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The Killing Star Hardcover – April 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; First Edition edition (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688139892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688139896
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Pellegrino and Zebrowski hang a whirlwind of ideas within the framework of the traditional sf concept of first contact with intelligent aliens. Their yarn is full of action and danger to the human race, too--and without dividing the cast into good guys and bad. Among their double handful of ideas are concepts concerning enhanced human intelligence, several superweapons, new energy sources, and the Titanic disaster (on which Pellegrino is a recognized expert). All of this does not make the book's plot easy to follow. On the other hand, all the idea mongering shows so much creativity and knowledge that you almost wind up not caring whether the book has a plot. Pellegrino and Zebrowski are working territory not too far removed from Arthur C. Clarke's, and anywhere Clarke is popular, this book should be, too. Roland Green

About the Author

Dr. Charles Pellegrino is the author of twelve books, including Unearthing Atlantis and Her Name, Titanic. He is a paleontologist who designs robotic space probes and relativistic rockets. In his spare time, Pellegrino writes mindbending technothrillers. Jan de Bont, the director of Speed and Twister, has recently signed on to direct the film adaptation of Pellegrino's Dust. Dr. Pellegrino lives in New York.

More About the Author

Dr. Charles Pellegrino is the author of twelve books, including Unearthing Atlantis and Her Name, Titanic.He is a paleontologist who designs robotic space probes and relativistic rockets and is the scientist whose dinosaurs cloning recipe inspired Michael Crichton's bestselling novel Jurassic Park. In his spare time, Dr. Pellegrino writes acclaimed sf novels and mind-bending technothrillers. Jan de Bont, the director of Speed and Twister, has been signed on to direct the film version of Pellgrino's biological disaster novel Dust.The recipient of the 2000 Isaac Asimov Memorial Award for Science Writing, Dr. Pellegrino lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

This is hard science fiction at it's best.
Joshua Koppel
It is the only book I have read this year that I am still discussing with my friends.
gould@neosoft.com
Unfortunately pretty much everything else is either very silly, trope, or both.
Kae Sharpe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A realistic answer to Fermi's paradox: "Why are They Not Here?".

A space-faring civilization will have ships travelling at
a good fraction of the speed of light. Such ships pose
a grave danger to any inhabited planet. Because of the
high kinetic energies involved, such a ship would wipe
out life on a planet, were it to collide with it.

In other words, a star-travelling ship is indistinguishable
from a planet-busting relativistic bomb.

What would a rational civilization do, given this scenario?
It would lay low, and pre-emptively strike against any
new neighbor.

The situation is not the same as the state of mutually
assured destruction existent on our planet. The first
relativistic strike is not traceable to the origin, and
is likely to be decisive.

The answer to Fermi's paradox? They are all hiding.

As for the book, it has an audacious style, which I like
very much. An action oriented book on a grand scale with
solid technical underpinnings.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By gould@neosoft.com on November 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I read a lot. Quite frankly, most of what I read is trash. However, "The Killing Star" is one of a select few hard sci-fi novels I really, really, enjoyed. It is the only book I have read this year that I am still discussing with my friends. Get a buddy to read this book with you and the debate can be endless (i.e. a great choice for a sci-fi book club).The basic premise is that the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) is frought with dangers. With some nicely done analogies and symbolism, the authors equate SETI to the the voyage of the TITANIC going full speed through fields of ice. Basically, the authors opine that any sufficiently advanced alien lifeform has no choice but to destroy any technologically advanced race it comes into contact with, so human beings should not be so eager to contact aliens by sending messages, radio communications, etc., into the deep reaches of unknown space. Why? Read the book. You will not be disapointed.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T.P. McArdle on March 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an entertaining hard science fiction novel. It shows a different take on trying to contact alien species which we have not considered. Our radio broadcasts reach another alien species who are xenophobes and whose philosophy is let's get them before they get us (and it's nothing personal). It's rather amusing to see the basis of how they came to judge the human race. This book could as easily been twice as long as it was if the authors had cared to develop the characters more. The book follows various groups of survivors and their strategies for avoiding the aliens, some are successful and some are not. There are a lot of interesting scientific concepts presented in the book which make it a good read. If you enjoy the "hard" science fiction of Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, I would recommend that you read this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Old Soldier on May 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When the velocity in the equation approaches lightspeed, even a small mass can retain energy far beyond even the largest nuclear explosion.

Other reviewers have blasted Pellegrino as "sick" and "paranoid." Unfortunately, that does not make him wrong. The brutal logic of this book is impossible to dispute. The "hope" that we and other intelligent species evolve beyond warfare is just that - wishful thinking.

As a novel, it is a decent read. Not much character development but lots of interesting science.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on May 18, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While looking for some hard science fiction I happened across THE KILLING STAR by Charles Pellagrino and George Zebrowski. This is hard science fiction at it's best. The novel comprises a number of cautionary tales and thumbs its nose at Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov.
The book opens with relativistic bombs wiping out almost all life in the solar system. Relativistic bombs are missiles (just chunks of rock, really) that have been accelerated to a significant portion of the speed of light. Carl Sagan has stated that any advanced civilization that does not destroy itself becomes peaceful. THE KILLING STAR claims otherwise. I do not recommend this book to anyone that has paranoid tendencies. It is well written and frightening. So clearly frightening that it reminded me of THE HOT ZONE which is nonfiction.
Most of the book follows the few survivors scattered across the solar system and their efforts to survive after the cataclysm. Many interesting scientific studies and theories are brought up muck like in a goor Arthur C. Clarke novel.
So why do aliens try and wipe us out? Michael Jackson wrote a song about unity. Hordes of artists sang it. In 1985 every radio station on the planet broadcast it simultaneously. The song was We Are The World and the broadcast was the single "loudest" shout sent by us into space. Think about the song's message and the way it was broadcast. Read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It tells you a lot about this writing team's skill when Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski can annihilate 99% of humanity in the opening pages of their THE KILLING STAR, and still keep their readers entranced for a whole novel. In fact, there are few writer's who could pull off such an audacious feat, then proceed to unleash some real emotional thrills and scientific mind benders to contemplate.

Who are these faceless attackers? And why are they so bent on mankind's destruction?

This novel keeps you guessing, and will keep you thinking long after reading it. The whole notion of alien "rules" and racial prejudice in the intergalactic neighborhood is a bit much for the mind to chew. Then add a dash of Pellegrino and Zebrowski's potent brew of scientific extrapolations of life in the not so distant future, fold in a couple of cast of characters that you are afraid to care for (knowing what fate must await them), and garnish liberally with ethical and moral accoutrements [Jurassic Park, step aside. What happens when you use the DNA from Jesus and Buddha to create them anew?]. A most fascinating meal for your mind that leaves you wanting to taste more
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