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Orion Shall Rise [Hardcover]

Poul Anderson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 1983
Years after Earth is devastated by nuclear weapons, the survivors of a floating solar station above Europe assist the emergence of a low-tech civilization, until a treacherous faction seizes control of the station. Reissue.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Human civilization is redeveloping after a long-ago nuclear war, and now one society has rediscovered the dream of space travel. However, the earth is resource starved, and atomic energy seems to be the only way to achieve these dreams. This presents a threat to rival societies, where fear of nuclear power lives on in the memory of the ages old horror of the Doom. Can mankind harness the atom to achieve peace, or is it doomed to repeat its earlier failure and unleash the horror of nuclear weapons?
Anderson weaves a global tale, providing credible new societies, each filled with believable characters. His characters are complex, with varying motivations, and are often flawed in some way. The primary protagonist matures through the the book from a vain and cocky young pilot to become a force to reshape the course of civilization. The underlying themes here are quite powerful. This book explores both the human urge to explore and push into the unknown, as well as the question of whether we can ever restrain our tendancies to harness technology to the purposes of destruction.
Anyone not familiar with Anderson's writing style might find portions of this book that are weighted down with excessive descriptions. However, as a whole, this is a fine story and is not an overly difficult book to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good post-holocaust tale of cultures in conflict. July 13 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This may be Poul Anderson's best long novel, which is saying something. Hundreds of years after the nuclear Doom, new cultures and empires have arisen. Science has recovered and even advanced, but its technological expression is stifled in a world that is desperately resource-poor. Earth's dominant power is the Maurai, a deeply conservative culture that is committed to long-term ecological and political stability. The Maurai's chief rivals are the Norresterners, anarchic technophiles who think that atomic energy might not be so bad after all. The Maurai have defeated and occupied the Norresterners, but you just know it can't last. This big, sprawling novel also sketches several other fascinating cultures, including a feudal republic dominated by a floating city that survived the nuclear war. About half-way through the book the general plot pattern may begin to look familiar. If you're acquainted with Norse mythology, you're in for a treat, because Anderson rings some truly marvelous changes on those oft-told tales. Even if you're not, though, this is still a solid read, hard SF mixed with some very plausible anthropology and politics. Some wooden characters and an overly pat ending are the only things that keep it from being a perfect "10". Highly recommended
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing examination of the uses of nuclear power July 30 2004
By Andrew W. Johns - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Human civilization is redeveloping after a long-ago nuclear war, and now one society has rediscovered the dream of space travel. However, the earth is resource starved, and atomic energy seems to be the only way to achieve these dreams. This presents a threat to rival societies, where fear of nuclear power lives on in the memory of the ages old horror of the Doom. Can mankind harness the atom to achieve peace, or is it doomed to repeat its earlier failure and unleash the horror of nuclear weapons?

Anderson weaves a global tale, providing credible new societies, each filled with believable characters. His characters are complex, with varying motivations, and are often flawed in some way. The primary protagonist matures through the the book from a vain and cocky young pilot to become a force to reshape the course of civilization. The underlying themes here are quite powerful. This book explores both the human urge to explore and push into the unknown, as well as the question of whether we can ever restrain our tendancies to harness technology to the purposes of destruction.

Anyone not familiar with Anderson's writing style might find portions of this book that are weighted down with excessive descriptions. However, as a whole, this is a fine story and is not an overly difficult book to read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I read this when it was published. Dec 18 2012
By Robert Hawk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Somewhere along the way I lost it. I've been reading science fiction for 50 of my 58 years. When I read "Maurai & Kith" in the '60's, I was fascinated by the idea of recovering civilizations hundreds of years after a nuclear war in the 1950's. "Orion Shall Rise" was the novel that laid out the world of those short stories in it's entirety. Rereading it 29 years later, I found myself watching for dimly remembered favorite passages. All were just as moving as when I first read them. You don't need to read the earlier stories to enjoy this book. But if you don't, you'll miss a pleasurable buildup to which this book is the culmination.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Poul Anderson's Best Dec 28 2001
By Lee J. Stamm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An excellent and thoughtful depiction of the world about 800 years after nuclear apocalypse, populated by interesting and well-developed characters. Rich with implicit commentary on the foibles of politics and religion, as is characteristic of Anderson's work. Only slightly marred by a short-cut ending. Nonetheless, highly recommended.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good imaginative novel Dec 2 2004
By C. Campagna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fortunately, this post-apocalyptic novel doesn't spend too much time telling us how the end of the world as we know it, happened. The first part of the book is a little less fun to read than the last. Maybe because I was trying to understand how the different names for new countries and peoples related to the old. Chicago is Chai-ka-go, etc.

The story is very well paced. The post-nuclear fears and Gaean thoughts are well balanced with each other.
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