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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Dust Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Jacob's Ladder Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bear proves there's still juice in one of science fiction's oldest tropes, the stranded generation ship, in this complex coming-of-age tale. Rien, a handmaid in a feudal society, must care for the prisoner Ser Perceval—a mutilated enemy who Rien discovers is her half-sister by an absent scion of the ruling family. Their quest for a safer home tangles with their society's own quest for safety, as the descendents of an artificial intelligence and the genetically engineered crew battle for control to save the ship from an impending supernova. Standard plot devices litter the familiar landscape: tarot, pseudo-angels, named swords with powers, and politics as a family quarrel. But Campbell Award–winning author Bear uses them beautifully to turn up the pressure on her characters, who r respond by making hard choices. And—as she did in Carnival and Hammered—Bear breaks sexual taboos matter-of-factly: love in varied forms drives the characters without offering easy redemption. (Jan.)
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“Bear proves herself to be one of the most talented writers currently working in the field.” —Romantic Times

“Extraordinary ... exactly the kind of brilliantly detailed, tightly plotted, roller-coaster book she has led her readers to expect, replete with a fantastic cast of characters.”—Booklist, starred review

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055359107X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553591071
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Elizabeth Bear has created a new spin on the multi-generational, planet-sized spaceship saga. Without spoiling the delicate suspense, the ship is crippled, in orbit around an unstable star system. The warring factions, who represent the officers vs engineering--must unite to save this world. The ship's Artificial Intelligences have splintered into competitive entities. The genetically altered inhabitants fight viciously over symbiont colonies of nanotech--and power tools have gained the ability speak and think for themselves. This disjointed elements must come together to ensure their survival.

Sounds like the coldest of high-tech science fiction, right? Well, it is, but Ms. Bear has managed to include angels, mythology, chivalry, knights, religion and imaginary creatures such as basilisks in a completely plausable way. She has combined a faux-medieval fantasy with hard science fiction--brilliantly.

Intricate, imaginative use of nanotechnology, wonderful "world-building"--I could smell and hear the sounds of the crippled ship, her descriptions were so vivid. Excitement, drama and emotional depth aplenty! I fell in love with the ship, and its inhabitants.

I cannot wait for the sequel.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many authors--and Elizabeth Bear may be the finest of them--confuse action with agency. Action is easy: things just have to happen. Agency is hard--it requires characters with personalities strong and subtle enough to impress their will upon larger events. Bear's protagonists Percival and Rien may have been subtle in their emotions, but they do blessed little about it. The characters realize they are embroiled in a conspiracy to create war, but never lose their tempers. Even greater events distract them from catastrophic war, but there are so many characters popping in and out to guide or beguile them that "deus ex machina" looses whatever drama was not lost already to cliche. Meanwhile, the "angels" who understand more about the greater task are not--enough. Not wicked, not conflicted, not dangerous--enough. They may be (and have) fantastic ideas, but they lack the drama that should be inherent in beings who are both angels (one is audaciously named Samael, another name in Christian stories for Lucifer) and the wild shards of some ruined ur-personality that once ran an entire world contained in a interstellar ship. (A note for the defensive: Drama does not have to be Machiavellian speeches or ruthless violence. It just has to amp up the emotional impact.)

Where the book really shines is the environment in which the characters exist. A brilliantly concept that fuses interstellar travel with genetic engineering and environmentalist peril, this ship is a menagerie of genius. This is made possible, in part, because Bear is an expert of the adjective. None of her descriptions are stale, and her turn of phrase is wonderfully suited to her quasi-archaic civilization. I especially enjoyed that the ultimate enemy, the deadly void of space, became the swear word--"space!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Dust" is a futuristic sci-fi set in a dying space ship, whose inhabitants have forgotten all but their current setting. The main characters are a fragment of a computer AI, a winged lady (upper class) with fantastic nano-tech, and a young woman (servant). The young woman rescues the winged lady and they escape together, hoping to avert war.

"Dust" presents a fascinating universe. The setting is very creative, with an innovative new idea every few pages. Unfortunately, the characters aren't very likeable and don't seem to have much personality. For example, the young woman discovers that she was abandoned by her father, and doesn't seem to care. I just didn't connect to them, emotionally. About half way through the book, I set it down and didn't feel any urge to find out how it ended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I first saw Dust, I didn't know what to think and this feeling persisted as I started reading it as the book begins rather confusingly. Somehow, this is all to the author's credit because the way in which things are introduced becomes seamlessly woven into the tale and allowing you to follow along as though it all made sense from the beginning. You will be thrown into a strange world and not know what to make of it, but you will be given everything you need in relatively short order and then things really come together.

I can say that the world in Dust is fairly unique and told in a way which really and truly worked. It can be hard for an author to introduce readers to the unfamiliar, but the most difficult way I feel is to do so without utilizing a character whom is ignorant themselves. Elizabeth Bear manages to do this without any struggle or mistep.

I will touch briefly on the part of this story I found was the weakest and I say this with the tiniest mention because it was only what stopped it from getting five stars. The characters are developed, dynamic, multifaceted and deep, but they are a touch too few. There is a slight sense of the world lacking around the edges which I found a little unfortunate. I understood what the other people who arn't mentioned or named are like or might be like or doing, but I would of loved to actually get to read about them. I guess what I'm trying to say is this book could of easily been a thousand pages without overstaying it's welcome. There were aspects I understood, such as Rein having friends back home, but not enough development for me to mourn them as she had to leave home and the same holds true for percivial.
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