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1. Vectors
2. Before the Storm (Star Wars: The
3. Exile
4. Alternities
5. Isaac Asimov's Robot City, Book
6. The Trigger
7. Enigma
8. After the Flames (Allied Stars,
9. Shield of Lies: The Black Fleet
10. Star Wars. Die Schwarze Flotte
11. The Quiet Pools
12. Biography - Kube-Mcdowell, Michael
13. Isaac Asimov's Robot City, Volumes
14. Emprise (Trigon Disunity, Book
15. Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Odyssey
16. Star Wars: The Black Fleet Crisis
17. Empery (Trigon Disunity, Book
18. Empery
19. Star Wars. Die Schwarze Flotte
20. Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction

1. Vectors
by Michael P. Kube-Mcdowell
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2002-10-29)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553298240
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
From one of the most original voices in imaginative fiction comes a stunning novel of suspense and speculation, as a scientist seeking to uncover the mystery of human consciousness finds himself in a desperate search for immortality.

Dr. Jonathan Briggs is a gifted neuroscientist researching the existence of the human soul. Working at one of the world’s top facilities, he has access to the latest technology. He also has the enthusiastic support of his lover, Alynn Reed, who made her fortune as a creator of virtual reality games that have broken every barrier. Alynn believes in reincarnation, which Jonathan scoffs at--until he begins to note strange anomalies in his research.

Then Jonathan’s life is suddenly, shockingly turned upside down. No longer the dispassionate scientist, he begins a fevered, reckless effort to go beyond belief to proof. Ridiculed by his colleagues and the tabloid media, hounded by the police, Jonathan finds himself in a frenzied race against time, memory, and his own mortality. As he journeys deeper into the labyrinth of the human psyche, he moves nearer the place where past and future intersect, identities mingle, and death is the beginning of the most amazing adventure of all. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking!
I'm only half-way through this book, but I'm hooked! The characters are thoroughly believable, and having broken 50 years old, the author has made me think about several issues that I am facing in the last half of this life.I can highly recommend this book!

3-0 out of 5 stars A look into grief and insanity
Over the course of this book we meet Dr. Briggs, who isn't the most stable person to begin with.His career as a scientist is grinding to a halt when he meets the woman of his dream.The honeymoon doesn't last long and he's plunged into a quagmire of grief and the questionable behaviors it causes.Rather than science, this book is about personal beliefs about the afterlife and how they are subject to change.Perhaps if Briggs had gotten the help he needed after his girlfriend's death, he could have handled it better.

This is a book that starts with a lot of promise and ends with pure depression and desperation.

The author challenges us to think about the nature of consciousness in this fast-paced story of a professor researching brain patterns. Dr. Jonathon Briggs believes man is more than a machine and feels he can "find" personality in the colorful images he takes of brains, using expensive scanning equipment. But he apparently doesn't think he's looking for a soul or for the part of man that might be immortal. And he operates in the academic world where skepticism is heavy for anything that can't be proved through repeatable experiments. That eventually gets him in trouble with his academic colleagues.

After he falls in love with a woman who designs video games, but would like to be able to capture real experiences that could be played back in another person's brain, Jonathon begins to look deeper. When he finds two of his brain images are an exact match, he thinks either his premise - that each personality is unique - is wrong, or he's been thinking of these images in the wrong way. Could those two people be the same person? One was an older man who had died and the other a young child born after the man whose image matched. You figure it out.

While I enjoyed most of this story, I also wondered if that part of us that survives death is really reflected in brain images. Is the idea that you could use these matching brain patterns to "prove" that the one person is the reincarnation of the other really valid? How this is so was never well explained. The author seemed to have little understanding of reincarnation as it's been conceived of by spiritual teachers and communication with "the other side." The book does not mention the concept of karma (action - reaction, what you do to others comes back to you) that is part of the most widely-accepted view of reincarnation. The ending to this book is all wrong. Jonathon's lover has been murdered and the cops think he did it. His work is far from being accepted and he is miserable without the woman he loved.

Not wanting to give away the plot, but if you want to read a fascinating novel dealing with life after death, I highly recommend What Dreams May Comeby Richard Matheson as more in tune with a spiritual understanding of life after death. Reincarnation is not an invitation to depart this world and leave your troubles behind. This life is a bit like a school where we have lessons to learn, and the time of our departure is not up to us. Aside from the author's lack of understanding of the spiritual consequences, it did not seem likely that Jonathon would want to leave his work unfinished. Perhaps the author simply wrote himself into a corner and, like his character, took the easy way out.

3-0 out of 5 stars starts out good, goes downhill
another book borrowed from my friend... i started off liking this book, then it just got confusing and boring. i forgot to finish it and just skimmed the very end now. i was a couple chapters away, and nothing could have completed the book to my satisfaction, or kept my attention on it. it did get me thinking a lot about reincarnation, so thats why i initially liked it, because it does make you think.maybe he should re write it and do some edits?

