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Down The Bright Way Paperback – Oct 2 2003

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Orbit (Oct. 2 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841492558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841492551
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,690,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Recommended by Time-legend Stephen Baxter as "The new century's
most compelling SF voice" I had to read this Robert Reed book.
But somehow I didn't find it an epic of breathtaking scope and
boundless imagination. Instead much of it felt like something
I had heard before. Left me without the kick of discovery.
-Simon
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4ddc39c) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb8532af8) out of 5 stars Excellent June 13 2010
By Jacob Glicklich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Excellent book, definitely makes me puzzle why I hadn't heard of Reed at all until encountering his "Truth" in Hugo novella candidates last year. With everything of his I read I find more reason to consider him one of the greats. This book specifically is a great study in a widely vibrant setting with believable and engaging characters, combined with some stark and exquisitely murky moral ambiguity. The background involves a group called the Wanders that move from parallel universe to parallel universe, seeking to make small subtle changes to improve the lives of the inhabitants and develop their own wider knowledge. The story tracks several viewpoints in relation to the Wanderer presence, at first as a somewhat plotless survey of their policies and priorities. It becomes increasingly clear that there's something larger going on, though, and it's eventually revealed as a struggle by a small conspiracy of Wanderers to destroy the whole system. The intention is a destructive one and the eventual story involves foiling the attempt, but the plan and antagonists are rendered in considerable sympathy. In transpires that Wanderers on the other side of the Way encountered a fundamentally malevolent species labelled the unFound, the Pyrric nature of the struggle lead to attempts to shut down the whole multi-worlds system.

What I love primarily is the intimacy of the character nuances and attendant pathos with the epic scale of the setting. In particular, the energetic way the possibility of contact with a huge array of parallel universes, and conflict between rival multiverse groups unfold make Banks and Melko's recent efforts in this theme look even more pitiful by contrast. More than just the usual twists of divergent recent history, Reed's book explores alternate hominid development, a wide array of different social models and significantly different situations. Among the array of civilizations--including multiple Earths depopulated by human efforts--there's a fundamental optimism in the array heavily tied to the creativity of the setting. Reed provides enough solid description and small hinting detail that makes the wide scale of the universe credible. It's the ultimate believability of the setting that constitutes the book's greatest accomplishment, and the book's refusal to signpost the larger picture into either an utopia or a dystopia builds up this strength.

Also worth mentioning is the effective construction of some very interesting personality types. Normally for a work this wide ranging in environment and dealing with such a twisty plot it's frustrating to go beyond a single viewpoint perspective, losing track of events and making connection to the novel's pace rather difficult. Here Reed pulls it off quite effectively, in part because the different characters have such easily distinguishable voices and intentions

I was most interested in one character, a regular out of sorts normal human who meticulously pretended to be one of the famous Wanderers out of a basically psychological compulsion. It's effectively the type of approach that has someone spend a lot of effort plagiarizing for an assignment when in so doing they demonstrate enough skill to do their own work effectively. In this case, the fact that someone is able to imitate the patterns of behavior enough to actually fool real Wanderers establishes that he could do just find on conventional Earth, but he's drawn to this specific type of masquerade. It's an interesting take on the whole nature of the alien, and it works as presented particularly not as any kind of big breakthrough or self-realization but the small little details involved in keeping up the charade.

If there was one weakness it's that more probably could have been done with more fully describing the nature of the unFound and some of the background technology. Still the stark nature of the larger menace helps put the ambiguity of the narrative villain into sharper relief. Overall I've few complaints, and put this book high on my list for examples of how one can write classic, fairly conventional science fiction really well.

Better than: Transition by Iain Banks

Worse than: Marrow by Robert Reed
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4a946b4) out of 5 stars Another hidden gem April 16 2008
By Jeffmage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is another hidden gem from Robert Reed, one of SF's better kept secrets. All of his books are very different, owing to his great imagination. It is well worth the search to find a copy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa47e4e64) out of 5 stars Find this book and read it! Nov. 15 2002
By Jim Molnar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the rare almost-perfect SF novels, featuring parallel worlds, nano-tech, genetic engineering, ecological disaster, planetary-scale warfare. It is so cool it's hard to believe it's out of print. Read it and see if it did not somehow inspire or forecast much of what's great in current SF. It would in fact make a pretty good movie.
HASH(0xa4d29594) out of 5 stars If you like hard sci-fi, read this Aug. 31 2013
By Rod Fuller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't add much to what the other 5 star ratings have said. This is a vastly imaginative book that has few flat spots and you will find yourself finishing in record time. This is the first Reed novel I think I've read, but you can be assured it will not be the last.
HASH(0xa4d292dc) out of 5 stars Good Book! April 4 2015
By J. Whittington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Not what I expected. But was a good read.

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