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7th Sigma Hardcover – July 5, 2011
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“Sheer adventure: full of engaging, nerdily detailed depictions of the minutiae of Aikido, spycraft, artificial life theory, frontier economics, religious zealotry, Zen meditation, and beautiful descriptions of the southwestern landscape. It has the true pulp adventure serial spirit, the compulsively consumable zing that'll have you turning pages long past your bedtime.” ―Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, on 7th Sigma
About the Author
STEVEN GOULD is the author of Jumper, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, and Jumper: Griffin's Story, as well as many short stories. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. Gould lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon and their two daughters.
Top customer reviews
However- Kim- our protagonist- was pretty much a cipher throughout, and more so toward the end than the beginning. He was engaging in the beginning.
This is very much a Young Adult novel, which will appeal to some. I don't dis YA novels! however, they are generally more eventful and less thoughtful than the best sf aimed at adults. The world here, I thought, deserved more thought... or at least a flawed narrator that let us see more of it than he was necessarily aware of. Kim, however, is damn near perfect- and that's the worst flaw here, especially when combined with his laconic replies to damn near all questions from anyone.
I have NO idea what "7th Sigma" means in relationship to this novel; as far as i can see, it has no relevance in the text; it certainly has no referrals.
I was disappointed. I've liked several of Gould's earlier novels very much indeed... and both this and "Greenwar" disappointed me.
Gould has created a story of people who survive and sometimes thrive in a localized apocalypse in the US South West. With a nod toward Clarke's third law, the apparently hyper advanced technology is not center stage. While teams of scientists almost certainly are working tirelessly to find an answer, this is not yet their story.
Kimble/Kim, the young, resourceful male protagonist who is also an aikidoka has some clearly audible echoes of Gould's prior book Helm. The actual technical aspects of Aikido are more in the background here than in Helm and the world receives more of the author's attention.
Technically, the story is broken into several slices of Kimble's life which may be months or only days in duration. The feel is almost episodic: the problem of the day front and center while the ongoing disaster the Bugs represent are the moving backdrop for everything in his world.
I will admit to being an unreasoning fan of the book Helm who owns 2 harcover copies and the kindle version. I was happily surprised by the similarities in this story. I do wish that Kimble was a bit less of a cipher in the later story slices. As the slices jump forward in time, I felt a bit left behind when the young man struggling to learn and expand the edge of his capabilities suddenly becomes the experienced campaigner.
All in all, I enjoyed the quick, entertaining story. For me, the surprising similarities previous work were less important than the large unanswered question of what the Bugs actually are. That question is only more loudly asked at the end of the story and I'm sure another installment from Kimble will be on the way to us.
It certainly didn't disappoint!
The setting is the american southwest in the near future, where some very strange "Von Neumann" self-replicating insects have invaded a chunk of territory. The "bugs" eat refined metals, LOVE electromagnetic fields, and attack anything that hurts one of them. This means that humans living in this "zone" have to accept some pretty strict technological workarounds and limitations, and literally tread carefully since crushing a bug brings a potentially lethal swarm.
The main character, Kimble, is a very capable young man who winds up having adventures all over the area, dealing with the bugs and with the mix of people populating the area.
It was a fun summer read, and I'm looking forward to the next book from SG!
Only other complaint is ended too quickly hopefully another book is forth coming with same characters or setting!
Another well written Steven Gould book similar in some ways to Helm (Aikido)!
If you enjoy any other Steven Gould book you will like this one as well. If this is your first Steven Gould and you enjoy the reading definitely recommend his other books!
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