SPHERES OF HEAVEN Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Nebula and Hugo winner Sheffield (Convergent Series) takes a thoughtful stab at pacifism and its attendant possibilities in this engrossing sequel to The Mind Pool. In the past, Chan Dalton was forced to disband his motley crew of spacefarers when the Stellar Group, an alien pacifist outfit, banned the human race from space exploration because of its violent tendencies. Twenty years later, without frontiers or aims, human society is stagnating and crumbling. Called upon to track down stolen starships, Chan and his group are given the chance to pick up where they left off and visit uncharted regions of space. When Chan's gang reassembles, they receive instructions to refrain from violence of any sort--even in self-defense. But the first intelligent aliens they meet are warlike: the Malacostracans (a species resembling a cross between lobsters and spiders) are interested in conquest at any cost. When they capture several members of Chan's group, Chan faces an impossible question--should he resort to violence to free his crewmates, forsaking humankind's access to space forever? Is there any other way? In several places, coincidences pile up unconvincingly, and certain dangerous situations are wrapped up too easily. But Sheffield incorporates quantum physics (he is a mathematician and physicist), well-documented space travel and plenty of action into a smooth narrative. Readers of hard science fiction will find the story right up their alley.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Banned from interstellar travel for their aggressiveness, humans have one last chance to regain the stars, provided they can solve the mystery of the disappearance of a pair of alien ships lost somewhere in the unknown part of space known as the Geyser Swirl. This sequel to The Mind Pool continues Sheffield's far future history of humanity's attempts to explore the universe. His skill at blending hard science with fast-paced plotting and colorful characters makes this a first-rate sf adventure that belongs in most libraries.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The Spheres of Heaven, continues (and evolves) with the adventures of Chan, and introduces a new character, the self effacing mechanical genius, Bony, who is ordered around by an incompetant and lazy captain whom you cannot wish enough bad things upon.
The book bounces back and forth between their two adventures in alternating chapters, forcing the reader at the end of each to want to race through the following chapter to pick up where they left off. This creates a self perpetuating "mad rush" of reading, making this book the quintesential "page turner"!
The supporting characters are well thought out and each is interesting enough to warrent their inclusion. So too, are the aliens. This writer even makes the computers and other technology interesting and vital characters in this book.
I'm back to reading sci-fi again, and I attribute this to the craftmanship apparent in Sheffeild's books.
A lone link is opened for our race, apparentlly it is'nt controled by the aliens, but nothing thet goes through does'nt come back or sends any signals back. The stellar group calls upon the famed Chan Dalton to explore the link, in exchange for the lifting of the quarantine on humanity.
Besides his assembled crew he chances upon a single representative of each of the alien races, and that prohibits the possibility of dealing with whatever they find with any form of violence - even in self defence!
The book reads fast and is as flowing as any Sheffield product, but I must say thet the spirit of "The Mind Pool", with it's striking contrasts between human, tinker-composite, pipe-rilla and sellora's angel, was not reproduced in the same vivid action or dialogues. Still a good read, mind you, but I felt as if the tension thet was built was'nt released in a stisfactory way. I would recommend it read only after "The Mind Pool", for a more exciting introduction to this fascinating aliens and universe.
Sheffield's book takes a little while to set up the story but slowly builds the tension and steps up the pace until finally you are so into the book you suddenly realize you've been reading for hours and didn't notice the time passing. The story involves humans and three other intelligent species and their effort to investigate what is called a "link" to another star system. Who and what they find their is so intriguing that you can't help but pause and consider what YOU would do were you in their shoes and faced with the same situation.
The ending was very obviously written to allow a sequel but also written so that the book can stand on its own. An excellent adventure tale with none of the violence and destruction common to many other sci-fi novels currently on the market. A wonderful change and very fun to read.
I'm going to look into more of Sheffield's books now.
He also writes a dam' fine science fiction opera! A very fine read & something I enjoyed immensely. Science fiction is richer because of Sheffield's talent.
I'm looking forward to his next endeavor with baited breath. His background allows him to bring the concepts of science to light in a new & imaginative way.