1-0 out of 5 stars Good Plan
Ugh. I thought I had liked some of his stuff in the past, this was really crap. Scientist takes pictures of brainwaves, unique as fingertips, discovers identical ones from an old man and a kid born after the old man's death. His Wiccan, video game genius new girlfriend is killed by gang-bangers after he has scoffed at her suggestion that this is proof of reincarnation, so he goes on a mission to prove her theory. After a bunch of plot, he kills himself so he can be reincarnated soon after she is, so he can hook up with her again ASAP -- good plan.
I had thought he was more of a hard science guy, what's with the fuzzy reincarnation bit??? ... Read more

2. Before the Storm (Star Wars: The Black Fleet Crisis, Book 1)
by Michael P. Kube-Mcdowell
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (1996-03-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553572733
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the blockbuster bestselling tradition of Heir to the Empire comes this thrilling addition to the Star Wars(r) saga, as peace gives way to a new threat...

It is a time of tranquillity for the New Republic.The remnants of the Empire now lie in complete disarray, and the reemergence of the Jedi Knights has brought power and prestige to the fledgling government on Coruscant.Yesterday's Rebels have become today's administrators and diplomats, and the factions that fought against imperial tyranny seem united in savoring the fruits of peace.

But the peace is short-lived.A restless Luke must journey to his mother's homeworld in a desperate and dangerous quest to find her people.An adventurous Lando must seize a mysterious spacecraft that has weapons of enormous destructive power and an unknown mission.And Leia, a living symbol of the New Republic's triumph, must face down a ruthless leader of the Duskhan League, an arrogant Yevetha who seems bent on a genocidal war that could shatter the fragile unity of the New Republic...and threaten its very survival. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (91)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book and great trilogy
This is a great book, I read it in 4 days because I couldn't wait to know how it ended. I haven't finished reading the trilogy yet but as far as i can tell is a good one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Black Fleet Crisis, Book 1
Before the Storm is the first book in The Black Fleet Crisis, a trilogy by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. Now the book had a couple of things going for it before I even opened it up. First, I always like the idea of a trilogy. Second, I think The Black Fleet Crisis has a nice ring to it, slightly ominous. Then I discovered that Luke, Lando, Leia, Han, and our two favorite droids were major players in the story. That made everything look good, and I am pleased to say that the book met my expectations. Fun stories to read for the most part.

The series takes place in a time of relative peace for the New Republic. The Empire is in tatters. The Jedi Knights are emerging once again as a force to be reckoned with. However, as one would expect, everything is not just good times and happiness. Leia is Chief of State and spends her time administering the Republic while resolving a multitude of problems and trying to raise a family. Her current focus in this book is a period of negotiations with the ruthless leader of the Duskhan League. Everything is not as it seems with the Yevetha who opposes her.

Luke is off in a wilderness area of Coruscant acting as a hermit and trying to get in touch with the Force or something. He does not seem to need clothes, food, water, or contact with other people. Leia has begged him to help her raise her kids and teach them the ways of the Force, but Luke is not going for it. Then suddenly one day a woman named Akanah appeared in his house without warning and asked Luke to go with her on a quest to find the Fallanassi and possibly to find news of his mother. Just like that, Luke agreed to go with her. Needless to say, Leia was not pleased. This section of the book requires an adjustment for readers who have seen the prequels and are comfortable with the story of Padme. Keep in mind that the book was written in 1996.

My favorite storyline in the book so far is Lando's quest as part of a military team to investigate a mysterious spacecraft that seems to have extremely destructive weapons and a mysterious mission. The craft is unapproachable and either jumps to hyperspace when approached or destroys any ship getting near to it. I love the mystery of this unknown vessel just traveling through space with an unknown purpose.

Before the Storm is a good effort by Mr. McDowell. I look forward to the next two books in the trilogy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Smart book is a solid start to the trilogy
Michael P. Kube-McDowell's novel Before the Storm kicks off the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy and is set some twelve years after Return of the Jedi. The New Republic has continued to struggle through the growing pains of a fledgling government, led by head of state Princess Leia Organa Solo. The galaxy has experienced a time of relative peace since the predations of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Admiral Daala several years prior. Han Solo is adapting to life as a spouse at home looking after the three Solo children, Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin. Luke Skywalker is continuing to seek out new Jedi and improve himself and others in a quest to rebuild the Jedi legacy and decipher his true self.

