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Tau Zero Kindle Edition
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Tau Zero has been hailed as the quintessential hard SF novel, and it's a well-deserved accolade...an exceptional story, grounded in proper science, and brimming with mind-boggling ideas, hard science, and a scale rarely matched.-- "Worlds without End"
The ultimate hard science fiction novel.-- "James Blish, Hugo Award-winning author" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
About the Author
Poul Anderson (1926-2001) was one of the most prolific and popular writers in science fiction. He won the Hugo Award seven times and the Nebula Award three times, as well as many other awards, including the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America for a lifetime of distinguished achievement. With a degree in physics and a wide knowledge of other fields of science, he was noted for building stories on a solid foundation of real science, as well as for being one of the most skilled creators of fast-paced adventure stories. He was author of over one hundred novels and story collections, several hundred short stories, and several mysteries and nonfiction books.
Neil Hellegers grew up in New Jersey and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a BA in theater arts and a minor in psychology before getting an MFA in acting from the Trinity Rep Conservatory in Providence, Rhode Island. He moved to New York City in 2003 and, since then, has made a career of theatrical performance, percussion, theater education, and audiobook narration. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B07FFLPVJ7
- Publisher : Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy; Reprint edition (September 18, 2018)
- Publication date : September 18, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 6092 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 200 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #39,710 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Fifty very bright and capable experts in their fields set off from Earth to colonize another world. The basis of their propulsion is that the ship gathers hydrogen along the way, burning it, and gaining speed. Disaster strikes and the ship's ability to decrease speed is ruined and they continue to gain speed, passing their destination and catapult through the universe.
As hundreds of billions of years pass outside it's only a matter of years inside. At no point in this alleged masterwork do I form any sort of bond with the people aboard. The bond that I did form was for a people who know that their own civilization, their own solar system, is long ended, and they are in complete isolation on this ship.
Then there's the science. It's considered hard science fiction and much of the science in this book has been completely debunked.
A great example of classic hard science fiction
In fact, hard science is so deeply embedded into Anderson's story that you might need a PhD in physics to understand what's going on. The author, who held only a BA in physics, demonstrates far more than undergraduate-level understanding of the field in the novel. He alternates narrative passages and dialogue with sometimes lengthy explanations of relativity, time dilation, and the nature of the cosmos. It's hard slogging for a reader like me without a scientific background. Yet the vast scope of the tale and the insightful presentation of the characters under stress make this nonetheless a fascinating and rewarding read.
Tau Zero begins simply enough. Some two centuries in the future, one of several starships is about to leave Earth orbit for a distant planet. Ingrid Lindgren is the First Officer of the Leonora Christine, and former police colonel Charles Jan Reymont is the Constable. Although we meet a large number of others among the fifty passengers and crew on the ship, the focus throughout is on these two. They set out on a journey of thirty-two light years toward the third planet of Beta Virginis.
For decades, humankind has been traveling to the stars. The Bussard engine, a concept developed in the twentieth century, enables their ship to gradually approach (but never attain) the speed of light.
Sophisticated presentation of psychology as well as physics
Anderson demonstrates impressive command of psychology in describing the couplings and conflicts of his fifty characters. Lindgren and Reymont quickly move in together, then abruptly split up when Lindgren strays. Some of the others form casual liaisons; others still enter into partnerships that last throughout. Their lives are stressful despite the many amenities on board, but conflict breaks out into the open nine light-years from Earth when the Leonora Christine collides with a cloud of debris that damages the propulsion system. And that catastrophic accident changes their destiny forever.
Tau Zero presents an intriguing if highly unlikely future for the people of planet Earth. A nuclear war has destroyed the superpowers who waged it and led to an unusual form of world government. Sweden, now the world's wealthiest country, is at the helm, enforcing the general disarmament that followed the war. Lindgren herself, the ship's captain, are both Swedes, but nearly all the rest of the passengers and crew represent dozens of other countries as well as a few who have lived on human colonies in the solar system. Anderson does a good job avoiding the temptation to stereotype the different nationalities. (Interestingly, the author himself was Danish-American and grew up speaking both his parents's language as well as English.) It's no wonder Tau Zero is so widely regarded as one of the best examples of great example of classic hard science fiction.
Years ago I read lots of sci-fi as a kid/teenager, and this one seems aimed primarily at 15 year-old boys. Women fawning over men "acting manly" and eager to jump in bed; guys eager to get in physical fights over arguments, everyone except the constable always out of ideas when anything happens. I don't recall Anderson's other stories and novels being like this at all, and my general impression was I liked a number of his.
BTW, just to explain my frame of reference: Arthur C Clarke was/is my favorite sci-fi author followed by Robert Heinlein (many works, especially Stranger in a Strange Land), Larry Niven (Ring World), Robert Forward (Dragon's Egg), Carl Sagan, and some others.
Anyhow I quit about half-way thru hoping it would get better after the first 10 or so pages. But it only went downhill from there.
Top reviews from other countries
Where this book falls down for me is in the writing, characterisation and dialogue. The prose is quite clunky and I had to re-read a number of sentences to make sense of them. This is as much as exploration of being lost in space with little chance of rescue on the psychology of the travellers, but for me Anderson doesn't have the writing skill to produce interesting and believable characters. Despite being relatively short, I still found it a bit plodding. It could easily have been shortened to a novella. Interesting single concept, but Anderson fails to produce a good book around it.
My other issue is the actual print quality of the book is terrible. Words misspelt or missing letters or mixed up completely. It was a headache to read, with blotchy ink.
One small detail which actually makes this book more workable is the things that Anderson skips over: for example, the central character, who's a combination sheriff and sergeant-major, made a name for himself when he "fought for the Zebras" during the troubles on Mars. No need to explain as it's not relevant to the reader, but a citizen of Earth in the period when the book's set would know exactly what was meant.
The ship seems to have a will of its own. Every new situation which arises results in the same decision by the humans who only notionally control the ship, and that is : GO FASTER!
Worth reading just for the incredible and boundless scope of the authors imagination. Reminds me of another classic hard ScFi, Ringworld.