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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 60 reviews
on February 19, 2014
This is my favorite book and I had been looking for a hard copy at a reasonable price for some time. The seller provided just that. It was a library copy so there are some identification stickers on the dust jacket but other than that the book is as described, in great condition, and arrived promptly. I would recommend this seller.
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on October 3, 2000
Signal to Noise reads much like one would imagine a corraboration between Philip K. Dick and Larry Niven would read. The science is generally hard (with one exception: see below), but not nearly so hard as the oppressive sense of paranoia and lurking evil.
Everyone around Jack, the protagonist, is a potential enemy. Every time he takes a step forward, he runs the risk of finding that he's been walking in the wrong direction. Even his good intentions can have (literally) Earth shattering consequences. And we, the audience, share his paranoia. After awhile, the reader begins to feel like he's navigating a bewildering maze of smoke and mirrors, filled with razor-wire and spring-loaded spikes.
The one area where hard science gives way to soft metaphore is via the sophisticated neural-integrated virtual reality technology of the book. Here the book really starts to seem like a PDK work. In a brilliant variation of the tired, old VR theme, Nylund does not create his artificial experiences out of pixels projected on to retinas, but out of vivid metaphors projected directly into the brain. There is a very literal dream quality to those sequences, heightening the sense of paranoia and the nightmare sense of running down an infinite corridore being chased by ever-closer enemies.
It is a good book. True, it could have been better. The characters could have had a tad more depth (although, in a story filled with shadows, too much depth can be a bad thing) and some of the philosophizing strike a tin note. Never the less, it is an engaging and compelling story that plays to that part of our psyche that Kafka used to explore so very well. It was the stort of story that demanded completion by me even as I came to feel stifled by the oppressiveness of the plot. It is absolutely sadistic that it leaves so much to the sequel -- and absolutely delightful that it torments the reader by doing so.
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on October 1, 2006
Eric Nylund brings together unique and wicked sci-fi themes and creates a story that has no slow parts. Some have criticized his writing style, and his characters are certainly clichéd, the beautiful female asian assassin/friend, the rouge double agent who you never quite sure what side he is on, the "break the rules" but good-hearted protagonist, you get the idea. It seems though that Nylund knows this and plays to its strengths and when part of the plot gets crazy, the characters react with real and emotional response.

Yet despite the cliché's, the characters especially Jack, the protagonist, still come across as authentic and interesting. Nylund uses a broad canvas to "paint" a richly descriptive world with the not so future "bubble environments." A fresh spin off and deviation of the cyberpunk worlds of Gibson, Moriarty, Stross, etc. I also enjoyed how one initial decision, to deal with the alien, keeps spiraling out of control, despite the same plot line working in any crime noir environment.

Anyone who enjoys the style of going in and out of cyber worlds will find one of Jack's escapes from the NSA types after him, ingenious in its simplicity. There is a sequel to this but Nylund should be given pounds of credit for making it a stand-alone book, with a solid ending. Nothing is more aggravating (see Peter Hamilton's Pandora Star) as investing the time in a book only to find out that it's the first in a series, without there being any indication in the jacket's cover.
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on September 15, 2000
Nyland's "Signal to Noise" is at times confusing, at times deep, and at all times absorbing.
The "good" are his remarkable ideas that truly provoke off-line (or off-book) pondering: the mysterious enzyme, a trade from the alien Wheeler (and dealer?) and what it's effect might be on different personalities; Jack Potter's forced mental implant and it's effect on his psi capabilities; the "gateway" with the puzzles of its power source and its capabilities. Probably included in this short list is Nylund's visualization of software code when Jack is absorbed in the virtual reality wherein he is a supreme expert at synthesizing new information from a complex of myriad data streams.
The "bad" are the confused and confusing relationships between Jack and his 2 friends and business partners, Jack and the ominous NSO governmental spy organization, Jack and the alien Wheeler. Each twist of the tale brings surprising and dangerous changes to what we cautiously took as real.
The "ugly" is the final result of Jack's new found ability to communicate.
Don't be put off by all this. I relished the characters, all of them including "Uncle" Reno, the super-spy Panda, the gene witch Zero and the entire rest of the cast. They all took their assigned roles and played them to perfection.
I highly recommend this intriguing and thought provoking adventure.
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on May 16, 2001
It is easy to get into this book. Nylund's writing style is fast paced and kind of witty. Very much in the cyberpunk vein, like Gibson, but toned down alot. It's feels like a much more stable world (although it isn't supposed to be). Depending on whether you are one who enjoys the journey, or the ending, will determine what you think of this book. It's a great journey, and it does build on some great new cyber like ideas. But in the end it all starts feeling a little generic, and at the climax, all the characters remain resolved. No twists, no back stabs, no sudden awakenings. Which is kind of nice, but just don't expect a bang at the end. Well, not a literary one anyway.
stepHan r. gyory
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on August 6, 2006
Well, what can I say? A great book, blending intricate details of a technical, near-post-apocolyptic society with grand-scale espionage and intrigue while tying all that in with how just 3 working-class characters fit into it. It'll keep you guessing the whole time about who's on who's side and what the main character will do next. I highly recommend this book and its sequel, "A Signal Shattered." Eric Nylund's works on Halo is what got me interested in his other works.
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on March 8, 2016
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The sequel is just as good!
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on September 27, 2001
I'm always on the lookout for good "hard" science fiction, so it was with great pleasure that I read this book. Nylund's confident grasp of a wide range of advanced theoretical physics is mixed with a humorous writing style and meticulous attention to story line and character. The "T"s are crossed and the "I"s dotted (no loose ends or deux ex machina solutions) -- and the story goes at such a clip you'll have a hard time putting it down. I'm looking forward to more from this author!
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on December 4, 2000
I bought this book (unfortunately, along with the sequel, "The signal shattered") on the strength of the Amazon reviews and the editorial blurb alone, and was severely disappointed. Nylund's degrees in chemistry and physics do not prevent him from consistently misspelling gallium arsenide (the name of an actual, not fictional, semiconductor) as "gallium arsinide," or describing a reactor that "burns" (that is, oxidizes) iron oxide (other examples of this kind abound in the book). The blurb on the inside back cover, where Nylund's science training is proudly mentioned, also states that he graduated from some kind of writing workshop. Apparently, this did not do him much good: gems such as "The files were erased. By who?" can be found on every page (by the way, about half of the sentences in the book seem to be just this long, or shorter). By the time the reader's hopes for some kind of basic scientific credibility, or at least decent English, fade, it also becomes clear that Nylund's characters are as flat as his syntactic structures. Bottom line: don't get trapped with this book on a long flight.
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on June 27, 2001
you like cyber-punk and math? Read it. The first half of the book is taking you up the learning curve and then hold onto your seat......and buy the sequel SIGNAL SHATTERED at the same time, you won't want to stop .....
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