Into this tranquil time come the Yevetha, a highly xenophobic alien race led by the cunning Nil Spaar. Spaar comes to Coruscant for an ostensible peace mission, but as events develop his agenda becomes murkier and his motives more mysterious. I enjoyed Mr. McDowell's carefully paced development of Spaar and his people: he allows insights into the Yevethan mindset to unfold at a pace roughly parallel to Leia herself learning more about them, helping sink the reader deeper into the story. The Yevetha come across as a credible threat to the galaxy's peace, and by leaving their full plans unstated, the reader is left with heightened anticipation for what is to come in the next two novels in the trilogy.

While the Yevetha and their possible ties to the group of Imperial capital ships known as the Black Fleet are the central focus of the tale, there are two other important storylines given close to equal weight. The first and better of these follows Lando Calrissian, C-3PO, R2-D2, and the quasi-obscure cyborg Lobot (first seen on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back). New Republic Intelligence asks for Lando's help on a mission to recover the Teljkon vagabond, a legendary space vessel of unknown origin, design, and contents that has recently been located. Lando's sparring with the task force leader Colonel Pakkpekatt is good fun, as is watching his team develop an approach for boarding the vagabond and learning its secrets. The vagabond itself makes for a compelling mystery and the interactions between Lando, Lobot, and the droids are humorous.

The third storyline is the weakest and deals with Luke's quest to learn more about his mother. He is approached by Akanah, an orphaned child from a group of Force users known as the Fallanassi. Akanah claims Luke's mother was a Fallanassi, and that they can work together to track down Akanah's missing people and learn more about Luke's past. It's not fair to the novels published in the 1990s to judge them too harshly for not connecting with the still-to-come prequel trilogy, but I must say this plot feels very disjointed from what we now know about the broader saga and Luke's mother Padme. Also, there's simply not as much interest in the interactions between these two characters as there is in the rest of the novel. However, it is book one of a trilogy, so perhaps things will develop better as the story moves forward.

One place Mr. Kube-McDowell really shines is in his depiction of alien races and cultural mores. His aliens truly behave in non-human ways, from the motivations of the Yevetha to the odd cultural clashes amongst the Senators on Coruscant. He does a great job with making the fantastical seem quite real. He also delves more deeply and deftly into political maneuvering than the typical Star Wars novel: the time he spends fleshing out the decisions behind the government's actions and the clandestine discussions happening behind Leia's back is well-spent.

Before the Storm is a promising start to the Black Fleet Crisis. I'll reserve final judgment on the Luke storyline for now, and I very much look forward to reading further about the Yevetha and Lando's adventures with the vagabond.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Read, but A Slow Pace
A little about myself and my reviews:
(The reason I tell some bio is so you get an idea if we are looking for the same things out of a novel.)
-I want to be captivated when I read a novel, but I'll keep reading if I'm not bored.
-I only rate 1 star or 5. Basically I recommend or I do not based on what I want out of a novel. If you don't like what I like then my review will be no help. If we are similar in taste then maybe I can help.

-I have dyslexia so I read slow and I have ADD so I need good pace, distancing, and engagement. Needless to say, I prefer that the story move along quickly and have many revelations and twists.

SW:BFC Before the Storm
A very slow story, yet I was entertained. For me, this is quite a compliment to the author. I felt that there was a very deliberate weaving of a tale here and there is always a "bad feeling about this" that is ubiquitous. The de-emphasis on the Solo family is welcome and in its place is an elaborate, deliberate set-up (in more ways than one). The book is predictable but this is forgivable due to the fact that this is establishing the rules for the next two books. I don't think its fair to review the entire trilogy here. This is only what I have discovered reading book one and I am pleased. If your bored easily (as am I) that should not be a problem here. All of the story arcs have a mysterious element going for them, so transitions to each chapter are welcome. This may seem like a minor point, but there are many breaks within each chapter. This makes this a good book to read at work if you have to find a good cut-off point. Or if your like me, no book can sustain my attention for too long a period of time, so I like to put it down every 20 min. or so (although great books keep my attention 10 times as long and book 1 didn't do this). I recommend this book and give it a 6.5 out of 10.

5-0 out of 5 stars A severely misunderstood gem
I have an uncommon and slightly unhealthy addiction to Star Wars novels. I have read 54 of them, which is utterly ridiculous and not something I share with everybody. I could have read 54 other books and been a lot smarter, but I didn't. I mean, seriously, I even counted them. Ridiculous.

This is to hopefully give my opinion more credibility when I say that this is hands-down the smartest, most mature Star Wars novel I have yet to read. It has garnered a bad reputation since it certainly resides outside the typical Star Wars novel construction - it is slow-paced, light on action, and does stray from the canon in ways that will turn typical fans off. I welcome it. I really don't know if I can read another slapstick space battle or totally shallow deus ex machina laser fight escape. Kube-McDowell thankfully wrote a book brimming with intelligence and outstanding dialogue that, perhaps unfortunately, reinvigorated my interest in the series.

