Brain Wave Kindle Edition
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|Length: 176 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top customer reviews
The story: earth moves out of a magnetic field in space that has retarded human intelligence. Now we are the smartest creatures in the universe; even the animals have become smarter. People who were mentally handicapped are now geniuses; but they are still mental dwarfs compared to the super elite. What happens in such a society. Some people clearly cannot deal with this mental awakening.
The best part of this story though is the time it was set in; right after World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb. Some of the characters have fresh mental scars from the war and you can feel the fear; this is not dusty history for them; they have lived through it all and are raw from it. The story just feels so fresh because of it.
At times there are a few stumbles as how can you make things interesting when everyone is super-smart; but the author pulls it off. A most satisfying read; and a lynchpin in the understanding of atomic age science fiction.
Written in 1954, it long predates Vernor Vinge's ideas of the different regions of space: the Slow Zone, the Beyond, the Transcend. It is slightly later than Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End, which has some of the same themes, although I think Poul Anderson pulls off the transition much more convincingly.
In general the transition from normality to beyond-genius is intriguing, but it is hard for Anderson to convince us of the consequences. For example, I tend to doubt that many people would immediately refuse to perform mundane jobs, thus crashing the economy.
The beginning pages of the book are definitely the best, where the world wakes up to find itself curiously smarter as the transformation process begins.
It seems almost churlish to suggest that it should be longer and that the characters would have had more to say if they had the space - and as a weakness then it is a minor one.
This is a Classic and you're missing out if you don't read this one.
Anderson at his best is hard to beat, and this is among his best works. Every lover of Science Fiction should read and own this novel, as should anyone who loves a good yarn that stretches the reader's imagination.