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The Goliath Stone by [Niven, Larry, Harrington, Matthew Joseph]
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The Goliath Stone Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Length: 318 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

What happens when humans tamper with the natural course of evolution without anticipating the effect of their actions? Answer: absolutely nothing good. Niven and Harrington’s novel follows Dr. Toby Glyer, a brilliant scientist and the man responsible for creating nanonites. Early in his career, Glyer’s nanonites were shot onto an asteroid for the purpose of study and then promptly forgotten about. Twenty-five years later, the same asteroid is now on a collision course with earth, and driving the asteroid are evolved, now-sentient nanonites. If this impending doom at the hands of nanonites was not enough, Dr. Glyer suspects that humans, to amazing side effects, are unknowingly ingesting these evolved nanonites. Incredibly, across the nation, cancer is down, infant mortality is down, terrorism is down, and acts of violence are down. But a darker side is brewing; suicide of a very particular section of the population is skyrocketing. With witty dialogue and laugh-inducing prose, this is an incredibly fun read, sure to entertain sf fans. --Alison Downs


“Who knew nanotechnology could be this much fun? The Goliath Stone is a fast read, filled with fascinating characters and mind-bending concepts. I should have worn a crash helmet.” ―Larry Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Exit Plan

The Goliath Stone takes a giant step beyond Lucifer's Hammer into a future so brilliantly rendered that it feels shockingly real. This stunning book is Niven at the absolute top of his game, a sure-fire award-winner and fan pleaser. First-class reading pleasure.” ―Whitley Strieber, New York Times bestselling author of The Grays

“Niven is a galaxy-class storyteller.” ―Time Magaine

Product Details

  • File Size: 676 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Publication Date: June 25, 2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C74OY7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,561 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised some reviewers took this book seriously.

It is a prank by Niven and Harrington. (Look at their photo).

They even have the hero talk about how to write a romance, while really writing to us readers about how some write SF.

So, how do they do? Ok, but not great. 2.5 stars. The science is ludicrous, the situations impossible (best selling romance author sets world records in most Olympic events, kills evil people, conquers AIDS, while telling jokes non-stop). The exaggerations are to satirize authors who throw a few cliches (asteroids on course to destroy Earth) and stock futuristic concepts (nanobiology) into a story featuring Heinlein-type heroes and call it SF. The pace is quick, the one-liners are many, and the SF references are everywhere.

Just don't take it seriously, or the final laugh is on you!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Niven wrote Ringworld. I respect him for that. He's obviously a bright guy. But "The Goliath Stone" is Larry Niven at his worst. It's mostly 1) people sitting around deducing things or 2) a genius talking about brilliant things he's already accomplished.

Get ready for a lot of monologues like this (I've made this up, it's not in the book, but it might as well be): "The hair on my arms is lighter. That could only happen if the sun's corona had changed, which could only have happened if someone made a shield of nanobots to deflect the blue end of the spectrum, and a quick online search shows me that there's only one lab, in Russia, who could do that work."

Repeat about 1,000 times.

Along with (very mild spoilers) plenty of, "why did the bad guy's head just explode?!" "Oh yeah, I infected him with nanos to do that," and "the enemy's ship is suddenly disabled!" "Oh yeah, it turns out I designed it and put in a back door so I could do that." Wow, let's all clap for the genius who's already accomplished everything, before the book even starts.

Plus some good doses of contempt for people who disagree with Niven's politics. That's always fun.

Nobody bats 1000. Nobody writes a hit every time. Read Niven's other work, not this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because Larry Niven is listed as a co-author (in larger print), and I have enjoyed his novels for 30 years. But the prose is overwhelmingly dominated by silly repartee, largely based on pop-culture (and occasionally literary) references -- all the while attempting to imply a very-high IQ on the part of both participants by skipping every other item (implying anyone smart would fill in the missing parts exactly the same way the author did), but instead coming across more like a TV game show, where the measure of intelligence is how many trivia one has mastered.

In addition, as others have noted, all the good guys have a strong libertarian bent -- which I wouldn't normally mind at all, being semi-inclined that way myself -- but this isn't just in dialog. It's also heavily represented in the third person omniscient interludes, which one longs for after slogging through the mind-numbing trivia-dialogs, so it comes across as a book-drenching polemic, unavoidable on pretty much every page. Global warming is apparently a big-government ploy to ensnare more people in big government, among many similar far-right-wing standard ploys.

What happened to Larry Niven? Sure, in the Ringworld series, there is very little big government and the interesting stuff happens because of the intelligence and enterprise of innovative individuals rather than nation-states. But to me this novel has very little of that Niven character, though perhaps (hopefully) he at least contributed to the large-picture bits about nanotechnology and the space and asteroid parts. Has Niven deserted his readership?

I started this review with a single star, but am raising it to two solely out of respect for Larry Niven -- may he return to us while he still can -- not based on the content of this book itself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm going to reiterate what was said earlier: (1) this book is full of knee-jerk political positions and (2) there is no real conflict.

Ringworld was a classic- it showed us something we hadn't seen before. Known Space in general was fun and interesting. Building Harlequin's Moon combined incredible technological power with serious moral dilemma and character development. Lucifer's Hammer similarly has good character development, and also proves Niven can write in the near-term "real" world.

None of that was present in this book. There's no character development- things just happen to the people the reader happens to follow. It turns into a book about poorly executed deus ex machina. There is no moral quandary, ever, for any of the characters, because at least one of them is immortal and basically omniscient, can raise people from the dead, and utterly assured of his own decisions and path without having to fear the consequences of being wrong.

The authors created a meddling nano-mechanical transhuman god, and seem to present him as the harbinger of a libertarian golden age. However, despite all the references to Heinlein, and the praise of libertarian voters (while ignoring the existence crazies that shroud their extremist beliefs in libertarianism), the reality of this novel is that the authors created a world where there is no option to be bad, where mass murder of "offenders" is sanctioned, and where one man has made himself some sort of benevolent dictator that can read minds. Oh, and he's interfered with women's biology without their consent. In short, a substantial part of free will has been destroyed in this "libertarian" paradise, and thus so has moral heroism.
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