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Dark as Day Mass Market Paperback – Apr 14 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (April 14 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812580311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812580310
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.3 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,079,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

The Great War is over and humans have spread across the solar system, but mathematician Alex Ligon's complex computer model has just predicted that humanity is inexplicably doomed within a century. At the same time, scientist Milly Wu has identified what appears to be an extraterrestrial signal, and the idiosyncratic genius Bat searches for weapons from the Great War to add to his collection, finding much more than he bargained for. Their stories and others are intertwined in this tightly plotted and thoroughly engaging follow-up to Sheffield's Cold as Ice.

Nebula Award winner Sheffield distinguishes himself as a writer of intelligence, humor, and a pleasing balance of hard science and interesting, engaging characters. Fans will be particularly delighted to renew their acquaintance with Bat, but readers new to Sheffield's work should take the plunge enthusiastically--this novel easily and gracefully stands alone as a story of people, science, and the puzzles that both can produce. --Roz Genessee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of tangled plots, detailed settings and taut adventure will have a great time with Nebula Award-winner Sheffield's follow-up to Cold as Ice (1992). Earth and settlements on our moon and on Mars languish following the Great War, while colonies in the Asteroid Belt and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn are now thriving centers for business and research. Alex Ligon, heir to Ligon Industries, has turned his back on the family business to pursue mathematical modeling of development in the solar system. As Alex frets over his latest model, which shows humanity mysteriously dying out within a century, his family manipulates him into visiting Bat, a brilliant but antisocial hacker who owns the lease on Saturn's moon Pandora, where the Ligons want to place a new processing facility. Eager to acquire a cosmically devastating weapon left over from the Great War of which he's heard rumor, Bat agrees to meet with Alex out of curiosity over the mathematician's population model and a possible connection between it and the weapon. In the meantime, a man who may be the key to Bat's hypothetical superweapon is on his way to Ganymede, and SETI investigator Milly Wu has discovered the first real signal from an alien intelligence. Sheffield ties all the threads together a little too neatly by the end, but there's plenty of yarn left over for another sequel. The world he creates here seems imminently possible, and his characters, especially Milly and Bat, are portrayed with humor as well as the intellectual rigor demanded by a hard SF plot.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Those returning to the universe of Sheffield's _Cold As Ice_ and _The Ganymede Club_ will be pleased to find their old friend Bat here. The reclusive, snoopy genius has exiled himself to a moon of Saturn. Unfortunately, his home on Pandora figures in the plans of the ruthless and pushy Ligon family who want to reverse their recent slide from third to tenth in the rankings of richest companies in the solar system.
Reluctantly involved in their plot is Alex Ligon, sort of the black sheep of the family. When not being bullied by his family into running errands -- or auditioning for arranged marriages -- he works for the government rather than Ligon Industries. He's proud of a vast, sophisticated computer model of the entirety of human civilization in the solar system -- until it shows mankind going extinct in less than a century. Bad modelling or a ominous and valid warning?
Meanwhile, young Millie Wu has signed on to work for one half of the Beston brothers -- aka the Bastard and the Ogre, SETI researchers whose obsession about finding alien signals is matched only by their obsession with besting each other. Wu can't quite believe her luck when she seems to have detected a genuine signal.
On Earth, Janeed Jannex and her childhood friend Sebastian Birch decide to emigrate to space, but their recruiters prove to surprisingly be interested in Birch's almost idiot savant fascination with, of all things, clouds.
Those familiar with Sheffield's previous work will expect these plotlines to converge, and, as with _Cold As Ice_, the surprises are less in the sometimes predictable plot twists than the why of events or their scientific explanation. Those who found the ideas of that novel interesting will also appreciate this one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
But don't read it until you've also gotten Cold as Ice, and read it. The two are among the very best hard SF books anyone has written. As a bonus, they both also have a mystery for the main characters to solve.
I already miss Charles Sheffield, just because the prospects of more novels featuring the unique "Bat" are remote. Sheffield wrote the very hardest SF (as appropriate for a Ph.D. in physics), but he usually managed to tell a good story as well - something that most of the other physicists who have written SF haven't managed to do. I wish he could have lived and written for another 20 years.
I wish to defend the instantaneous communication system a previous reviewer has maligned. Sheffield quite explicitly states that it works because of quantum entanglement, a perfectly respectable theory which was discussed in Scientific American's special edition last year on cosmology and cosmogony.
If you want to find some good reading, and are willing to accept his (very) rare failures, pick up some of his older novels, many of which were published in Analog before coming into the bookstores.
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Format: Hardcover
The sequel to Cold as Ice, Sheffield brings back one who is becoming one of the great characters of science fiction, Rustum "Bat" Battachariya, along with a whole host of new characters. (He likely drew Bat's Puzzle Network handle, "Megachirops," from "chiropter", a noun meaning any mammal of the order Chiroptera, comprising the bats. Weighing in at 300 kilos or thereabouts, he definitely is "mega.") Two of the new characters, Janeed Jannex, an orphan who has looked after her self-adopted "brother" (also an orphan) for almost her entire life, and Paul Marr, First Mate on the Outer System Line (OSL) Achilles, come together in a manner distinctly reminiscent of Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and First Mate Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) of the original, 1933 version of the movie King Kong.
While not without blemishes (such as putting the action a mere 95 years from now, much too soon for the technology and colonization described in the book to take place -- why, oh why, do sci fi authors insist on doing this?), the book is nonetheless brilliant in scope and effectively weaves together several plots lines and even a couple of subplots. The gist of the story is how events slowly, but inexorably bring together a handful of people (well, maybe a couple of handfuls) from disparate walks of life and different corners of the Solar System to confront a danger from the past that threatens all life in the Solar System, human and otherwise. Along the way Sheffield plays out storylines that held my interest completely, never wanting to put the book down. Heck, anyone who can weave in the use of statistical mechanics as part of analytical prediction theory and keep my interest in the process...well, Sheffield is a master storyteller! He even throws in some "SETI Cryptanalysis 101" for good measure.
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Format: Hardcover
In one of his last novels, Charles Sheffield has written one of his best. _Dark as Day_, the sequel to the entertaining _Cold as Ice_ stars everyone's favorite recluse, grossly overweight puzzle master, The Great Bat, in another life or death race across the solar system.
Sheffield weaves together three or four simulatneous plotlines to present a cohesive and thrilling story of the potential end of the universe. Bat, avid Great War history buff, discovers that an evil scientist created an apocalyptic 'sleeper' virus that may be activated soon. This plotline coupled with a possible first contact with aliens creates a compelling novel that should be included among the year's top SF novels.
Also, from a purely asthetic viewpoint, the packaging for _Dark as Day_ is among the finest I've seen recently. From the superb Vincent Di Fate cover to the attractive designs and fonts throughout the novel, this book is a treat to read. It's said not to judge a book by its cover but in this case you won't go wrong.
Summary: Entertaining and vey well-written story. Believable and compelling characters. Highly recommended.
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