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Timescape [Paperback]

GREGORY. BENFORD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback CDN $9.89  

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The punch never came. Dec 18 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Everything is set up midway through the book. It could have ended right there and you wouldn't have missed a thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard science at its best July 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is truly a well written novel even without the hard science. With the hard science in, it is truly excellent. Greg Benford deals with two different times in history, 1998 and 1963. The 1998 timeframe has the world in the beggining of a great calamity due to pesticide overuse. A group of physicists develop a method to send a message back in time to warn 1963 scientists of the disaster in hope of preventing it. Most of the 1998 timeframe deals with the disaster and the various social problems developed from it.
The 1963 scientists start to recieve transmissions during an experiment unrelated to the future. What happens is that one group of scientists are labeled kooks because they originally believe that they may be recieving information from outerspace. What the readers find out about scientists is that they are just like everybody else and will fight over trivial matters instead of concentrating on the work. The 1963 timeframe is recieving information about long chain molecule chemicals of which it has no knowledge yet and this has set off the controversey.
Timescape is chock full of hard science. Benford has written a book based on sound thoery of tachyons and more than one possible universes including mini-universes. He has made the theories easily understandable without clouding the explanation with intricate math. The reader can gain a working knowledge of both multi-universes and the idea of tachyons. The fact he was able to weave these heavy ideas into a well written story is amazing. This book is well worth the effort and is highley reccommended.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Nebula winner, and one of a handful of hard SF books considered a classic. I'll admit that hard SF doesn't gel well with my personal reading tastes with its emphasis on scientific explanation and frequently stock characters; however, I have enjoyed some immensely, such as _The Forge of God_, and this novel only proves that Hard SF CAN be both technically fascinating and be superby piece of literature and characterization as well.
Initially, Timescape caught my attention with its central premise of a dying future (well, 1998, the future when the book was written) finding a way through tachyon messages of contacting the past (1962). But the book does tend to tread water for a long time, and some of the character conflicts get a bit tiresome. But in the finale, which contains a stunning surprise, the strange science at last coalesces into a emotionally stirring vision of time as a landscape. It was at this moment that I saw the book itself become a whole-and an admirable whole. As the thoughtful afterward points out, the book tackles many different types of stories, not all of which will appeal to every reader. Give it shot, even if Hard SF insn't your thing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very human science-fiction read Jan. 30 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is no fast & quick read. It's also one where it is very easy to miss the point. And the point lies in the human element and the very human part of the plot.
There's continual contrast here between the characters on a dying earth and those in an earlier era. The science-fictional theme is, obviously, time-travel or rather the communication through time.
This is a book to be patient with. It's necessary to accept the characters, not dismiss them as dull and uninteresting. The characters are people like you and me who are facing their challenges in the best way they can, same as you and me. These challenges placed against a cosmic type of fate therefore become significant.
This book gives a deep look at life itself through the depiction and contrast of the working life where the characters in two different time periods are dealing with mind-boggling events on the one level and on the living of their personal lives on another.
This book isn't for an action and adventure fan. It's one which presents concepts that will stretch your mind, and at the same time show how everyday life complexities are part of the picture.
If you allow yourself to become absorbed in this book, you'll find much to think about, both on intellectual and on personal levels.
I did have one fault with the book. It begins in 1998, and I would have liked to see it end in 1998 showing the changes in the primary characters as well as the development of those who we meet in the 60's.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Most Believable Time Book Written Nov. 22 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best time travel / warp books written. Benford pushes the genre of "hard science" fiction in this novel, so be prepared. Without giving away too much plot, the method of communication across time is more plausible then any other idea put forth by previous authors. The story hits very close to home and builds upon issues that are relevant to our current world.
As other reviewers have pointed out, the character development is somewhat weak. However, this cannot stop me from giving a 5-star rating. The final resolution will keep you glued to the book and the technique used to transition the 2 possible futures for us is done very well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas with unappealing characters March 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Outside of '1984', this is the one sci-fi book that really stayed with me. The science (as presented) was very believable, and the depiction of what the lives of scientists are really like was very interesting. My only problem with this book, as with so many other potentially great books, is that the characters were not particularly likeable. Attempting to humanize characters is fine, but there are plenty of likeable, decent people out there; why can't I find any such people in sci-fi books?
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Good idea poorly executed
The premise of the book -- scientists trying to contact the near past in order to divert environmental disaster -- is interesting. Read more
Published on March 16 2004 by Kathy Christman
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a 100 page novella...
...buried in 500 pages of tiresome drivel.
Fortunately it's easy to skim through or even skip 30 or 40 pages at a time without missing anything "important. Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time, better SF are available
1. This book actually tells you what food items are available in a restaurant menu!
2. This book is not environmental friendly, because only 10% of the 400 pages tells a... Read more
Published on May 17 2002 by SCP
3.0 out of 5 stars Great science but tedious characters
I really liked this book for the way it made me think about the science. My husband and I are both chemists, and we've debated the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and I really... Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2002 by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic SF Ahead of Its Time
When reading Timescape in the here and now one could feel a bit cynical and criticise the novel on a number of fronts. For its time, however, Timescape was groundbreaking stuff. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2002 by Michael J. Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive
I have read this book three times, and will read it again in the future. The problems of time-travel are usually skimmed over in science fiction. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2001 by Donna Mearing
1.0 out of 5 stars Can I go back in time ??
Can I go back in time, maybe just before I bought this book? The book starts great and I was looking forward to enjoy a well written story. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars Lame poorly developed love story
Timescape won a Nebula award in 1980 or so and also won some other literature award. It was supposed to be a cross between literature and science fiction. Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2001 by Adam Missner
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