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Pallas Mass Market Paperback – Apr 14 1995


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (April 14 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812509048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812509045
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
I must agree with the Publisher's Weekly reviewer on this one - it reads more like a manifesto in novel guise than a true novel. I love the politics and the ideas behind the story, but I did not enjoy the lack of character depth. Much like the colonies, the characters were black and white - in fact, it reminded me quite a bit of Rand's Atlas Shrugged in that respect. However, if you're not in it for the character development, I certainly recommend it for the contrasting politics.
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Format: Hardcover
Not many science fiction writers can actually create a new world populated by heroic, but real people - AND convey a sense of dynamic IDEAS about society and technology that yoju would WANT the future to become. L. Neil Smith has done just that with "Pallas", arguably his BEST BOOK ever (until the upcoming "Ceres", that is! :-) Pallas tells the story of a child inventor who grows up to become a hero amidst the largely, but not exclusively, liberty-loving colony on Pallas asteroid. While the enemy is obvious, the plot twists and turns are not. In science-fiction, its the IDEAS that count, and this book ROCKS with them. As good, if not better, than Robert Heinlein and Fred Pohl. Buy and read this book and enjoy!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
L. Neil Smith's vivid portrayl of absolute personal freedom versus the politically correct utopia is mind opening. Not only does this book show exactly the reason our forefathers put specifically into our constitiution our right to bear arms, but it also shows how things could have been if we hadn't felt the urgent need to get rid of our personal responsibilites by giving them over to a government. The clashes between Emerson Ngu and his arch enemy Gibson Altman are completely realistic, the plot flows true-to-life, and even though Smith is a bit heavy handed with libertarian rhetoric, it doesn't take anything away from the story. Besides, aren't most of us, in our most private thoughts, sick and tired of the intrusions we allow our government to make?
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By Joel Simon on July 25 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The thing that most intrigues me about Smith's fiction is that, even though I know he's going to preach libertarianism to me, I also know he's going to slip in at least one new thought I'd never considered. I just never know when it's coming, or from what direction.
So...was the invention of agriculture really a positive turning point in human history? I must admit the question had never occurred to me.
The characterizations are stronger in this novel than in some of his earlier work. I get the impression that he's more confident, finding his own voice rather than trying to be Heinlein.
You can find things to quibble with. The Pallas society is a bit self-consciously old-west. In an environment where all guns have to be imported from Earth I couldn't get past how casually Emerson acquired an extraordinary speciman. The ending left me a bit unsatisfied.
But all in all it's a very fine novel; engrossing and thought-provoking as almost all Smith books are, and highly entertaining. There are very few contemporary authors that I follow around to see when the next book is due; Smith has become one of them.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
L. Neil Smith is famous -- or infamous, depending on your take of the subject -- for his heavy-handed political sermons, even to the point where the sermons seem entirely detached from the story he is trying to tell.
_Pallas_, fortunately, is mostly free of irrelevant libertarian proselytizing (Smith's politics are still evident, but they are worked into the story skillfully and in a way that makes sense), and it becomes wonderfully clear that when Smith just sets out to tell a story, he really does a pretty damn good job. This book does contain flaws, however, which keep it at 4 stars instead of 5 -- Smith, for one thing, is remarkably poor at painting his characters in shades of gray. He seems to make some gamely attempts to do so throughout the book, but for all that, his characters either fall solidly in the "good" or "evil" camps.
Related to this is another serious problem with this book (and Smith's writing in general, actually): his characters are simply not fleshed out very well, and it makes it hard to empathize with them. Smith's style of characterization is essentially to take some odd trait, attach the trait to a name, then pass it off for a character. This is why, in my opinion, his supporting characters especially come across as caricatures, which detracts somewhat from the story.
However, in spite of these problems (and others), I found myself liking _Pallas_ a great deal. Whatever his flaws in characerization, Smith is a remarkable wordsmith, and some of the concepts introduced in this book, regardless of their real-life feasibility, are fascinating. _Pallas_ is an enjoyable read with flaws that are easily overlooked while being carried along by Smith's skilled, and at times captivating, prose.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this BEFORE I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. While this book has some similarities, I think Neil has done a much better job than Heinlein's classic novel when it comes to giving detail about being a "rational anarchist". Pallas is exciting, fun, sarcastic, exciting, sad, loving, forgiving, and even a bit preachy, but less overtly than his book "The Probability Broach." I found the story of the life of Emerson Ngu to be one of the most moving things I have ever read. Neil even switches his style of writing towards the last half of the book. Quite honestly, it is probably THE best book I have ever read. If you are closed minded about Anarchy, individual freedoms, guns, cigars, and sex, you won't like this book (and you might want to do a sanity check on yourself)! I would so enjoy living in a world like this!
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