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Further: Beyond the Threshold Paperback – May 22, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 198 customer reviews

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"Further is a Star Trek for our current age, one that takes into account not only hot-button topics like trans-humanism and genetic modification, but presents a snapshot of the future that is more realistically diverse (friendly sentient whales notwithstanding)." -MTV Geek

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SF and graphic-novel writer Roberson spins an entertaining tale of a cryogenically frozen spaceship captain who wakes up 12,000 years in the future. RJ Stone rises to a startling new society, the multiworld Human Entelechy, and a startling new concept of humanity (the definition of human having been expanded to include “uplifted” animal species and artificial sentient beings). Stone, still trying to get his bearings in this new world, is offered a tantalizing job: to captain the first faster-than-light spaceship. Naturally, it turns out to be a highly risky proposition. Tonally, the novel is a bit uneven: sometimes it sounds like a space opera (suggesting such authors as Alastair Reynolds and Neal Asher), and at other times like a light comedy. On the other hand, the story is captivating, full of imaginative technologies (interlinks, thresholds, and some very nifty personal weaponry) and inventive characters: dog-people, Anachronists (who re-create the past and get it almost entirely wrong), and a sort of holographic recreation of Stone’s long-dead shipmate. It’s impossible not to like the book, and readers will eagerly await the sequel the author seems to promise with the book’s final words. — David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: 47North (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612182437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612182438
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,483,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I gave this book four stars because it is clearly and carefully written, with a good deal of humor. It also has a fascinating far future setting -- 12,000 years in the future -- that is appropriately disorienting to the hero, Jason Ramachandra Stone, a half-Indian, half-African-American astronaut displaced in time by a failure in his sleeper ship's mechanism that left him and his crew off-course and asleep for centuries.

The author takes many science fiction cliches -- astronaut awakening from long sleep centuries away from his own era, gateways to other planets allowing instantaneous travel, humans who look like animals, uploads of peoples' brains so that they can live forever, eternal youth due to nanotechnology -- and gives them fresh life.

The book has some wonderful set pieces where history buffs from the future approach Captain Stone and show hilarious misunderstandings of his era.

The reason I did not give the book five stars were some glaring improbabilities. I couldn't imagine why this far future culture would put Captain Stone in charge of its most futuristic star ship, given how primitive his science knowledge must have been on arrival.

The author's assumption that all of the intelligent people in the far future will be atheists is very unlikely. The bad guys in the novel are devoutly religious and destructive fundamentalists. This is another science fiction cliche, but the author did not give it convincing new life. The bad guys are very stereotyped in their appearance and beliefs -- cartoonish.

Finally, I had a problem with the multi-worlds government, supposed to be a supremely wise group.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm torn on how to review this book. I think it is wildly imaginative. For instance, the premise is great--a deep space explorer is woken from cryogenic suspension later than he expected. Sure, that notion has been used before in everything from Rip Van Winkle to Buck Rogers to Aliens. But what sets this book apart is the amount of time involved. Not tens or even hundreds of years, but thousands.

The irony here is that the protagonist (Captain RJ Stone) went out looking for alien life, but by the time he awakes, humans are the aliens. And I don't exaggerate when I say that. In the future this book describes (one 12,000 years hence) "human" is a nebulous term. There are human "beings" in mechanical bodies and in lab-grown biological (but not necessarily human in appearance) bodies. There are distributed intelligences (consciousness shared over more than one body), animals that have been "uplifted" to sentience, humans reconstructed from former memories...it has the makings of the cantina scene in Star Wars, except all the creatures can trace their origin to Earth. But even Earth has radically changed too.

Because the future is so very different from our own, "Further" spends many pages in description and exposition. Much of that is probably necessary, given the foreignness of the surroundings. However, it means that about two-thirds of the book is spent touring around and talking to creatures, and discovering still more human-based creatures. To the book's credit, I never felt like it was dragging. The new things were interesting enough to hold my attention. But if you're looking for Star Wars style action, you won't find it here until the end. And then it comes in a hurry.
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19 Comments 73 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been a fan of Chris Roberson's work for a few years now. He may, though, be a bit of an acquired taste. He doesn't deal with hard science, like classic Larry Niven. He doesn't delve into esoteric ideas like Vernor Vinge. He doesn't unleash sprawling space operas on the scale of Peter Hamilton. And he doesn't dish out complicated military SF like David Weber. But he takes elements from all of these, and what he does, he makes look easy.

I regard him primarily as a stylist. He excels at sketching in new universes and settings in a few quick, broad strokes without bogging down into smothering detail, and he can introduce large concepts without undue flourishes and hoopla. His prose is clean and straightforward and propulsive, moving along smoothly to the major action set-pieces and resetting in between the dramatic high points with a few reflective character moments. I would, though, have liked in this present volume to have had a bit more development of the protagonist, your standard Man Out of Time, who reacts to the revelation that hundreds of years have passed him by and made him obsolete with the equivalent of an unruffled "Bummer, man...but what can you do?" I might have preferred a *bit* more angst than that.

I'm oddly reminded of Peter David's initial Star Trek: New Frontier books here. As with those, much of the focus of this novel is on introducing the ship, an unfamiliar and unwanted captain, and its eccentric crew. Again, a bit more time spent with the supporting cast would've been nice, but your average Roberson novel gets skittish when the page count nears 300. This is, in any case, a real solid introduction to what hopefully will become an ongoing series, and I look forward to future installments and seeing how the characters will be fleshed out.
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