- Series: Del Rey Impact
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (February 29, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034543529X
- ISBN-13: 978-0345435293
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 205 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dragon's Egg (Del Rey Impact) Paperback – February 29, 2000
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“A knockout . . . In science fiction there is only a handful of books that stretch the mind—and this is one of them.”—Arthur C. Clarke
“Bob Forward writes in the tradition of Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity and carries it a giant step (how else?) forward.”—Isaac Asimov
“Dragon’s Egg is superb. I couldn’t have written it; it required too much real physics.”—Larry Niven
“This is one for the real science-fiction fan.”—Frank Herbert
“Robert L. Forward tells a good story and asks a profound question. If we run into a race of creatures who live a hundred years while we live an hour, what can they say to us or we to them?”—Freeman J. Dyson
“Forward has impeccable scientific credentials, and . . . big, original, speculative ideas.”—The Washington Post
From the Inside Flap
In a moving story of sacrifice and triumph, human scientists establish a relationship with intelligent lifeforms--the cheela--living on Dragon's Egg, a neutron star where one Earth hour is equivalent to hundreds of their years. The cheela culturally evolve from savagery to the discovery of science, and for a brief time, men are their diligent teachers . . .
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The evolving intelligent life lives at roughly a million times our rate, and exists and thrives in an environment literally too crushing for us to imagine. We follow these creatures from being barbarians to becoming an advanced species. A logical progression, only part of which is guided by contact with humanity.
The descriptions by Forward of conditions and movements on Egg is hard to follow at first, but the book has data in the back to help you. If the gravity and magnetic fields that rule the lives of the cheela (the tiny, likeable, amoeba-like creatures) is confusing, go to the back material for explanations and visual aids. Because of the intense nuclear density of material that they and their "world" are made of, they have equal or greater complexity of body design to ours, and it is extremely well described by the author. After all, he has an actual scientific background in the physics involved. However, this isn't a physics text, and the story and the lives of the cheela are interesting, and noble.
The inevitable meeting of the minds happens, and we start as their gods, then their teachers. However, at a million-to-one rate of living it isn't easy to communicate, but eventually the friendly and grateful students surpass their teachers. There is no possibility of competition or conflict because neither species needs (or could use) what the other species has, other than freely shared knowledge. it is reasonable, and gratifying that there is no source for conflict, only cooperation. I recommend this book highly, for originality and for an excellent depiction of an environment we can NEVER explore directly.
I don't want to be a cheela, but I'd love to meet them.
The story of the rise of the cheela civilisation was enthralling. I won't go in to the plot as many others have done but what I will say is this, if you like hard sci fi and are fascinated by how intelligent life would evolve under completely different conditions to us then this is a must read. The story is quite humorous in places and I particularly enjoyed how the rise in their technology was reflected in how they were named. As another reviewer has mentioned, when humans and cheela finally meet, it is indeed a blast and had me smiling.
As a few others have mentioned, the human characters are quite one dimensional however I didn't see that as a bad thing at all, there are plenty of other novels out there where the story is based around the human character development. In this case I think it was much better for the humans to take a back seat, trust me the cheela were far more interesting!!
They discover that it is populated incredibly by tiny sentient beings whose lives span in minutes. The reader follows the entire evolution of life on Dragons Egg.
I found I couldn't put this book down. The author told an amazing story about primitive beings who after being contacted by humans go on to acquire all the knowledge humanity has to offer and then ultimately surpasses them.
An absolutely wonderful book.
It's an intriguing idea, dealing with differing time frames, so that what takes one group (humans) hours to do, works out to months or years to the aliens. I'm not sure that giving aliens an encyclopedia of human knowledge and history would be such a great idea in actuality but it works in the book. I'm trying to walk a very fine line between a full review, which of necessity would divulge too much of the book, and simply urging someone to read it.....but without saying WHY..... in any event, this is one I am glad I bought and read at almost one sitting.
I recommend this book highly----and I'd pay full price for it if I had to!
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