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The Omega Project Hardcover – August 6, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Alten's exuberant SF thriller, humans must relearn that elemental lesson: never build super artificial intelligence computers and put them in charge of anything. Robert Ike Eisenbraun has invented GOLEM, a thinking machine designed to oversee the Omega Project, a mission to the moon to mine helium-3, an element needed to solve the world's energy problems. GOLEM decides that the moon mission is a no-go and moves the project to Europa, a moon of Jupiter with abundant helium-3. Ike is put into suspended animation for the long journey to Europa, but he wakes up on a vastly transformed Earth, where he's attacked by giant ants. Luckily, a nine-foot tall terrestrial squid comes to his rescue. Now the real action begins, as Alten (Meg) goes all-out portraying a terrifying yet fascinating future where Ike must battle to stay alive and save the world. Readers, along with Ike, will have lots of fun attempting to answer another age-old question: is it real or is it all a dream? Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Aug.)

From Booklist

Popular sf author Alten’s latest novel starts out as a near-future postapocalyptic thriller (after the world’s oil reserves run out, chaos ensues, and nearly five billion people die), segues into a sci-tech thriller (humanity’s only hope is send a team to one of Jupiter’s moons to bring back the rare but vital element helium-3), and finally becomes a far-future sci-fantasy (main character awakes from cryogenic freezing 12 million years in the future and must defeat a computer that thinks it’s a god, unless this part is all a dream he’s having while he’s frozen). It’s an ambitious novel that could have used more length; it feels like an epic shoehorned into a much smaller story’s space. There are some Big Ideas in the book (life, death, love, godhood), but the story moves so quickly, it feels as though we’re just hustling along the surface, with all the really good stuff hidden beneath, where we can’t get to it. It’s not a bad novel by any means, but readers may wish the author had given himself more time to really explore the story’s philosophical nooks and crannies. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1St Edition edition (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765336324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765336323
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Alten grew up in Philadelphia, earning his Bachelors degree in Physical Education at Penn State University, a Masters Degree in Sports Medicine from the University of Delaware, and a Doctorate of Education at Temple University. Struggling to support his family of five, he decided to pen a novel he had been thinking about for years. Working late nights and on weekends, he eventually finished MEG; A Novel of Deep Terror. Steve sold his car to pay for editing fees. On September (Friday) the 13th, 1996, Steve lost his general manager's job at a wholesale meat plant. Four days later his agent had a two-book deal with Bantam Doubleday.

MEG would go on to become the book of the 1996 Frankfurt book fair, where it eventually sold to more than a twenty countries. MEG hit every major best-seller list, including #19 on the New York Times list (#7 audio), and became a popular radio series in Japan.

Steve's second release, The TRENCH (Meg sequel) was published by Kensington/Pinnacle in 1999 where it also hit best-seller status. His next novel, DOMAIN and its sequel, RESURRECTION were published by St. Martin's Press/Tor Books and were runaway best-sellers in Spain, Mexico, Germany, and Italy, with the rights selling to more than a dozen countries.

Steve's fourth novel, GOLIATH, received rave reviews and was a big hit in Germany. It is being considered for a TV series. MEG: Primal Waters was published in the summer of 2004. A year later his seventh novel, The LOCH, hit stores -- a modern-day thriller about the Loch Ness Monster. Steve's eighth novel, The SHELL GAME, is about the end of oil and the next 9/11 event. The book was another NY Times best-seller, but the stress of penning this real-life story affected Steve's health, and three months after he finished the manuscript he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Steve's ninth novel, MEG: Hell's Aquarium, is considered to be the best of the best-selling MEG series. Steve says his best novel is GRIM REAPER: End of Days. The story, a modern-day Dante's Inferno, takes place in New York when a man-made plague strikes Manhattan. The release date was 10-10-10. His eleventh novel. PHOBOS: Mayan Fear is the third in the Domain series and will debut in the Fall of 2011 (Tor/Forge).

Steve's novels are action-packed and very visual. He has optioned DOMAIN, MEG and The LOCH to film producers. Steve has written six original screenplays. His comedy, HARLEM SHUFFLE was a semi-finalist in the LA screenwriting contest, his psychological thriller, STRANGLEHOLD, was selected as a finalist at the Philadelphia film festival and his reality series, HOUSE OF BABEL won at Scriptapalooza. He has also created a TV Drama, PAPA JOHN, based on his years coaching basketball with hall of Fame coach John Chaney.

Over the years, Steve has been inundated with e-mail from teens who hated reading ...until they read his novels. When he learned high school teachers were actually using his books in the classroom (MEG had been rated #1 book for reluctant readers) Steve launched Adopt-An-Author, a nationwide non-profit program designed to encourage students to read. Teachers who register for the program (it's free) receive giant shark posters, free curriculum materials, student-author correspondence, an interactive website, and classroom conference calls/visits with the author. To date, over 10,000 teachers have registered, and the success rate in getting teens to read has been unprecedented. Steve now spends half his work week working with high schools. For more information click on

As an author, Steve has two goals. First, to continue to work hard to become a better storyteller and create exciting page turning thrillers. Second, to remain accessible to his readers. Steve reads and answers all e-mails, uses the names and descriptions of his loyal fans as characters in all his novels, and even hires readers as editors, depending on their particular expertise.

