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Spider Star Hardcover – March 4, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This hectic tale of ancient aliens on an artificial world orbits the star-sized egos of zealous archeologist Manuel Rusk and altruistic interstellar explorer Frank Klingston. After Rusk accidentally sets off a defense system left on colony world Argo by long-gone aliens, the two must travel to the near-mythical world called Spider Star in hopes of finding someone who can turn it off before it bombs the colony into oblivion. Upon arrival, Klingston and some of the crew are captured by spiderlike aliens and rushed through the corridors of the Star in scenes resembling the disjointed action of a video game, while Rusk takes to the air in a rather improbable balloon. The premise of an artificial environment and multiple alien races has potential, but the realization is incomplete and the characterization stereotypical, so readers will respond primarily to the story's strong and reliable pacing (though with a rather rushed denouement) and intriguing premise. (Mar.)
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“Readers hungry for the thought-provoking extrapolation and rigorous technical detail of old-fashioned hard SF are sure to enjoy astronomer Brotherton's first novel. An amazingly detailed world and a story full of scientific wonder.”
--Publishers Weekly on Star Dragon

Star Dragon is steeped in cosmology, the physics of interstellar travel, exobiology, artificial intelligence (in the form of the ship's brain, which is modeled on Ernest Hemingway), bioscience, and other things...a dramatic, provocative, utterly convincing hard-science sf novel that includes an ironic twist that fans will love.”
--Booklist Starred Review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765311259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765311252
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,977,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you can deal with the sometimes stiff writing and penciled in character relationships you'll find a book that has a lot to offer fans of hard science fiction.

One of the best aspects of the book is that it has a lot of heart, especially in the way that it handles the motivations of its main characters. For the most part these feel like real people making real mistakes and decisions in a very difficult situation. The relationships between these characters--in particular the romance sub-plots--aren't very well drawn though, which detracts from a number of the things that we are supposed to care about. There are also several questionable decisions made by characters in this book, but as I mentioned earlier I feel those decisions lend themselves to the reality of the characters. In fact decision making is one of the main themes running through the book (how do you make decisions when there is no rule book to follow? What is the right thing to do in an impossible situation).

Still there are some great themes of sacrifice and family that continued to pull me through the book.

Probably my other favorite aspect of the book was the science, which is very well laid out. Fans of physics will find a lot to enjoy in the setting of this book, which definitely pushes some boundaries. It's a pretty good mix of fiction theoretical physics that comes together to create a cohesive (if bizarre) setting. I was also impressed with the way the writer worked to incorporate other sciences. Often with hard sci-fi all you get is a lot of physics jargon, but this book mixed in archeology, medicine, military, linguistics, and computers.

The writing itself has some nice moments of humor, but can be occasionally too dry.
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Format: Hardcover
I discovered this book in the new scifi section of my local library. I was slowly drawn in to care about the characters. The author mentions 'The Hobbit', 'There and back again', & 'You can't go home again' as if he is telling us what to expect. He is, and he surpasses my expectations. The science is exciting, the descriptions vivid, the imagery superb. The story moves along logically, in spite of a mind-boggling concept planet and alien aliens. The surprises are surprising, the reader is made aware of our humanity in a vast universe, and the resolutions are creative. The ultimate wrap-up of the story-arc made me weep. It is what I hoped for but did not expect. Bravo !
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Format: Hardcover
A "Dark-Matter" science fiction book heavy in science and adventure, I found it an exciting read. The people and place are detailed and the adventure worth following. The book moves along at just the right pace and is divided into smaller sized chapters, giving the reader places to pause, making the book easier to read. The amount of science is higher than many other sci-fi books (something that I like very much) but is not too overwhelming, giving just enough to allow the reader to believe that it is real. Don't worry, I won't give anything away but I hope that author Mike Brotherton does a follow up book covering "the search!"
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Format: Hardcover
Humans have settled on a planet formerly occupied by an (apparently) extinct race. While exploring ruins, they accidentally trigger a doomsday device left behind by the aliens. A team of "Specialists" go racing accross the Galaxy to find the Spider Star mentioned in alien folklore, hoping to find a way to stop the doomsday device.

Take 5 parts of Clarke's "Rama" series, mix with 3 parts "Armegeddon" movie, add in one part of Niven's "Integral Trees", along with a dash of rishathra, then stir well.

While the main characters were romping about the Spider Star, one really couldn't miss the Rama connection, and Clarke did it better. Dropping heavy objects off your dirigible onto a populated area and expecting no reaction? Not rational.

The rationale behind the decision to travel to the Spider Star mode no sense as well. If it was within reach, and held such wonders, why had no one gone before? If the only evidence of its existence was a folk tale, why send your best and brightest on a 50-year goose chase when the world is in peril?

To sum up: un-original plot and setting with characters making decisions that made no sense.
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