Alpha Centauri Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1998
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From Library Journal
From a grossly overpopulated Earth in 2239 A.D., an exploratory colonization mission to Alpha Centauri finds Mies Cochrane carrying an autovirus inside him that, after sexual intercourse, halts conception?the perfect birth control. The explorers discover the remains of an ancient civilization and a way to see what caused their extinction through the eyes of the last, long-dead inhabitant. The authors (Iris, LJ 2/15/90) make a strong statement about overpopulation, solutions to it, and humanity's purpose for existing. This thought-provoking book, a mix of sexually explicit passages and scientific exposition, is recommended for adult sf collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
With its population grown to more than 300 billion, Earth in 2239 dispatches an exploratory team to Alpha Centauri. But there is a problem, a schizophrenic named Mies Cochrane, infected with "autoviroids" by a malevolent intelligence called Indigo. Whenever Mies has sex with a woman, he renders her sterile. Thus this particular crew, at least, will never populate the stars. Intriguing, but Barton and Capobianco go ballistic, seldom allowing the reader to escape from sex and sexuality: Mies with women, Mies with a man who has changed into a woman, women with women, until the reader is not only baffled but in agreement with Indigo that the race isn't worth saving. A shame, since the hard sf here is beautifully done, including a breathtaking ride on a storm-tossed alien ocean at two Gs, and an ancient race, complete with cosmology, restored through virtual technology--grand stuff, but Heinlein is rolling in his grave, even so. John Mort --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The characters would have been believable, except that they are all motivated singularly by sex (no WONDER the Earth, in this novel, is overpopulated with 40 billion people). I can't figure out why this isn't marketed as porn. It would have saved me and many others from spending money on it.
The book is composed of alternating scenes of scientific babble and sexual escapades. Since it was written by two different men, I had the impression that they took turns at the computer, with one of them writing all the techno-jargon scenes and the other writing all the pointless sex.
Don't buy this marketing mistake, unless you're into sci-fi porn (no, seriously).
The story Alpha Centauri moves very slow, therefore you will encounter lots of boring and meaningless parts. This story focuses mainly on teamwork, emotions and most of all sex, which over time could get old and extremely boring, with little changes in plot and style. Also the author often skips off the middle of a topic and moves to a totally unrelated subject.
If you are looking for a sci-fi with lots of confusing parts and twist in the story, and you are a hardcore reader with high vocabulary, who is willing to spend months to read a book, Alpha Centauri could very possibly be your book. Other wise don't waste your time trying to read it, go find something more meaningful to spend time on.
First, population growth has been revised downward by the UN two times in the last ten years due to decreasing birth rates around the world. Secondly, why would a society that creates starships not use artificial products instead of "using the Earth's resouces". If all the Earth's resources are used are people living on the magma core? And the idea that salvation comes by traveling to another star (at a cost so great one could literally rebuild Earth) is a solution? It is if the Earth is going to be destroyed but the task of starting over on a new world is so mind-boggling that it makes the Earth's problems seem petty.
Good parts: The VR machines (neat!), the discoveries, the resident evil and the ending.
In this novel, a group of explorers from a crowded solar system coming close to its malthusian limits arrives at the eponymous stellar system. They are part of an exploration fleet searching for potential colony sites that may be the salvation of humanity. They uncover the ancient ruins of an alien civilisation, maybe two civilisations. The solar system is threatened with total collapse whereas these aliens seemed to have kept their civilisation running for billions of years, but then they finally became extinct. Their worlds are ancient, depleted, but what caused them to die is not as simple as it may seem, and may be a warning to humankind.
What they learn about these beings seems horrible, but their are strange parallels with their own situation. Barton and Capobianco refuse to draw a sharp line between good and evil. They show the compulsions of hunger and sexuality as being intrinsic to life: they may be good, they may be vicious, but they are inseparable from the process of living. Human characters and aliens ephemerally resurrected through advanced simulations each display some aspect or other of the conflicts of desire, purpose and virtue.
To their credit, the authors allow even the apparent villains the qualities of intelligence, sympathy and the need for love, no matter how awful their actions.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I was expecting a sci-fi book. I was not expecting the graphic sexual nature of the book. I was so appalled by chapter two that I returned the book to the store. Read morePublished on May 18 2003
This is not a completely fair review since I didn't get past page 50 (and I got this far only because I was in a carwash and had nothing better to do). Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2002 by Dana
There is some interesting sci-fi in this novel, but not enough to push the (rather gratuitous) sexual themes into the background. Read morePublished on Dec 9 2001
A bleak story in an even bleaker future, wound together in an amazing novel. I've noticed that many reviewers here seem to be put off a bit by the amount, and sheer oddity, of the... Read morePublished on July 23 2001 by Brian209
Avoid this book at all costs. A waste of time to read let alone stomach. I was interested in the background of a dreadfully overpopulated Earth, and a exploration to Earth's... Read morePublished on June 26 2000 by Mistrmind
Intruiging premise but the end was a letdown (yes, I did finish it, in spite of the fact that I got fed up with the gratuitious sex... found it mostly unnecessary to the story). Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2000
I think that it is just as confusing to write a review of this book as it was when I first starting reading this book. But here it goes. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 1999
I bought this in the airport hoping to have something to read on a trip to New Orleans. Crediting the authors with writing a distrubing but failed vision of the future is simply... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 1999