City at the End of Time Kindle Edition
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“[A] triumphant return to large-scale SF . . . beautifully written.”—Publishers Weekly, A Best Book of the Year
“[City at the End of Time] has the flavor of weird fantasy, closer in its feel to the works of Neil Gaiman or China Miéville than anything Bear has done before. It . . . has an epic depth.”—Sci Fi Weekly
“A gripping, original tale.”—NewScientist
“Powerful and evocative.”—Analog
“Superlative . . . an excellent, excellent work.”—Harlan Ellison
“Compelling . . . a remarkable tour de force of sustained visionary writing . . . one of Bear’s best novels, perhaps even the very best.”—Locus
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B002U3CC74
- Publisher : Gollancz (September 18, 2008)
- Publication date : September 18, 2008
- Language: : English
- File size : 1366 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 484 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #210,383 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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So what is this book, for people who want to sort out all the glowing and nasty reviews? I would call it Bear's take on The Golden Compass with other more interesting mythologies in place of the Judeo-Christian religious framework of those books. It's also not accurately described as a hard SF book, which is a disservice by the publisher. It does however make some profound conjectures about the structure of time, completely aside from its multiverse mechanic, the former of which are strangely unmentioned in either the positive or negative reviews I have read. And whereas the multiverse aspect is quite clear in its definition, there's no place in the book where a narrator sits you down and explicitly shows the way in which time isn't what we think it is. You need to figure that out from the characters and their roles.
If that sounds like a slog, you may not enjoy this book.
It is a book clever enough to parody its own hundred-trillion-year pretense. Do you really believe that a thinker of Bear's caliber doesn't understand the corniness of the cats thing? Could it be that this book, being obviously an allegory about books, stories, and writers among other things, used this device as a little in-joke and commentary on writing as are so many other things in the book?
If the pretentiousness of self-parodying one's pretentiousness strikes you as baroque sophistry, you may not enjoy this book.
I believe this is a very personal book for Greg Bear, in which he wrote something for himself based on the things that he thinks are cool, rather than creating something biased by what he thinks readers will buy. And the reviews reflect that. However, I know that some people get it - after I read City I was searching the web and found a long rambling analysis / critique that a guy (Mike Glosson) posted on Bear's web site: a 3-part essay titled "A Fractured Eternity." Turns out this guy (who obviously has a lot of time on his hands) was very insightful and did the research to make the connections - I would highly recommend reading that essay, but not until you've read the book.
In a nutshell, if you like puzzles, philosophy, metaphors, and obscure references and aren't averse to searching Wikipedia for clues, chances are you will like this book. If you're the kind of person who watched Memento and got mad because it wasn't explained to you "what really happened," then you're really going to hate City at the End of Time.
As a math geek with pretentious artistic inclinations, I give it five hyperthumbs up.
While this novel is brilliant, it was ultimately boring due to its slow, repetitive plotting and its use of well-worn ideas which have been seen in numerous novels previously (including novels by Greg Bear himself). This novel often plods along for scores of pages at a time without anything interesting happening or any advancement in the plot; hence, I was rather bored most of the time. If Mr. Bear had distilled this novel to approximately half its length it would have been much more satisfying. Lastly, I hate that Mr. Bear resorted to a deus ex machina ending (I HATE such endings). I appreciated Mr. Bear's clever use of mythology and symbolism. I also appreciated his writing style in this novel (it reminds me of Samuel R. Delany at his best).
In the end, "City at the End of Time" was brilliant, but boring. Although it was disappointing, I shall continue to buy every Greg Bear book that is published. He is a great writer: I am always hoping he will hit it out of the park (so to speak) one more time again.
But I got to tell the City at the End of Time totally captivated me. The first time I was exposed to it was through the audio book (which I also highly recommend). But audio books for all the drama of the spoken word still limits you in that you really have to listen. Well duh right? But what I mean is that if you miss something you have to rewind yadi yada and try to pick up what you lost.
But with the printed work you can actually dwell of something. Really get your head around it. There is a LOT to get your head around in City. These are some of the most amazing concepts. I won't ruin for you. But read the damn book. If you like anything he has written, I have got to believe you will love this book.
I'm a cat lover. Hey I like dogs too, but I identify with cats. Cats play an amazing role in this book and not in the way you expect. There are fantastic heros. Astounding villains and gods and demons you have never seen before. And amazing cats!
My most favorite book about the end of all things. But is it REALLY the end? With Mr. Bear you never know. Thank you Greg Bear for this marvelous voyage into what may happen and the view of love and devotion and courage in the places you would least expect it. If you really like the unknown and unexpected and views of worlds never before seen you will love this this book. Watch out for the cats!!
Top reviews from other countries
There is a moment in it where one of the characters observes that, "the universe was running down; all the hope and joy draining out of it." The problem is that this comment does not just apply to the multiple universes within the book. It applies to the book itself. There is no zest here, no life.
Bear's vision may indeed be vast (as the reviewer from "The Guardian" asserts) spanning billions of years and multiple universes. Sadly, the imaginative energy with which this vision is delivered feels as if it would struggle to illuminate a dull Sunday afternoon in a 1970s bed-sit. Nothing happens. And nothing keeps on happening for page after page.
We are told repeatedly that monstrous forces are at work, that lives uncounted hang in the balance, and yet it never feels like it. The story trundles along, providing no actual evidence, no actual events, to justify the claims of the text. There is no terror, no tension, just an overwhelming feeling of drabness. Having created a context in which he has an infinite range of times, places, cultures and environments to pick from Bear has unaccountably decided to set the action is a series of locations which posses all the depth, colour, vibrancy and life of a provincial airport at four o'clock in the morning. And peopled it with characters to match.
This book is draining to read. I stuck it out for three hundred pages hoping that something would happen to justify my investment of time and attention, and then I realised that even if it got ten times better it still wouldn't be good enough of a pay back for what I'd already read. It would not be enough to make me care. I gave up, and it felt so good to not have to read it any more.
I think the main criticism for me was that I couldn't identify with the characters as well as the fact that so much of the story was pointless. Its a good job I have already read brilliant stories written by Greg Bear but the next time I'll read the revues before buying one.
Too many good ideas and virtually no literary merit.
At least for the first half of the book. Slowly but surely you notice that half of the questions in the book will never be answered. The characters have a tendency to never remember anything and indicate they never will. Any notion of science fiction becomes lost to a tale of haphazard tale of fantasy. Lots of jumbled pieces get mixed about and ultimately never fit together.
And certainly the last quarter of the book you're basically just dragged through the same material. The same people remembering and forgetting things and just not understanding. It really isn't surprising though, since at the half-way point it was pretty clear what the story was building up to. And as you continue reading you get the feeling that Greg Bear didn't have a good ending (and he doesn't) but feels that if he keeps throwing up new imagery and new mysteries it'll somehow make for a great story. It doesn't.
This is a story that starts with promise and degenerates into a bumbling mess of nonsense.
Thinly-characterised, filled with mere anecdote, drowned in scenery, and devoid of plot. As an entertainment, it is an utter failure.
Greg Bear has written many strikingly good books, and this disaster is in marked contrast to them all.
If you are new to this author, read his perfectly-realised "Heads" and its sequel, "Moving Mars". If you have a taste for spectacle, read his wonderful "Eon" and "Eternity".
No stars. Not even one.