Timescape Paperback – 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
The premise of the book -- scientists trying to contact the near past in order to divert environmental disaster -- is interesting. Read morePublished on March 16 2004 by Kathy Christman
...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
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. Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2002 by Tom Wilkinson
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
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... Read morePublished on March 5 2002 by Dan
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 morePublished on Jan. 6 2002 by Michael J. Lane
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 morePublished on Dec 19 2001 by Donna Mearing
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 morePublished on Dec 15 2001