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Alpha Centauri Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Science Fictio (Sept. 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380782057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380782055
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 10.8 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 213 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,232,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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.

Customer Reviews

2.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This book starts out with a promising premise, but someone along the road must have decided that it wouldn't sell without graphic sexual content, including child sex and unnecessary intense descriptions of sexual torture and molestation (I felt the author must have been ENJOYing writing about the rape of a little girl). There is even a character whose sole purpose, due to an organization called Indigo, is to have sex with as many women as he possibly can. Admittedly, I didn't read enough to find out why.
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).
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By big_k on Feb. 16 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an "Extremely" challenging book, a little sci-fi a little sexual fantasy. Containing many high vocabulary and self-created words. Reading the first half of the book took an effort, nevertheless once the twist and turns come together the story reveals itself. Reading the first part of this book could possibly be the most boring thing I've done, the story was taken out of order then mixed up. To understand and to be able to start enjoying this book I had to get threw at least the first hundred pages.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought for a while I was in the middle of a sexual fantasy - a horny stream of consciousness that slipped from one scene to another. The authors continually fell into this mode as if that would make it somehow "literary". The premise is my biggest problem. To sum - it's the future and earth has 40 gazillion people who have squandered all the resources so mankind must find a new home. How fortuitous that one awaits (or so we hope) at our nearest star neighbor.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a difficult book to like. It does however strive to be what science fiction should be, which is a literature of ideas. As such, it presents an unflinching examination of the darker, complicated aspects of human nature and a profoundly unsympathetic cosmos. I am immediately reminded of the desolate final scenes of H G Wells' The Time Machine or the ruthlessly Darwinian universes of Stephen Baxter's Manifold stories.
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.
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