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The Spheres of Heaven Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; 1st edition (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067131856X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671318567
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,955,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nebula and Hugo winner Sheffield (Convergent Series) takes a thoughtful stab at pacifism and its attendant possibilities in this engrossing sequel to The Mind Pool. In the past, Chan Dalton was forced to disband his motley crew of spacefarers when the Stellar Group, an alien pacifist outfit, banned the human race from space exploration because of its violent tendencies. Twenty years later, without frontiers or aims, human society is stagnating and crumbling. Called upon to track down stolen starships, Chan and his group are given the chance to pick up where they left off and visit uncharted regions of space. When Chan's gang reassembles, they receive instructions to refrain from violence of any sort--even in self-defense. But the first intelligent aliens they meet are warlike: the Malacostracans (a species resembling a cross between lobsters and spiders) are interested in conquest at any cost. When they capture several members of Chan's group, Chan faces an impossible question--should he resort to violence to free his crewmates, forsaking humankind's access to space forever? Is there any other way? In several places, coincidences pile up unconvincingly, and certain dangerous situations are wrapped up too easily. But Sheffield incorporates quantum physics (he is a mathematician and physicist), well-documented space travel and plenty of action into a smooth narrative. Readers of hard science fiction will find the story right up their alley.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Breuer, well known for his campaign histories of World War II, turns to the unconventional. His reliance, too often uncritical, on primarily British sources gives the work a one-sided tone, but German successes are not neglected. And any shortcomings in the work's perspective are more than balanced by its unsurpassed scope. Not just a series of cloak-and-dagger narratives, Breuer's "secret war" covers electronics and espionage, dummy airfields and double agents, and much, much more. Breuer compares these operations and integrates them into the war's general history in a way that makes this book welcome alike to general readers and scholars. Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John C. Silva on February 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Imagine being forced to accept a mission to an unknown place, where 3 previous expeditions vanished without a trace and being told you could not use violence in any form, even in self defense. Hard to imagine isn't it.
Sheffield's book takes a little while to set up the story but slowly builds the tension and steps up the pace until finally you are so into the book you suddenly realize you've been reading for hours and didn't notice the time passing. The story involves humans and three other intelligent species and their effort to investigate what is called a "link" to another star system. Who and what they find their is so intriguing that you can't help but pause and consider what YOU would do were you in their shoes and faced with the same situation.
The ending was very obviously written to allow a sequel but also written so that the book can stand on its own. An excellent adventure tale with none of the violence and destruction common to many other sci-fi novels currently on the market. A wonderful change and very fun to read.
I'm going to look into more of Sheffield's books now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By small review on June 26, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book because a friend told me to read it and I felt guilty saying no. As it was, it took me from August 2007 until January 2008 to finish the 532 page book. After September 2007 it was relegated to bathroom book status where I reluctantly read it when there was nothing else to do. I'm happy I finished the book (because it's now over).

The book wasn't bad, but I can't say it was good either. It was easy to read, so there's that. The human characters weren't overly annoying, but they were also barely there. Each character got anywhere from a paragraph to a chapter of description earlier on in the book, but these descriptions were apparently supposed to carry the characters through the whole book because they were barely developed beyond those early blurbs. I didn't think that worked too well, especially since the characters felt like cardboard caricatures as a result.

My friend was enamored with the weird aliens, but they just annoyed me. Three types of aliens are all against violence of any kind, but the fourth, new alien is all for violence. In fact, the fourth type of alien, a lobster type creature, are bent on taking over Earth and the human race. So while the humans are trying to protect themselves, the three allied aliens prattle on about how they must remain non-violent. Blah, blah, blah, they figure things out in a kind of inventive way and there you go.

If someone liked very base sci-fi, then this one might be enjoyable, but otherwise, I'd steer clear and not waste your time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JH on December 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I first ordered Spheres of Heaven, not knowing it was a sequel, and subsequently ordered the first book, The Mind Pool. I was glad I did and was pleasantly re-introduced to science fiction after a long time away from this genre.
The Spheres of Heaven, continues (and evolves) with the adventures of Chan, and introduces a new character, the self effacing mechanical genius, Bony, who is ordered around by an incompetant and lazy captain whom you cannot wish enough bad things upon.
The book bounces back and forth between their two adventures in alternating chapters, forcing the reader at the end of each to want to race through the following chapter to pick up where they left off. This creates a self perpetuating "mad rush" of reading, making this book the quintesential "page turner"!
The supporting characters are well thought out and each is interesting enough to warrent their inclusion. So too, are the aliens. This writer even makes the computers and other technology interesting and vital characters in this book.
I'm back to reading sci-fi again, and I attribute this to the craftmanship apparent in Sheffeild's books.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "phyed-rautha" on July 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
We're back in the "Mind pool" universe. Humanity's not allowed to enter any Link - the way to the stars, because of it's ability to think of and perform violence - even against sentient beings, a thing that is unthinkable to the STELLAR GROUP.
A lone link is opened for our race, apparentlly it is'nt controled by the aliens, but nothing thet goes through does'nt come back or sends any signals back. The stellar group calls upon the famed Chan Dalton to explore the link, in exchange for the lifting of the quarantine on humanity.
Besides his assembled crew he chances upon a single representative of each of the alien races, and that prohibits the possibility of dealing with whatever they find with any form of violence - even in self defence!
The book reads fast and is as flowing as any Sheffield product, but I must say thet the spirit of "The Mind Pool", with it's striking contrasts between human, tinker-composite, pipe-rilla and sellora's angel, was not reproduced in the same vivid action or dialogues. Still a good read, mind you, but I felt as if the tension thet was built was'nt released in a stisfactory way. I would recommend it read only after "The Mind Pool", for a more exciting introduction to this fascinating aliens and universe.
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