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Tides of Light (Galactic Center Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

Gregory Benford
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $24.50
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

Now in a new, revised edition, the fourth book of the Nebula Award-winning author's Galactic Center series is a classic tale of man's future and fate--and the greatest mystery from outer space that humanity has ever encountered.


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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1197 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect (September 26, 2009)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SRL336
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,769 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(11)
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big concept science fiction 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Physics Like You've Never Seen It 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Highest-ranking Sci-Fi February 5, 1999
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars hard core sci-fi May 20, 1998
By A Customer
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but he begins to lose me here October 17, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From the incredible Great Sky River, this book continues the story of Killeen, now a leader who must get his people to the promised spot, though he still doesn't quite know why. They are on an old human ship that was unearthed and allowed to take off in the last novel, heading to the center of the galaxy. Along the way, they encounter an insect-like race that has much more in common with mankind than meets the eye.

This book is full of scientific detail that I followed more or less. As other reviewers note, it contains a cosmic string that has been harnessed by the insectoids to harvest the resources of entire planets. Their common enemy is the machine intelligences, which have a vast web of outposts throughout the galaxy, tolerating organics at best, hunting them brutally at worst.

There is no doubt that this is fun, but unfortunately I couldn't leave behind my sense that someone was making this up - I couldn't suspend my disbelief, which I most definitely could in the previous volumes. In spite of many interesting character developments, there is a rushed feeling to this book, as if the concepts are beginning to be more important than the plot. The characters seemed more flimsy, easier to label, and the story line obscure and simply strange. I was barely able to finish this and the subsequent 2 novels, where it is all supposed to come together, were only skim books from which I wanted to find what happened without any particular magic or felling that belonged exclusively to this as, for want of a better term, a work of art.

REcommended, but only for those invested in the series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I WAS THINKING OF ME
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? Read more
Published 15 months ago by Howard Miller
2.0 out of 5 stars stopping with this series here
this series started off so good. and I've loved other novels of benford's. But it was like he almost completely lost it with this one. Read more
Published on April 25, 2012 by milkfilledandroid
5.0 out of 5 stars A Benford Galactic series book
I can't review it because I haven't read any of the series. A friend read book one and was so enthused about it he wanted the entire series.
Published on January 1, 2011 by Snowflake
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Robot centipedes aren't good.

Or, this book follows on from Great Sky River, with Killeen in charge of his particular group of chess piece clan human strugglers. Read more
Published on September 24, 2007 by Blue Tyson
4.0 out of 5 stars jacket summary
from the back cover of the November 1989 Bantam Spectra paperback edition

cover art by Paul Swendsen

Set against the magnificent, furious backdrop of the... Read more
Published on January 27, 2006 by Ray Francis
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and engaging narrative!
Now away from Snowglade, Family Bishop must face terrifying new challenges on a devastated world. This book is something of a departure from the Galactic Centre storyline, yet... Read more
Published on October 9, 1998
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