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The Giants Novels (Inherit the Stars, The Gentle Giants of Ganymede, and Giants' Star) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1994
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From the Inside Flap
first three books in the ground-breaking 21st century hard-science fiction saga by James P. Hogan:<br>INHERIT THE STARS<br>The skeletal remains of a human body are found on the moon. His corpse is 50,000 years old, and nobody knows who he was, how he got there, or what killed him. <br>THE GENTLE GIANTS OF GANYMEDE<br>A long-ago wrecked ship of alien giants is discovered by Earth's scientists on a frozen satellite of Jupiter. Then, spinning out of the vastness of space, a ship of the same strange, humanoid giants has returned....<br>GIANTS' STAR<br>Humans finally thought they comprehended their place in the universe...until Earth found itself in the middle of a power struggle between a benevolent alien empire and a cunning race of upstart humans who hated Earth!
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That said, I have a few issues that might concern other prospective readers:
In these novels, James P. Hogan writes a lot like Heinlein, only with a bit more science behind his fiction. He offers a very Utopian view of the future of earth, at least where men are concerned. Where women are concerned, though... Well, again he writes a lot like Heinlein. To be fair to Mr. Hogan, most of his later works are better on this score, but they're not under discussion here.
In "Inherit the Stars" (the first of the 3 novels in this edition), for example, there is only one woman mentioned by name, and she's some kind of assistant. Her biggest contribution in the few pages of the novel where she appears, is to recognize that some alien writing is probably a calendar because it's in something the "looks like a diary". That's right, he introduced a woman to recognize the diary because it's obviously a "woman thing". Her reward for her contribution is a condescending smile of acknowledgment from one of the men who did the "real" work. Ugh. He also consistently refers to women as girls.
The trend continues through the second novel ("The Gentle Giants of Ganymede"), though by "Giants' Star" (the last and best of the three) there are signs that Hogan has been thoroughly taken to task for his poor treatment of women in his novels, and he makes a certain amount of effort to redress the problem. That is not to say that he fully succeeds, but at least a couple of the main characters in "Giants' Star" are women who are more than just appendages to men, and one of the villains is partly identifiable as such because of his beastly treatment of women.
Still, though, most of the women I know would have a great deal of difficulty enjoying the first two of the three novels because Hogan's writing is so aggressively chauvinistic in them.
Also, my copy of this edition had a bad binding. Pages kept falling out, till by the end, I was left with a stack of loose ages and a separate cover. I don't know whether that's just a problem with my copy, or whether the whole printing has that flaw.
My last complaint is that in "Inherit the Stars", the basic conclusions of the novel become blindingly obvious by about page 90, yet a massive organization of scientific geniuses then takes the next 90 pages to figure it out.
Hogan's vision of the future is, as I mentioned, a sort of Utopian projection of 1960s Britain. Everybody smokes (even on spaceships - at one point, everyone's having brandy and cigars after dinner on a space outpost), cheap energy and a clean version of the atomic bomb have somehow made everybody stop hating each other (though "Giants' Star" does make some effort to make that plotline more plausible), and the world has become one big happy place, apart from a few bad apples who must of course be summarily dealt with. Just go with it. It mostly worked for Gene Roddenberry, so why can't Hogan do the same?
If you can work past these issues, though, this some really solid "old school", almost-hard science fiction.