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Starplex [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert Sawyer
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 11 2002
Twenty years after the discovery of artificial wormholes launches Earth space exploration to unforeseeable heights, Starplex Director Keith Lansing investigates a mysterious vessel that soon threatens the station with intergalactic war.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Multiple award-winning Canadian author Sawyer offers an epic hard-science space adventure full of technical descriptions of starships and physics tempered by human concerns. In 2094, scientists on the Starplex study the mysterious artificial wormholes that make space travel routine and convenient. Then the wormholes' creators appear, and the scientists must understand and communicate with them to save the galaxy. Highly recommended for sf collections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Entertaining and episodic, Starplex is a tale of interstellar exploration and adventure rather like a reconceptualized and debugged Star Trek. In the twenty-first century, the human race has both developed faster-than-light travel and contacted nonhuman intelligent races. Starplex, under the command of Keith Lansing, is one of the contact makers. Lansing faces hostile crew members, the personal and cultural idiosyncracies of nonhumans, the problems of first contact, and a marriage that may be deteriorating. No one, probably including Sawyer, will claim great originality for the yarn. Technically, it is good rather than great, yet it emphatically works, will draw readers, and may be the opening of a long-running series. Roland Green

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative realities Sept. 28 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robert J. Sawyer's book "Starplex" was one of the most entertaining, thought-provoking, and mind-twisting books I've read in a long time.
To begin, Sawyer is an excellent writer. Plotting, dialogue, and human drama aspects are all well-represented here. He also never loses sight of using humor, awe (in its truest sense), human limitations, and philosophical twists to create realities that are at once far, far away, yet understandable.
I'm sure Robert J. Sawyer has his critics - every writer does. Bottom line here, though, is that Sawyer has created his own voice with which to tell great stories (science fiction and otherwise), and Starplex is one of his best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable but Uneven Space Opera May 14 2002
By Keith
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sawyer's foray into space opera and space adventure is a fun book to read, but lacks the depth of (human) characterization and philosophical thought that are the strengths of his later works. The book's strengths include
1. the Ib Race -- a brilliant construct
2. the dark matter entities
3. the enigmatic glass man
4. the tightly woven plot threads
5. an interesting twist on the gateway concept
The book's weaknesses include
1. a weak protagonist
2. too many "Star Trek"-like devices (tractor beams, force fields)
3. uneven treatment of the human-Walhal (the pig creatures) dynamics.
Unlike many of the (harsh) negative critics below, I found the book quite enjoyable, even if there is some hand-waving here and there. It's not like that hasn't been done before in SF. And just to set the matter straight, Sawyer does NOT imply that laser beams are visible (he clearly states that the computer animated the laser fire in a holographic display) and he does not say that a spaceship swerves to avoid direct laser fire; what he does say is that a spaceship maneuvers to avoid another, spinning spaceship which happens to be firing a laser.
The book is enjoyable science fiction. The key word in this phrase is fiction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another intelligent SF novel from Sawyer... July 14 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Upon reaching the stars, mankind discovered wormholes. Artificially generated, these tunnels allowed transport from one part of space to areas light-years away. Their creators are unknown.
In Sawyer's "Starplex," a human and alien crew set out to explore the wormholes, finds that something is coming through the wormhole back to meet them. The age of discovery may be over, and it may be war.
As always, Sawyer's characters are the strength of this work. Kieth Lansing comes alive on the page, and internal struggles against bigotry and other human failings are sharp enough to draw blood. The alien races are very well developed, especially the "Ibs," (Integrated beings, of which individuals are made up of various living organisms that bond symbiotically).
What I could have done without, however, was the Dolphins. Over-cute and just a little out of place in this novel, we find that Dolphins have always been intelligent, and it just took us a while to clue in. It's somewhat clunky.
The plot itself is well thought out and puts the notion of an Alien "Culture Clash" to new heights. The scientific mysteries of the story also set a high simmer, and the outcomes of the various interwoven plots (another strength of Sawyer) are all very satisfying.
Though the inclusion of the dolphins made me wince, I'd still reccommend this one with no real regrets. It's enjoyable, the characters are solid, and the plot is formidable. Canada's king of SF does it again.
