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Tides of Light (Galactic Center) Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Galactic Center (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446611549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446611541
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #647,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fleeing the mech civilization that has decimated the human population of the planet Snowglade, Cap'n Killeen leads Family Bishop to a distant world only to become embroiled in another human-alien conflict in which the sides are not so neatly drawn. This sequel to Great Sky River continues the adventures of a courageous group of survivors. Quick pacing and startling imagery produce a welcome mixture of action and speculation. Recommended.-- JC
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
Gregory Benford writes about very complex topics in a way that leaves the reader to ponder further.
Howard Miller
A small human band flees from a threat it cannot hope to match - enormously superior artificial minds embodied in great insect-like machines.
Ray Francis
Not much different in quality between this and the preceding novel, like the other one, you will probably like this book, too.
Blue Tyson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Don Roberts on March 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The "Great Sky River" series eschews the traditional science fiction device of portraying human beings as creatures apparently inferior to greater alien intelligences, yet having some indefinable superiority. How many stories, particularly as found in "Analog", have you read where humanity or an intrepid human explorer tricks superior (intellectually speaking) aliens by some sort of street smarts or idiosyncratic human trait ? Don't go looking for that smugness here. Fifty years ago John W Campbell challenged his writers to "show him a creature that thinks as well as a man only differently", but Benford has demolished the idea of mere equality in intellectual power between humans and aliens. The mechs and cyborg intelligences in this series are drawn as well as non-human aliens can be, their motivations and capabilities (as well as thought processes) are described without lapsing into merely "jazzing up" human characteristics. Benford's aliens are aliens in mind as well as physique and no reader can fathom their true nature. Benford's humans are hunter-gathers, appropriating technologies and materials they can not create themselves. William Tenn's description of humans as " rats in the walls" is carried to an extreme in "Tides of Light". Family Bishop merely dodges incomprehensible aliens and forces before fortune steers them to the next instalment. Benford has made an elegiac vision of the future, incorporating grandeur like Arthur C Clarke in "The City and The Stars" with a mysterious plot. The aliens are ALIEN and the humans are so different in physical nature amd cultural millieu as to be almost unbelievable. Strongly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Arthur P. Smith on September 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Author Benford is a professional physicist, and it shows perhaps the most in this fourth novel of the galactic center series. The others: "In the Ocean of Night" (1977), "Across the Sea of Suns" (1984), "Great Sky River" (1987), "Furious Gulf" (1994), and "Sailing Bright Eternity" (1995) also rely on his scientific background and poetic language, but "Tides of Light" is the one where he manages to put his hero on a classic free-fall trajectory through the center of a planet, a situation imagined in richer detail than you've ever seen it before.

The novels are grouped in two's - the third, "Great Sky River", introduces us to Killeen Bishop and his clan, human scavengers in the dominant central galactic machine civilization some 30,000 years in the future. "Tides of Light" continues the story of Killeen, now captain of the Bishop clan, landing on a new planet with fascinating new alien life-forms imagined in realistic physical and mental detail. These mechanically augmented myriapodia, large many-legged burrowing insect-like creatures, skilfully manipulate the most exotic physical element in the series: a planet-sized cosmic string. The myriapodia use their cosmic string to burrow through entire planets, extracting the metal-rich cores to weave artificial structures on the scale of entire solar systems.

Part of the fascination of the story is the state of the humans here - good at surviving, but fearfully low in skills and abilities, and filled with knowledge of decline from a much more prosperous state. Fighting not just the myriapodia and the machines, but fellow humans led by a despotic leader, Benford manages to couple exciting action with insights into human nature, singly and in groups.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Gregory Benford is one of the few authors who don't betray science in their science-fiction. No Star Wars or Star Trek-like anthropocentrist grotesqueries in his Galactic Centre saga : the human "heroes", led and pushed rather than self-guided through our ruthless Milky Way, are little more than feral hunter-gatherers confronted to all-emcompassing alien plots. And this, even as they are routinely described as using technologies far beyond any cyberpunk gizmo ; in fact, Benford's complex and consistent characters face mind-staggering challenges, their own cultural inheritance being one amongst many. Even the classical galactic-scale plots found in Dune or the Foundation series are utterly reduced to naught compared with the (very) long-term projects of the past and present intelligences competing in Benford's universe. Now go and read this book, along with the five others in the series !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best science fiction books I have read. It combines the realistic plight of the humans with the sureal background of New Bishop. Mr. Benford avoids the traditional view of humans being masters of stars and space, and instead has them a small faction fleeing for their lives. His descriptive nature adds to this, so it is possible to see Quath as more than words. He brings this book to life, off of the written page and into the mind of readers. His style does not make one fall asleeep from tired cliches and already been done plots, but keeps them involved with his story of our future in space.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Howard Miller on August 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gregory Benford writes about very complex topics in a way that leaves the reader to ponder further. What is life? Given the resources does it always produce intelligence? What is sapience? What part does sapience play in the universe? Is there any unifying Purpose in the playing out of all that came into being at the moment of the Big Bang?

All of this, and the panoply of characters one can enjoy and care about. Maybe the Universe is a machine for producing ripping yarns.
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