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Against Infinity Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (Nov. 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380790580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380790586
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 9.1 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,973,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
The book explores man's tendency to do evil, but also his ability to resist it while resigning himself to its permanence; in this way it reaches to the level of a great tragedy. But it's also science fiction, of course, and the book explores Ganymede, where settlers contend with various hardships and hunt overly populous animals genetically engineered and brought along to drink liquid ammonia on the moon, and where they must always try to avoid the constantly churning aleph, an age-old and impossible to describe device left by aliens to wander Ganymede forever. The reader finds himself contemplating the settlement of our solar system, the symbolism of the aleph (ruthless, brutal nature?), and the array of moral characters in the book.
"Against Infinity," indeed. The book shows what we are up against: infinite, brutal nature and permanent evil. In the book's central character, it shows a way to respond to these forces that is worth taking.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I took this book along with me on vacation because it was short and had an interesting premise. Unfortunately, this book left me wanting in many areas.
Pros:
- The Aleph is fascinating and kept me intrigued
- I really did like the inferred moral in the story, which you will find in the ending. It was a satisfying close to the story and left me thinking afterward.
Cons:
- For the most part, this is a boring story in a SciFi setting. For a long time, I kept waiting for something interesting to happen - some big event or unveiling of a great plot twist, but it never came.
- Benford missed the opportunity to add wonder and excitement to the Aleph. He describes it physically when it is encountered, but he doesn't broach deeper issues until near the very end. He briefly mentions potentially interesting plot areas but never explores or develops them.
- Benford's writing leaves much to be desired. He glosses over or even outright skips over descriptions of people and scenes, giving more of a "meat & potatoes" approach to the story. "Just the facts, ma'am." A more engaging and illustrative writing style would make him a *much* better author.
- The "punchline" at the ending wasn't enough to justify the time spent reading the book. Maybe a second edition of this book would be much better, but it seems better suited for a short story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Men pursue the mysterious aleph across Ganymede. Feb. 10 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Very convincing, descriptive environment and entertaining story. A young boy grows up among a group of men assigned to terraform Ganymede's surface. Myths and stories abide concerning the mysterious alien artifact that roams the planet, with no apparent purpose. The object is completely neutral towards men when encountered, not acknowledging their presence in any way. Nothing is known of the object's nature, origin or purpose. A young boy and his father figure set off in pursuit of the elusive artifact, hoping to understand it. Once uncovered, its purpose is surprising and refreshing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Deserves a more perceptive look Jan. 30 2003
By Neal C. Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This certainly isn't Gregory Benford's best book, nor is it one which I can recommend, at least not without qualification.
The concept is good, and the basic setting is interesting. The combination of a coming-of-age plot in a science-fictional setting is interesting and workable. The issues brought forth here are befitting both genres, those having to do with feeling and respect towards life, even life as remote from our experience as Aleph is shown. And Aleph alone is a worthy concept, the idea of life that exists for no apparant reason than to survive, that has no interest in anything that doesn't sustain that life and being.
And of course, there is Benford's familiar theme, that of man attempting to bend all he encounters to his purposes.
There's some real meat here, but somehow, it just isn't clothed in a sustainedly entertaining mode.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tragedy on Ganymede July 17 2004
By Loving Life In Spite Of It All! - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The book explores man's tendency to do evil, but also his ability to resist it while resigning himself to its permanence; in this way it reaches to the level of a great tragedy. But it's also science fiction, of course, and the book explores Ganymede, where settlers contend with various hardships and hunt overly populous animals genetically engineered and brought along to drink liquid ammonia on the moon, and where they must always try to avoid the constantly churning aleph, an age-old and impossible to describe device left by aliens to wander Ganymede forever. The reader finds himself contemplating the settlement of our solar system, the symbolism of the aleph (ruthless, brutal nature?), and the array of moral characters in the book.
"Against Infinity," indeed. The book shows what we are up against: infinite, brutal nature and permanent evil. In the book's central character, it shows a way to respond to these forces that is worth taking.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Coming of age story with sf elements. Dec 14 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I believed this was originally serialized in Aazing Sories magazine. Anyway the majestic otherwordly backdrop added something to this coming of age story. If you don't like science fiction you can just think of it as being like an Alaskan setting instead of a gas giant's moon. (In fact I almost thought it was Alaska except for the weird animals & mammoth alien machine.) Oh there's also bits about terraforming & advanced alien objects if you do like science fiction.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sci-Fi boomtown. May 15 2006
By Colt Seiver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a good layover book, and a decent attempt to transcend sci-fi by addressing crusty themes with new raw material. The aleph is a Macguffin on par with the spice worms, but there's nothing epic about this coming of age novel.

If you read it, try to spot the scene 'borrowed' from Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast."

Interesting political commentary and explanation of capitalism; that is, if you feel socialism is the ultimate human state of equilibrium.

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