Instead of writing another implausible adventure story, Kube brings an outstanding sense of reality to the galaxy in which all the books take place, which lends credibility and substance to the Star Wars saga as a whole. He fleshes out numerous details of the New Republic's political and military structures, and paints a genuine picture of a massive governmental body in its infancy trying to use both diplomacy and morally-questionable black ops to protect its members. He weaves together more minor government branches and chain-of-command protocols into his story than in the rest of the 90's SW books combined. He understands the psyche and choices of military generals all the way down to the file clerks. You really will see the difference in his writing within the first two chapters - it's gritty and to-the-point, bothering very little with flourish or puerile humor. It's also more intense and captivating.

With his characterizations, he has obviously gone through all the previous chronological material and thought about what emotional state they would all be facing. They are all written with a heavier hand, less able to deal with the stresses that their adventures have put them through. It's nothing new, but Kube really puts a voice to what we already know about them.

And I will mention also that there is a high level of creativity in his unique alien technologies, and his obvious knowledge of real-world aviation and aircraft systems helps the realism of his science fiction. No Sun Crushers or Centerpoint Stations to worry about in this one.

This book has a unique militaristic adult style, which is sorely lacking from modern-day Star Wars. I was pretty disappointed when the Clone Wars we've all imagined as the galaxy's most intense and violent struggle was given practically no more story than a children's animated series. This book could not be more different. For other books unwilling to rehash the same style over and over again, I recommend Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, Tales From Jabba's Palace, and The Lando Calrissian Adventures, since Star Wars needs more variety than what most of these authors are willing to dare. ... Read more

3. Exile
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
Paperback: 1 Pages (1993-07-01)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$5.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441222129
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The surviving witnesses to an alien encounter have been sentenced to exile for two decades, and now one man is ready to listen to their forbidden memories. Reprint. AB. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of my favorite books of all time
In just a few pages Michael P. Kube-McDowell manages to create a complex, believable alien culture.He crafted his characters and setting with such vivid detail, I find myself thinking of this world often.It leads me to re-read this story yet again.I am now on my sixth reading and enjoying it as thoroughly as the first read.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of my favorite books of all time
In just a few pages Michael P. Kube-McDowell manages to create a complex, believable alien culture.He crafted his characters and setting with such vivid detail, I find myself thinking of this world often.It leads me to re-read this story yet again.I am now on my sixth reading and enjoying it as thoroughly as the first read. ... Read more

4. Alternities
by Michael P. Kube-Mcdowell
Hardcover: 416 Pages (2005-02-08)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$2.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743497805
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars Homage to classic SF
I had a very different reaction to this book than other reviewers; I felt that it is an homage to the hard-boiled sf novels of old-time (forties, fifties) science fiction.
Perhaps because the split between the parallel universes was set in 1950, all of the universeshave a cold war fifties feel, where men are white men and women are sexual/love objects for the men.I did not get a strong sense of the different versions for a long time into the book, and even then only two of them came clear.
Just saying that in one of them the US goverment is controlled by the mafia, and that it's not really that different, doesn't give me a clear sense of what that world is like.None of the worlds seemed to be remotely ours.The evil characters also seemed to be way overblown in their ruthlessness, and the good ones were mostly weak and clueless.

The plot was strong enough to get me through the end, but I felt that the setting and characters could easily have been more effective.I kept checking the dates to be clear that it was written in 1988 and set in 1977, not thirty years earlier on both counts.The best thing about this book is the concept.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel that respects the reader's intelligence
What would you do if you discovered a path to alternate worlds?This question is at the heart of Michael P. Kube-McDowell's novel, which begins with a businessman from a different America who stumbles across a gateway to a number of parallel Earths.His discovery is exploited by a U.S. government in a world where it is losing the Cold War.Initially using it as a means of gaining new technologies, the president is emboldened by its existence to take increasingly aggressive measures that risk annihilation by the superior Soviet forces, secure in the existence of an alternate world refuge should it occur.Yet as he pushes the world closer to nuclear war, a growing number of people in his world and another work to stop him before it is too late.

Kube-McDowell's novel is an impressively imaginative work, one that succeeds through quality writing.His genius is in respecting the reader's intelligence; whereas many alternate history authors convey the differences of their worlds through clumsy exposition, Kube-Mcdowell lets readers discover his worlds slowly through the story itself and "documentation" that he intersperses between the chapters.Though I found this approach frustrating at first, it created a real sense of investment in the text that paid off as the novel went along.Though his explanation of the gateway phenomenon at the end of the novel was not to my taste, it is a minor quibble, and one that is presented in a way that detracts neither from the plot or the ability to enjoy the novel as a whole.In short, this is a quality novel, one worth the time of any fan of science fiction.

4-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book
This is a powerfully realised parallel universe novel, set in the 1970s. Its two main threads are:

- The experiences of everyman agent Rayne Wallace, whose marriage is disintegrating as he is drawn ever-deeper into his government's secret infiltration of a number of accidentally discovered parallel earths.

