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The Cold Equations Mass Market Paperback – August 31, 2004

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"The touchstone story for hard-core science fiction is Tom Godwin's 'The Cold Equations'."
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (August 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743488490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743488495
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,809,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Breden on May 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I discovered this book in the early 1960's at the time I was mostly sustaining myself on Heinlein and his more upbeat proliferation of classic science fiction. The centerpiece of "Cold Equations" is actually not the title work, but the included novel "The Survivors", included in this volume of Godwin's works. Known in the early 60's as "Space Prison", this novel relates the 200 year long saga of a group of humans relegated to a planet after being attacked by barbarians during a space journey near the planet Ragnarok. Fully half of the thousands of colonists aboard this ship are relegated to this planet, declared uninhabitable by prior explorers (the other half is taken into slavery). Ragnarok is noted for its 1.5 G gravity, and the collection of ferocious beasts inhabiting it. On the first night alone, 200 of the colonists are killed. At the low point, the colony is reduced to only 49 individuals, before the group finally learns to adapt to the harsh conditions and to thrive and start to grow in numbers again.
The novel is a mixture of desperation and total hopelessness coupled with incredible yet believable examples of humankind's efforts to survive and succeed under incredible adversity. The story is very haunting, and finally ends when descendants of the original group of colonists escape from the planet.
I can think of only a handful of science fiction books that have stayed with me 40 years later after only a single reading, and I have occasionally looked for a copy, only finding old collectibles as a source. I could not have been more pleased when I found it had finally been reprinted only last month: I ordered it on the spot and await reading it again with great anticipation and sharing it with my 17 year old son.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was a pre-teen I once found myself restricted to my Uncle's farm for two weeks. I couldn't leave the yard, investigate the farm buildings, and there was no TV. The single redeeming feature of the two week experience was the book, The Survivors, in this collection of stories by Godwin. My Uncle was a voracious reader of SF and never let any of his books go - he had thousands. I read several during that two weeks, but this one - only this one I remember. Unfortunately, I remembered the wrong title (Prison Planet) and could never find it again. I reread it recently for the first time in about 40 years. Although the technology is classic 1950's SF and seems dated today, the story's view of how people fit into the universe had a big impact on me then. I appreciated the chance to revisit this long lost book and read for the first time Godwin's other stories included in this collection.
To the teens who might be attracted to the nicely posed young thing on the cover- she's nowhere to be found inside. This book was written in the 1950's after all. Still, if you like classic SF, you'll like this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 20, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bough this book purely for the novel "The Survivors", which is included in the book. Let me tell you The Survivors is a absolutely wonderful book about overcoming the odds. I have read all the other stories in this book. but Tom Godwin's tale grabs hold of you and won't let go. Let me tell you this is one story you will never forget.

A number of the other short tales are memorable yes. But out of the entire compilation of Tom Godwin's tales done by Eric Flint "The Survivors", which is the only short novel length story is far and beyond the gem of this collection.

In the distant future Colonists heading to a new world are attacked while passing a world called Ragnarok, a world with 1.5 gravity and very little food that humans can eat and very many things that would like to eat humans. And here half of the colonists are marooned, left to die while the Garn take the others as slaves. But in 200 years that take a Garn cruiser and because they are now stronger and can withstand more G's they crush the Garn, freeing Earth from constant attacks and themselves from Ragnarok.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By oldpink on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read the story that gave this compilation its title back in junior high school, and it has haunted me ever since.
So, when I found an entire compilation of stories from this great writer, I jumped at it.
Rereading the story "The Cold Equations" all these years later reminded me of the power of Godwin to keep his audience spellbound, unable to stop until the end, which I will not spoil here.
This story is so famous that, for decades, it has sparked controversy and lengthy debates, some due to claims of Godwin having "borrowed" the story from an earlier comic book, and some due to mathematicians and physicists questioning the central dreadful dilemma of the story.
It really is a measure of greatness that (the late) Tom Godwin to this day has a story of such power and fascination that people are still talking about it, over forty years after he published it.
Kudos to Amazon for the speedy service, too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the prison planet and little girl stories in a swap shop. They moved me so much that I kept them forever. They were old when I first read them and printed on cheap brittle paper and eventually the books fell apart in my hands. I just couldn't part with them, couldn't let them go, so I put the individual pages in a small cigar box and re read them every year or so.

Eventually in a move from one place to another my precious cigar box was lost and these two stories that so affected my childhood were gone. I was desperate to find new copies but couldn't remember the author or even the titles and searched I've vain for so many years until I ran across them on AMAZON.

They are as good today as they were in 1960.

Thank you so so much.
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