'Nathan
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2.0 out of 5 stars Snoozeplex March 11 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Most of Starplex is a very dull read, packed with dense physics discussions that become tedious for the science-impaired. The book picks up in the last 100 pages, but it was never an edge-of-your-seat read, and I never really cared about any of the characters. The entire thing was like an episode of Deep Space Nine or Babylon 5, only with more scientific mumbo-jumbo. What was the most farfetched moment of the book is when a little shuttle thing launched from Starplex takes out a huge battle cruiser with a geological laser that miraculous hits some fuel storage tank and POOF! goes the bad guy ship.
What's interesting is that if you read Starplex and then read "FlashForward" by Sawyer, you can see where he plagiarizes himself. Both novels feature a balding, middle-aged Canadian who will potentially receive the magic potion for immortality and live out the rest of time in some kind of mechanical body. I didn't like that element in either book, it seems completely rediculous for one novel, let alone two.
Overall, Starplex is not a bad book, but it's not great either. And if you need a cure for insomnia, just read the first first chapters and you'll drift right off into dreamland.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book, bad reviews Feb. 25 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First of all, I would like to remind some of the other reviewers that the point of the book is to be a STORY and NOT a scientifically documentation of the future. If you think its a problem that some scientific details are wrong, then perhaps you can name a book where every detail is perfect. If you can do so, then I will agree with what you say. The book was interesting and was accurate enough for me. The next thing you comlain about is how the character only things about adultery and his best friends death. Obviously you don't know what it's like to lose someone, otherwise you would realize that it's a hard thing to get over, and for the adultery bit, well, if you were contemplating cheating on your wife, then I assure you that you to would spen a great deal of time thinking about. So what you to be UNrealistic, is actually what the main character WOULD be thinking. Another complaint is that the plot is a copy of Star Trek. Maybe your right, but this was ten times better than Star Trek, because I hate Star Trek and I love this book. You complain about the Waldahudin, and how they are designed, but do you really think an alien race will be thought provoking and in-depth just because they're aliens? No, it's bull and you know it. Aliens don't follow a schematic, they are the author's creation, and he/she can do whatever he/she wants with them. This was an excellent book, maybe even my favourite of all time, and if Mr. Sawyer ever reads this review, I hope he realizes that SOME people actually appreciate good writing, unlike some morons I can think of.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a must for any and every sci-fi fan
Part 'Star Trek', part 'Stargate'... This is one of THE BEST sci-fi novels EVER : full of hard science, drama, action, mystery... you name it. Read more
Published on April 2 2011 by darcmarc
1.0 out of 5 stars ...
At first glance, it may seem like a hard SF reformulation of Star Trek. Then you realize the tachyon beams, warp speed, subspace disturbances, ... Read more
Published on July 24 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Starplex
Starplex is good as Hawking, Wheeler, and Thorne. Rob Sawyer's gedanken experiments on dark matter, wormholes, black holes, time travel, etc. Read more
Published on May 27 2001 by ANTHONY STJOHN
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful
Frankly, I'm surprised at some of the reviews of this book. It looks as if some people just want to attack this poor man. This book is great! Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2000 by Robert
2.0 out of 5 stars Canadian disaster area
Boring, juvenile, absurd...the list goes on and on. Reads like an el cheapo ripoff of Star Trek. Particularly moronic are the aliens.
Published on Aug. 17 2000 by omarbukka
2.0 out of 5 stars Juvenile
Given the Hugo nomination and others' reviews, I expected more from this book. Some time is spent developing the main character, but most of the other players are bland,... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2000 by Ed Hotchkiss
2.0 out of 5 stars His Worst Book
I read this when I was reading all the Hugo nominees that year and this was the most disappointing. I felt that this did not belong on the same platform with the other nominees. Read more
Published on June 13 2000 by "elemming"
5.0 out of 5 stars This a very worthwhile read
I have enjoyed a few of Sawyer's later works(Frameshift,Factoring Humanity)but this earlier work was far better. The characterizations are good which is the usual for Sawyer. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2000 by Jason M. Diller
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of genius
I met Sawyer recently at the World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne, and picked up this book from one of the dealers (sorry, Amazon!). It was terrific. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 1999
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