- The plot of the reckless US president Robinson to launch a sneak attack on the USSR.

The whole premise is fully thought through, and is realised brilliantly. The parallel worlds feel completely real, inhabited by real people. The story is full of astute observations about relationships and political machinations.

McDowell is a master of the thriller style. The writing, by and large, is excellent. I have just one criticism of the way the book is written - he has a tendency to over-describe emotional passages, and particular those involving physical intimacy. A tad more subtlety would have helped in these instances. This over-description notwithstanding, these scenes are intelligent and well-observed.

One striking facet of the novel is the way Alternity Blue's Norfolk nuclear incident is so evocative of the World Trade Centre attack. This book was written in the late 80s, and so obviously this was not intentional. But it's a mark of the writer's intelligence that it seems so apt in 2008.

All in all, this is an exceptionally good science fiction/political thriller novel. McDowell is clearly a writer of burning intelligence, and I look forward to reading more of his books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Flawed but imaginitive
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell

Parallel universes. Reminiscent of "Sliders". A nuclear blast around 1950 has somehow triggered a 5-way split of multiverses which start to diverge from each other. No explanation is given of who discovered or created "gates" between the "Alternities".
In the 21st century the USA from 1 alternity seeks to obtain hi-tech secrets from another alternity in a bid to overthrow Soviet dominance...but their attempts come unstuck.

3-0 out of 5 stars A first-choice alternate worlds story
This is not a perfect parallel worlds story, and is slightly unsatisfying to the extent it doesn't tie up all the plot developments. Overall, however, "Alternities" is a superior work of this genre; a satisfying, even thought-provoking read. The non-science components of the book turn heavily on modern politics and world history, and, hooray, they ring very true. Kube-McDowell obviously is a student of history, and understands the American political system down to the nuances of rank and custom.

The novel provides, as these things go, a relatively high sense of verisimilitude, especially in its media extracts (book reviews, news articles, encyclopedia entries and so forth, provided to give quick context to the events in the multiverse that we are invited to observe).

Even though the book was first published in the late '80s, it makes for a great cautionary tale about 21st Century politics in general and a certain US president in particular. The subplots and supporting characters are well developed -- in several cases to an extent that's electric and eye-opening, In other aspects the book is your standard, science-fictional, one-man-against-all tale, but everything is not as it seems and villains and heroes seem quite interchangeable, depending on your point of view and the passage of events.

Overall: A good, solid read, especially for lovers of contemporary politics and SF in general. ... Read more

5. Isaac Asimov's Robot City, Book 1, Odyssey
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
Paperback: 211 Pages (1987-07-01)
list price: US$3.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441731228
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Love this series
I read the paperback versions of the Foundation series (the first 3 in an original paperback my Dad had) and a friend of mine loaned me Mirage and Chimera.

After reading those, I realized that Derec and Ariel had a "history" and wanted to learn more.I bought the Robot City Vol 1-3 (which is books 1-6) in e-book version.

I haven't read books 5 and 6 (I'm re-reading 3 & 4) yet and have been trying to find the rest of the series in either e-book or paperback and haven't been successful.

I am totally engrossed in this series and can't wait to finish it!

3-0 out of 5 stars If you love Asimov Robots, you gotta read it...
So, it may not be the best story ever written, but it does carry on the Asimov Robots storyline.If you can quote the three laws of robotics, you gotta read this whole series.It will not knock your socks off or anything, but you will enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Asimovian Robots again
A good work. If you are Asimov's fan you will find a new murder investigation involving the 3 robotics laws of Asimov, this time in a new planet inhabited exclusively by robots. There is other interesting themes: New alliens species, a radical tool for stelar traveling (more radical and without technical explanations- or speculations). If you are a new asimovian robots reader, you will enjoy this book and will find a good introduction for the 3 robotics laws.
The more i liked: A amnesiac man interacting with unknown robots who can not lie and with a attractive girl.
Te murder resolution is not so good like in asimov books.

5-0 out of 5 stars First sci-fi book read ever.
This was the first sci-fi book I read ever, in fact it's the first "real" book I read when I was young.I fall in love with Asimov at this very moment.I love the story.This was my first contact with the three laws of robotics I love so much.I think it's a good book to learn more or introduceyou to Asimov style.I lose my original copy of this book 10 years ago al least.I just brought this electronic copy.I start read it and feel the same joy today.A must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Never a dull moment
The author does a great job of not letting the main character get a chance to relax. The moment one hurdle is overcome, another one, twice as large is placed in front of him. And... for every mystery that is resolved, two arebrought in to take its place. After reading the 1st two books in the RobotCity series, I'm left with more questions than answers... I'm off to buythe next book... ... Read more

