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Standing Wave Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1998

2.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Lightpaths Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this mind-bending follow-up to Lightpaths, Hendrix sets existential philosophy on a collision course with quantum physics, presenting a 21st-century world in which the line between artificial intelligence and consciousness, between information and matter, has become so teased that the universe is about to have a space-time identity crisis. A host of characters are searching for a cyberspace murderer and seeking to understand recent mysterious cosmological occurrences. Hendrix extrapolates current social, political, and environmental conditions seamlessly into this future, but his discussions of scientific theory will many readers circling dangerously close to their own "information density singularity." Dialogue consists mainly of characters trying to explain the inexplicable: "The noosphere is becoming involuted into what Teilhard called a Hyperpersonal Consciousness... Matter and consciousness will reach the terminal phase of their convergent integration and become one." It also doesn't help that events and concepts are often explained long after initial references to them have befuddled readers. Still, Hendrix's postulation that "Everything happens twice?first as theology, then as technology" is compelling and worth the struggle to keep up with him.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Deeply felt (no doubt), cautious, and philosophical, STANDING WAVE is also rich, fearless, and ultimately powerful. Critic F.R. Leavis once said, "what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them." The noise that can be heard [on reading STANDING WAVE] is that of past texts reshuffling themselves into a new order. -- Nova Express, Fall/Winter 1999
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; First Printing edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441005535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441005536
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,603,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read 127 pages and was totally lost. There were so many subplots and the amount of assumed knowledge was staggering - I thought I was going senile. I couldn't weave any of the parts together - and I have a very high tolerance for ambiguity in SF. Then I realized that there had to have been a previous novel - one section, where there is a plot line about "tepui" and mushroom spores made me feel as if I was back in college and eating mescalin musrooms - it made no sense whatsoever - so hopefully (I luckily purchased LIGHT- PATHS when I bought STANDING WAVE) when I read the earlier book I can then understand what is going on. Also, there are just too many ideas here - making reference to some philosphical school without actually discussing it seems to me sophomoric and pretentious - either this is a novel that is trying to reach a wider audience or it is a mastabatory experience for a select "in" readership - you want to write a novel about philosohy? Sorry, it's been done with SOPHIE'S WORLD. I hope I didn't waste money on these two novels - it is very frustrating to read over 100 pages and then realize you are not being given all the necessary info to decode the writer's message. PLEASE say that something is part of a series even if the author feels a book can "stand alone" it should be part of the publishers message to the buyer that it would be best if the reader reads the earlier novels.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book is about the "enlightenment" of the universe.Most of the book are technobabble about consciousness, with not much actually happening.Unfortunately, the author uses a lot of technical words without knowing their meaning.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Normally, I enjoy a novel with a firm grasp of the lexicon combined with a comprehension of the science and the philosophy of life; however, I did not enjoy this book. I really tried. I appreciated his first book and thought if I just kept mucking through that I would come to enjoy even his self-conscious "witty" wordplay and mixed up physics/philosophy but at the end I was bothered that I'd wasted my time. Too often I found myself jolted by the authors insertion into the narrative in the sense that he too obviously finds himself very clever and thinks that the reader should also find him extremely erudite and jocose AND scientifically brilliant. As a person with degrees in hard science, psychology and philosophy I found many of his characters discourses reminiscent of late night student conversations while under the influence of too much food and/or intoxicants. Not surprisingly, we were galling to everybody but ourselves as well.
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I've been a Science Fiction reader for most of my life and have rarely come across a more unreadable book. It was very disjointed and served 'philosophy' to an unendurable point. The premise was interesting and drew me to it in the first place. The best comparison to be made with this book is to New Age pseudo-science and not Science Fiction. The use of complex (poorly understood) wording and longwinded discussions without basis does not serve the reader. The techno-babble comment from a prior review was well founded. Not recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I usually don't review books but some of the other reviews of this book were, I thought, rather unkind so anyway here is my two cents... first of all the author is true to the genre - 'Standing Wave' is nothing if not speculative and the authors grappling with the bleeding edge of theoretical physics, artificial intelligence and information theory is well done and integral to the story. The characters are interesting and multidimensional as, in some 'big idea' science fiction, they are not and the story itself is well structured. I don't think the novel gets lost in subplots but the previous reviewers who mentioned the fact that a lot of what happens is based on Hendrix's earlier work seem to be correct (I say seems because I have not read his other work yet but it is true that the characters constantly refer to earlier events and you definitly feel like you are missing something if you haven't read the prequel). Even so the book is excellent and it does stand alone though I am adding 'Lightpaths' to my reading list. Another point I would like to make is that the author does not drag the book out - this could easily have been a 600 to 700 page book but Hendrix resists the tempatation to have his characters engage in endless monologues to make his point. His science is, contrary to what other reviews said, founded firmly in the more cutting edge speculation I have read about string theory, artificial intelligence not to mention the possibilities of evolved consciousness and the philosophical ideas of Tielhard, Jung, RAW, Tim Leary, Terrance McKenna etc, etc.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am the Alpha and the Omega, is one way to summarize this book. As an exploration of the nature and scope of human consciousness this book has few rivals, if any, in modern science fiction. Putting down the book every few pages is the only way to absorb all the different levels on which this book can operate(if you give it the chance). It also keeps you from burning out :). While there are a few slow passages, the momentum this book builds up, on a meta-physical level as well as a story level, drives you on to the conclusion. The concept of a standing wave relentlessly and effortlessly pushing forward, is carried forth here in many ways. The story paths all share elements of parallelism and inevitable collision, in a way that is so fun to read about, and is somehow threatening as well. What a read. What a blast. Anyone who is widely read in science fiction and philosophy should find this book just fascinating. I highly recommend it.
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