the prose gets a bit stodgy at times. The last chapter is almost novella length and is probably the strongest part of the book -- but it also has a bit of a dull edge. The characters just don't seem that amazing or wise given their longevity.

If all the best parts of the novel were pulled together and the chaff culled out -- this could have been an excellent piece of work. It really does have some interesting things to say about the prospect and consequences of immortality. But, as is, this is a slightly disappointing work.
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