6. The Trigger
by Arthur C. Clarke, Michael P. Kube-McDowell
Mass Market Paperback: 640 Pages (2000-09-05)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$0.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553576208
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
From Arthur C. Clarke, bestselling author of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Creator Of The Rama Series, and Michael Kube-Mcdowell comes a breathtaking new novel of bold scientific speculation and edge-of-your-seat suspense: a riveting thriller in which the fate of humanity depends on whose finger is on...The Trigger

It is the ultimate antiweapon. A device that can render guns and bombs virtually harmless. At least that is how Dr. Jeffrey Horton, the brilliant young physicist who developed the Trigger, hopes his discovery will be used. Yet, like the scientists who first believed nuclear weapons would be the ultimate deterrent to war, could Horton and his colleagues be wrong? Will this new technology bring peace, or chaos? Will it be used to protect people, or control them? Will it mean the end of war, or a whole new kind of war? Not even Horton could have foreseen the fierce power struggle emerging for control of the Trigger. Soon it becomes clear that no one can be trusted. Not even those closest to him. Someone has already betrayed the project. Others will do anything to stop it--or co-opt it for their own ends. And the greatest enemy may be those with the best intentions.
Amazon.com Review
The early 21st century ushers in a revolution in unified field theory, and free-thinking physicist Jeffrey Horton and his team are pushing the cutting edge. Sequestered on a maximum-security research campus, the scientists are testing "Baby," a device they hope will create "a laser for gravity," a tractor beam. But during an early run, every gun in the area (and even a secret stash of fireworks) simultaneously explodes. Follow-up tests soon prove their device was responsible--that it can in fact neutralize every conventional gun, bomb, and explosive--and that's when Baby becomes the "Trigger."

This speculative novel by sci-fi legend Arthur C. Clarke and genre workman Michael Kube-McDowell follows the vast sea changes such an invention would bring, reading as part thriller, part social tract. Horton and his Trigger follow a course not unlike that of Einstein and the A-bomb, but ratcheted up by an order of magnitude--idealistic scientists, overwhelmed politicians, rabid lobbyists, and entrenched generals must deal with the device's deployment and consequences, both political and social, in a gun-rich, gun-dependent culture. A well-researched, plausible plot line keeps The Trigger not just readable but downright engrossing, despite its sometimes distracting lack of subtlety. All in all, a worthwhile, entertaining meditation on how technological progress always proves as unpredictable as it is inevitable. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

2-0 out of 5 stars Pacifist Fairy Tale!
I have a hard time believing that Master Clarke would even lend his name, much less his writing talents to such a second rate piece of drivel, especially after such masterpieces as the 'Space Odyssey' and the Rama novels. I can't believe he would need the income that might be generated by such a poor piece of 'work'.
This is really a poor hack-job against U.S. citizens' Second Amendment rights in the Constitution of our United States. It attempts (poorly)to portray all firearms owners as borderline sociopaths who cling infantilely to their weapons as children would to their favorite toys, which any 'sensible adult' would tell them that they are old enough they should grow up and put away.
Rather than drag on in a lenghtly diatribe against this offensive piece of drivel, I answer with the classic pro-Second Amendment sayings:

"God, Guns, and Guts! The Three Made America Free, and will KEEP It Free!"

"If Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will Have Guns!"

As bad as it is, this fairy tale does have a few minor redeeming points. I thought it was hilarious that such a pacifist tale could turn such a brilliant fau paus as predicting the 9/11 terrorist attacks, two YEARS before they occured (even though it was proposed by American radical paramilitary 'gun nuts', rather than Islamic foreign radicals). The fact that the greatest terrorist attack on U.S. soil was carried out with no weapon more deadly than a box cutting tool completely lays to waste the proposition that an unarmed society would be any safer.
I personally am overjoyed that the reality of this fairy tale is as bogus as the supposed 'technology' it bases itself on.
Whether one is a fan of Master Clarke, or not, be prepared for a disappointment of TITANIC proportions.

I've read Arthur C. Clarke. I KNOW Arthur C. Clarke.
This drivel is NOT Arthur C. Clarke! ! !

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A scientist invents a field that prevents firearms and other such weapons from working.

This makes him and his research a target for those that have a vested in interest in things that go bang continuing to function.

Once it gets out there and is working things go smoothly for a bit, until all the socioeconomic effects are worked out.

Then, there is just an arms race of different technology, looking for vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the device.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, engaging, worth the read
True to expectations, Clarke delivers a well thought-out, insightfully reasoned, fascinating book based on an intriguing scenario: what would happen if a new technology appeared that made firearms and most explosives inert? The authors do an excellent job of imagining the plausible reactions of government, normal people, and of course the extremist gun-worship lobby and fortified-compound jingoist set. Whom I imagine are largely responsible for the low-star reviews you see here. Despite what others have claimed, the authors do a great job of presenting the logical and illogical points of view on either side of the fundamental debate presented by the plot arc.