For more information, contact the author at
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland on September 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Omega Project is first premised on the notion that all petroleum and natural gas deposits on earth will run out simultaneously, leaving the world without any source of hydrocarbons, no matter how expensive. This is simply contrary to the way such things work. As a natural commodity becomes more expensive, it becomes worthwhile to exploit more marginal sources, and even to re-open old wells that formerly did not produce economical quantities, to synthesize substitutes, etc. As its second premise, this sudden resource exhaustion is supposed to trigger a "die-off" of 9/10 of the world's population. According to the author, even after that die-off, substituting coal for oil and gas would result in runaway global warming in 10 years. In reality, CO2 emissions from burning coal are only about 65% higher than burning natural gas, and less than that when compared to burning petroleum, so substituting coal for petroleum and natural gas after a 90% die-off would leave total CO2 emissions at less than 15% of the pre-die-off level.
After the catastrophic collapse, in spite of a total lack of petroleum, scientists (magicians?) somehow recreate a technological society based on photovoltaic cells. In one scene, the hero is riding an air-conditioned solar-powered train which is slowed to a stop for a time when clouds obscure the sun, but then resumes its travels at 250 mph when the sun comes out again. A little back-of-the-envelope calculation, please: An ALP-46A locomotive, top speed of 125 mph, such as pulls NJ Transit's Comet and Multilevel fleet, delivers 5,600 kW to the rails and requires somewhat more input. If there are 10 cars, including the locomotive, each 10 feet wide and 50 feet long, the top area available for solar cells is 5,000 ft^2.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Hirsch on September 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My pubescent son could have written this. Very interesting story line kept my interest with ridiculous characters you could care less about. The author has a fixation with women's breasts too, so good book if you like that stuff for 50% of the chapters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Tipitino on August 4, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the worst books I have ever read in my life; how it got published is a mystery. Blend Lucifer's Hammer, Colossus the Forbin Project, the Island of Dr. Moreau and finish it with the Matrix and you have this book. How it starts and proceeds is one of the most ridiculous story lines that makes no sense. I can only imagine it was the first 100 pages that got a publishing agreement nobody in their right mind could have agreed otherwise to publish this mess. Imagine Philip K. Dick, Michael Crichton, John Norman and Jules Verne taking acid and writing a book with movie rights for the very worst that the Syfy network produces and you would have this book. If I were stranded on a desert island for 14 million years with nothing but this book to read, I'd throw it in the ocean! What a total waste of time and money.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jason Reedy on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Warning! This review contains spoilers of the book's plot.

This book contains three separate "main" sub-plots:

1) The world's economy collapses after the oil shock (i.e. no more fossil fuels)
2) Preparation for a mission to one of Jupiter's moons to mine a rare element
3) After an extinction level event has stuck the Earth and millions of years have passed

The first two sub-plots were by far the more enjoyable in my opinion, but were unfortunately only about one-third pf the book. Most of the book is dedicated to the experiences of the main character who wakes up out of suspended animation only to discover that millions of years have passed after a comet has struck the moon forever altering life on Earth.

The third sub-plot is initially under the guise of an hallucination while the main character (Robert) is undergoing suspended animation. And as a reader, you spend the first few pages waiting for Robert to wake up. Then you spend the next hundred pages begging that he will wake up and that you will be returned to the second sub-plot, which you had hoped was the main story. Because any character development and plot which you may have found appealing in the first third of the book is now completely irrelevant in the remainder of the book.

Will the earth recover from the collapse of society from the oil shock? It doesn't matter everyone died 20 million years ago.
Will Robert reconcile with the love of his life? It doesn't matter, she died 20 million years ago.
Will the colonists make it to Europa and discover the secret to clean energy? It does matter .... you get the idea.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gary Davis on October 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I thought this was going to be a cool space adventure on Europa or the moon. Unfortunately, it quickly dissolved into an incomprehensible headtrip for a 1dimensional character in 30day cryostasis. I found myself skipping 2 then 5 then 10 pages at a time so I could get to the "good" parts. However, I hit the end of the book before any good parts showed up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Milne on October 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Whatever I expected of Steve Alten, knowing his monstrous pedigree, The Omega Project certainly wasn't it. While it certainly had its moments, and sufficiently entertained me to keep reading through to the very end, it also frustrated me (and even confused me) along the way.

Let's start with the frustrations, and get them out of the way. This is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction tale that almost completely bypasses the apocalypse. While that's not always a bad thing, and a lot of books pick up civilization long after anybody remembers what the catastrophe was, this is a book that dances around it, predicts it, prepares for it, and reacts to it, all without really talking about it. I think it would have made for some greater emotional impact if Alten had given us a few more insights into the great die off of humanity.

Another frustration was the way the story changed course a few times along the way. Again, those kinds of twists can be refreshing, welcome even, but it's the way in which they play out that matters. Here, too much happened off the page to really make the shifts effective. Part of that is a result of the massive time-jumps between sections of the book, which I completely understand, but it felt like they were more work-arounds than justifications.

My final frustration - and this is a big one - is just how damned preachy the book became. I expected something of an ecological message, given that we are dealing with a post-apocalyptic world, and that kind of commentary has been standard for the genre lately. What I didn't expect was the spiritualism, and the actual preaching.
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