Starplex Mass Market Paperback – Jan 11 2002
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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.
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 GreenSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
To say this book was riveting was an understatement. I read it in 24 hours, and wished there was a whole series like it. But alas, this book is, and must be, fully self-contained. Starplex plucks the most melodious strings of science fiction, and turns them into a symphony for the mind.
The various races described in the novel were also fascinating, each with distinct cultures and idiosyncrasies. Sawyer is a man with an incredible imagination.
Almost 20 years after publication this book remains singular and utterly engaging.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Sawyer always mixes tech and science with a hugely imaginative story. Very inventive dialog between alien races and overall very good Science Fiction writing. He never disappoints.Published 1 month ago by Kingstonian
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 morePublished on April 2 2011 by darcmarc
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2001
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 morePublished on July 24 2001
Upon reaching the stars, mankind discovered wormholes. Artificially generated, these tunnels allowed transport from one part of space to areas light-years away. Read morePublished on July 14 2001 by Jonathan Burgoine
Starplex is good as Hawking, Wheeler, and Thorne. Rob Sawyer's gedanken experiments on dark matter, wormholes, black holes, time travel, etc. Read morePublished on May 27 2001 by ANTHONY STJOHN
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 morePublished on Oct. 21 2000 by Robert
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
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 morePublished on Aug. 9 2000 by Frozen Gimp