In any event, unlike many Clarke novels where a giant idea is presented but not much happens plot-wise, in this book the plot moves right along. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the whole gun-control versus the-world-is-all-about-me-me-me-and-you-can't-take-my-precious-gun-away debate. This is high-quality sci-fi as society commentary, which lest we forget is mostly the point of sci-fi in the first place.

1-0 out of 5 stars So godawful as to defy description
Clarke can be a wonderful writer when (1) he alone is in charge of the writing and (2) the stories are true sci-fi...the Rama series, Childhood's End, 2001. At one time it was possible to say "Good reading, bad pleading" but both are just incredibly bad. It's almost (but not quite) as bad as the one in which the Earth is divided into various time zones - Jeez Louise, what a flop.

Clarke has never been strong in the character department and that includes all facets from relationships to dialogue to growth.This weakness is highlighted here. Not one memorable character exists, none is interesting or believable, everyone speaks like a bad made-for-TV movie. The conversations were about as authentic as plastic dinosaurs and just as predictable - the president is commanding and strong, the scientists are full of noble thoughts, the generals are reprobates craving guns and violence, etc.There are no gray areas here - you're either against guns or support violence. The Trigger, one of the worst-described devices in fiction, destroys all ammunition and was created almost by accident. Being nice guys (a few female flunkies make cameo appearances) the scientists immediately see its worth in a world gone mad with gun violence. The fact that 99.99& emenates with criminals or the military is not important.

It is not that the message is wrong (I have no guns), it's all so preposterous,. Each chapter begins with a phony news story about gun violence.These events do happen but the presentation here is the height of artificiality.The authors never explain why African, Arab or Asian dictators would willingly relinquish control of the very thing keeping them in power. Clarke, who lives in Sri Lanka, has always seen the Third World through rose-colored glasses.It is no different here.

ALthough the story could have been bold - the ideas of blowing old land mines was great - the writing is so bad that only the author's plea (ban guns) remains in this quagmire of syrup. When in the first chapter, a world-renowned scientist shows up at the home of a gadget guru and asks him to work in his new science lab you know you are in for rough sledding. The idea of a universal ban on guns is not new.The two problems are: (1) rogue states refuse to obey & (2) the alternative may be nuclear or biological weapons.If you want anything remotely related to literature, try something else.

4-0 out of 5 stars Clarke & Baxterat the top of their game
A group of scientists given free reign to explore their heart's desires are attempting to devise a tractor beam when they accidentally stumble upon emission of a field that detonates all explosives. The story tracks the political intrigue surrounding a discovery that will rewrite modern warfare, and the scientific refinements that play into this intrigue. Eventually, the Trigger gives way to the Jammer, which renders explosives useless without detonating them. Everyone seems happy with the exception of military warhawks, and domestic militia and gun rights advocates, who scheme in various ways to blunt the spread of the devices. In the chilling conclusion, a further refinement to the technology gives the controller the ability to kill any creature whose DNA is on file.
The Good and the Bad:
This is perhaps the best Arthur C. Clarke book I've read, with the possible exception of 2001, and I'm only saying that because 2001 is so famous. Clarke's vision of the science and the potential cultural impacts is apparent throughout, and that is completely entertaining. He's also somehow successfully integrated a lot of social-benefit philosophical arguments into the dialogue without it appearing to be too contrived, and that is entertaining. The attention to detail when presenting the inner workings of the scientist's lab and, especially, the military, are entertaining. I suspect his writing partner had a lot to do with the humanity of the characters; unlike his previous novels, this one read like a mainstream political thriller, and things like a love story were handled with a professional touch so that they didn't intrude on the storyline. All of those things were so well done that the book was a joy to read.
The drawbacks, however, were all the more glaring in this context. The gun advocates are all shown to be crazy and delusional by the end of the novel, resorting to murder in the face of a losing battle (there is an exception to this, but it proves the rule). This seemed more jarring at the tail end of a lot of intellectual discussion about the issues of gun control. The book also kind of leaves us hanging. One of the thing I liked about "The Lights of Other Days" is that the book projected far enough into the future that you got a very clear grasp of the furthest-reaching impacts of society. This is lacking here.
What I learned:
The issues surrounding gun ownership remain muddied. A scientist who creates an invention of military significance has virtually no chance of keeping the government out of dictating its use.
... Read more

