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Total Eclipse Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1984

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Mass Market Paperback, Feb 1984
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: New American Library (February 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879979119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879979119
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa6cc4f3c) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6bc778c) out of 5 stars greed is the universal killer July 12 2005
By C. Campagna - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This novel was well written, in the style usually favored by Mr. Brunner. There is almost no description of the surroundings or the background of the characters, except Ian, so that is why the novel is about 200 pages.

The most interesting precept in this book is that an human could get to think like an alien under the right circumstances. This passage is very well done.

They finally understand how a civilization was wiped out and you will see that this future could happen to us if we are not vigilant toward the biogeneticians.

Greed is a part of our nature, so we must put every effort in our reasonning.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6be5390) out of 5 stars Cumulative alien hypotheses; humanity endures July 19 2010
By 2theD - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though this may be my ninth Brunner novel to date, the author still manages to surprise me with his unending repertoire of imagination, science and, most surprisingly, humanity. A science fiction novel with the title `Total Eclipse' doesn't exactly ring a novelty bell of sorts, but beyond the so-so peel hides a surprisingly rich fruit.

`Sigma Draconis, nineteen light-years from Earth, had once harbored a world with a high civilization. But that world had died and only certain mysterious artifacts remained - wonderful creations but just one of each kind. By the year 2028, humanity was facing its own final crisis. And the starship STELLARIS was sent to find out the cause of that neighboring race's extinction. If they could discover why, it might mean saving our own world from a similar disaster.'

The only habitable planet within reach of Earth happens to also be home to a myriad scattering of similar structures and cloned crystal memory devices. With a deluge of possible hypotheses of the de-evolution of the mollusk-like species or of the fatal flaw of the same peoples, the thirty-some team of experts try to understand the undoing of an entire species. Each solution is ingenious, each explanation is conceivable.

Just when the plot becomes to feel rather tedious with the unrelenting speculative answers, Brunner takes it up a notch a pulls in a rather ominous mood thereby changing the characters' outlook and even the ominous conclusion to the novel. The eleventh-hour plot is wrenched with emotional onuses which is unlike many of Brunner novels which tend to have a straight forward conclusion.

Total Eclipse has nothing to do with a solar eclipse at all, but the reader must read into the plot unreeling and discover what the title means to the novel and to humanity in general.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7815834) out of 5 stars Survival on an alien planet Aug. 28 2006
By George E. Sullivan - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a great story. These scientist are left to solve the mystery of a dead civilization and in the end they do, but for what. They are stranded and no one knows what they learned along with what lesson they learned about greed. They try and establish a life for themselves on this world but fate has another plan. And in the end their attempt at a new civilization on this planet is thwarted by, perhaps, the greed of man on their own home world.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa76fdc48) out of 5 stars Intriguing concept/Painful Delivery Oct. 7 2012
By Mithridates VI of Pontus - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Over the years I've deluded myself into becoming a John Brunner completest -- around twenty-five of his novels line my shelves and I've read most of them over the years. At his best he's without question one of the great masters of the genre -- Stand on Zanzibar (1968), The Sheep Look Up (1972), etc. are evidence of this. However, in-between his social science fiction masterpieces are a plethora of unsatisfying attempts at traditionalist space opera. In these works Brunner never fully leaves his pulp roots although he occasionally tries to inject a dose of hard science, (pseudo) intellectualism, and social commentary.

Total Eclipse (1974) fits this mold. A group of scientists attempt to figure out the mystery of a highly advanced race which has apparently, died out. Character interactions are painfully silly along the "Oh heroic main character, you're a genius let me jump into your bed" sort of lines. The entire cast, despite the plethora of female scientists and racial diversity (Arabs, Africans, etc), are entirely interchangeable and bland. After the mystery is solved Brunner desperately attempts to make the work have a relevant social message. Also, apparently dissatisfied with his earlier cavalcade of undeviating naivete, melodrama, and endless faux-biological/linguistic/archaeological technobabble, Brunner tags on a dark ending out of touch with the rest of the work.

For Brunner completests and fans of 70s Hard Science fiction only.

Brief Plot Summary (*some spoilers*)

In the future, mankind has pulled together the necessary resources for a single space sparing vessel, the Stellaris. The powers that be on Earth are increasingly beset by a populace against "wasting" money on space travel due to the crisises of growing overpopulation, pollution, etc. As a result, it's increasingly uncertain how much longer the space program will be funded. Also, various conspiracy theories develop as to the real reasons for the Stellaris` treks into space.

Our paleolinguist main character Ian Macauly -- cut from the nerdy, socially inept, scientist mold -- is summoned by the group of scientists who have taken up residence on the planet Sigma Draconis III. This planet was the home planet of a fascinating race of crab-like aliens which have long since disappeared. The crab creatures communicated by manipulating electric fields, evolved incredibly fast (from primitivism to incredibly sophisticated technology in 3,000 years), appear to make mistakes only once before never repeating them, and left behind a vast assortment of intriguing, but hard to interpret, artifacts (including a moon with a massive telescope). Ian is summoned to solve the alien language with the hope that answer for their disappearance will be solved.

Due to the conspiracies surrounding the program, a particularly egregious/paranoid South American official is assigned to interrogate all the occupants of the archaeological camp. The first third of the book serves as an attempt to info dump the reader under the guise by means of the official's interrogations. Of course, Ian eventually makes him see the light and suddenly is considered a hero. A female scientist fawns over him and desperately wants to get into his bed. Of course, Ian's anti-social nature provides a few giggles and laughs in between the "you're a brilliant man tell me more of your brilliant theories and brilliant brilliance" pat yourself on the back moments.

The rest of the book follows Ian's attempts to unravel the mystery of the crab creatures. He eventually comes up with a plan to make crab suit (!) to simulate the creature's movements, way of visualizing the world, and even the psychological impact of the creature's evolving sexual stages. This incredibly hokey contraption allows Ian approach a solution. But, will the Stellaris even return or have the powers on Earth forgotten them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa73c5030) out of 5 stars Brunner was one of the best writers of his time Dec 14 2014
By Richard Dillman - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brunner was one of the best writers of his time. This extremely interesting story will engage your imagination right to the end.

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