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Timescape Paperback – 1982


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Paperback, 1982
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: P/B (1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722116306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722116302
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By papaphilly on 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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 liked his description of the classical observer being part of a greater system--if for no other reason than to show my husband someone else agreed with me. (I wondered how others who weren't tortured with years of graduate work deriving equations in quantum and stat mech would like it. After reading the other reviews, I'm not surprised.) I also really appreciated the realistic depiction of a science department at a university--bull's-eye with the egomaniacal professors so obsessed with their own significance and unfairly burdened by the triviality of teaching and advising graduate students. Unfortunately, this book had all the promise of a great adventure, or at least a great mystery, only to be mired in unnecessary characters and irrelevant conflicts. Get it if you like reading about scientists at work, but be prepared to skim some slow sections.
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