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Eternity [Paperback]

3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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3.0 out of 5 stars A little vague at times but overall a good read Nov. 30 2002
By Andy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
At first I was disappointed by this book but the more I read it, the more enwrapped I became by this sci-fi political thriller. The thing that disappointed me most about this book was the feel that it was a sequel. Throughout the book numerous references are made to such groups as Geshels, Neo-Geshels, Jarts, Terrestrials, Old Natives, the Hexamon, the Nexus, and a seemingly endless list of planets without really giving much of a description or explanation as to what they are. After doing a little bit of research on this book, I made the discovery that it actually is a sequel to another book that Greg Bear wrote called Eon. While I've never read that book I would recommend reading it before reading Eternity because I presume it goes into a little more detail describing just what these organizations actually are.
Should one not have the time, one can eventually figure out what Bear is talking about through context clues, but it took me about a good half of the book until I was confident I understood what all of these things were. Once I got past this, I really could appreciate the book more.
The book takes place at some future date, presumably several hundred years or so from now, after a nuclear war with Russia. This nuclear war is referred to as both the Death and as the Sundering. Apparently an extremely large hollowed out asteroid called Thistledown, which is also referred to throughout the book as the Stone and also as the Potato, is in orbit around Earth. Humans have colonized this asteroid and it seems as if most of the wealthier humans, known as the Geshels, live there. Thistledown holds the gateway to a faster than light highway of sorts, that allows transportation between planets, galaxies, universes, and even through time. This "highway" is known as the Way.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Lost Opportunity Dec 22 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Am I the only person to be unimpressed by Greg Bears' Eon and Eternity? After reading Eon I thought that Eternity could not be any worse and it wasn't but only just. Basically I felt I needed maps and diagrams every few pages just to get my bearings. I'm sure the author was only too clear in his own mind of the geography of the place but he failed to impart it to me with any clarity! I was quite lost almost from the beginning and for enjoyment of these novels a clear understanding of the layout of the asteroid was essential especially the 7th chamber which was crucial. This is a pity because the potential for expanding the saga both within the asteroid and onto other worlds is infinite but I would find it hard to raise any interest as the mechanics of moving to other worlds was completely lost on me.All in all an opportunity missed hence only 2 stars ie by my system books I would be quite happy not to have read.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Eternity is one of those rare examples of contemporary science fiction that sustains interest as both a story and as science fiction. Its ancestors include the best works by Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. If you wander through the science fiction section of most book stores,an avalanche of second rate works penned under the inspiration of television or movie sequels dominates the racks. Bear's Eternity is a superb antidote to the latest Trekkie or Star Wars drivel. The story commands your interest from start to finish and raises the same kind of profound questions Clarke addressed in Childhood's End. When an author dares to be profound or ask ultimate questions in science fiction, he or she must be good or the effect is ludicrous, painful, and pathetic. Bear's work is insightful, compelling, and great fun.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After reading Eon, I could not wait to get my hands on the follow-up.. . and in some ways "Eternity" came through better than I hoped.
There are some really clever twists and plot threads in this novel, but in the end it fades away rather than fulfilling the promise of the first book. There is also some great writing through the first two thirds of this book, but you may feel the last third leaves you wanting more. Great ideas abound in this novel, but they never seem to reach the climax the reader anticipates.
There is plenty of room for yet another sequel, but the story seems to work hard to quickly tie up any loose ends, just in case Greg Bear decides not to go beyond Eternity. If you liked Eon, read this novel, but be prepared a different intensity level.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A slow start with an interesting conclusion... Sept. 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While I initially had mixed feelings about Bear's Eon, I have to admit that certain points of his world did capture my interest and I did feel the desire to read more. In this light, Eternity is excellent as it shows us what happens to most of the important characters after the final events in Eon. In contrast though, the book was extremely slow to start and seemed mainly concerned about the characters attitudes and feelings as long passages were devoted to personal insight and environmental descriptions. Only after about 1/3 into the novel do things become much more interesting and the conclusion is definitely thought provoking. Overall, I would recommend fans of Eon to give this book a chance as it seems a fitting conclusion to the story, even if a bit long winded.
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