7. Enigma
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
 Paperback: Pages (2004-01-01)

Asin: B001J24JIW
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8. After the Flames (Allied Stars, Vol 11)
by Robert Silverberg, Norman Spinrad, Michael P. Kube-McDowell
 Paperback: Pages (1985-12-01)
list price: US$2.95 -- used & new: US$9.90
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Asin: 0671559982
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Too bad it's out of print.
This is a 3-story anthology with nuclear war as a common theme. By far the best is Spinrad's entry, which (I think) is not available anywhere else. It's a hilarious tale of a pot-smoking Arab oil sheik bent on acquiring nukes to annihilate Israel, and an attendant power struggle between a screwball American president (a former used-car salesman) and a computer-animated corpse of the Soviet Communist Party Secretary General. All the comdey ingredients are there and Spinrad makes the best of them! ... Read more

9. Shield of Lies: The Black Fleet Crisis #2: Star Wars
by Michael P Kube-McDowell
Paperback: 419 Pages (1996)

Isbn: 0553504797
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10. Star Wars. Die Schwarze Flotte 2. Aufmarsch der Yevethaner.
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
Paperback: Pages (1998-07-01)

Isbn: 345313673X
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11. The Quiet Pools
by Michael P. Kube-Mcdowell
Paperback: 384 Pages (2004-07-20)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$5.59
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Asin: 0743493044
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

It is humanity's most ambitious endeavor-and its most controversial: the Diaspora Project. A city-sized starship that will carry ten thousand men and women, chosen among Earth's billions, to a new life beyond our solar system. For those who are to go, the cost is their families, their loved ones, and the lives they have known. For those who are left behind, there is disappointment, despair, and anger. And for the Homeworld movement, led by the enigmatic Jeremiah, the Project is an abomination that must be stopped at any cost. The theft of Earth's best and brightest children? Or the ultimate destiny of the human race? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent but Unsatisfying
The Quiet Pools (1990) by Michael Kube-McDowell - 371 pages - rating: 6/10

Kube has crafted a detailed and plausible picture of the future. His characterizations have depth and honesty. Much of this novel is compelling and intriguing. Only occasionally does his writing style come off as overly verbose or inherently awkward.

Unfortunately he forgot to tell a story. The Quiet Pools is little more than the build up to a sequel that was never written and quite probably never intended. One is forever waiting for this glorious Starship to set sail so that the characters Kube has so vividly painted can be challenged by the dangers of the cosmos and an adventurous undertaking.

The entire book however, is just the build up BEFORE the ship launches. Perhaps I've missed the point. Ultimately the feeling one is left with is that the author has tried to do something different at the expense of failing to tell an interesting story.

Claus Kellermann
2006 May 8

5-0 out of 5 stars Humanity Goes To Seed
This is a work to be proud of.Just the right combination of action and character development, with a believable setting at the beginning of the 22nd century.Kube-McDowell chronicles the end of the Diaspora project - an ambitious program to send humanity to nearby star systems.The first ship has already left, and a second of five total is about to leave.

But wait!There's more here than meets the eye.Diaspora project geneticists have discovered that there's a genetic sequence in life that actually calls us to the stars.We no more have choice in the matter than the salmon moving upstream to spawn.The web of human activity unfolding in this engrossing tale is overprinted by a genetic pre-destiny, which drives some to the skies, and others to oppose any such venture.

Ultimately the opposers, lead by the shadowy Jeremiah, succeed in halting the project, but not before the second ship leaves.And behind the backdrop of the personal dramas, earth quietly goes to seed, casting its precious packages to the cosmic winds.

An engrossing tale.Compare this to my review of Hogan's "Cradle of Saturn".

5-0 out of 5 stars powerful theme
the subtle but powerful theme of this book goes to the heart of of the eternal issue of the best of mankind's nature versus the worst...

4-0 out of 5 stars Explores what drives man (and Man) to go into space.
This book is written on many levels, ranging from one man's efforts to understand the source of his own personality to the conflicts on a global basis surrounding the building of a generation starship.

The book isentertaining on the superficial level and rewarding at the deeper, personallevel.Within a believable framework, it matches the thrust and parry ofJeremiah - speaking for the Homeworld vs. the head of security of thestarship project.In addition, any adult reader will be stimulated torecall memories of their own childhood and the pains of growing up.

Irecommend it as both fun and time well spent. ... Read more

12. Biography - Kube-Mcdowell, Michael P(aul) (1954-): An article from: Contemporary Authors Online
by Gale Reference Team
Digital: 5 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007SD5SE
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Word count: 1336. ... Read more

13. Isaac Asimov's Robot City, Volumes 1 and 2
by Michael P.-McDowell Kube
Paperback: 464 Pages (2008-01-25)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$93.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596870370
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A man without a memory is stranded in a city filled with robots gone wild. At his side is a mysterious young woman who claims to know who he is but refuses to tell him. According to The Three Laws of Robotics, A robot may not injure a human being, which narrows the suspects when the robots find a dead human body. The man calls himself Derec; the woman is know as Katherine. Their real identities, along with that of the murder victim and the murderer, are just a few of the life-and-death mysteries the unlikely pair are forced to solve to survive on the fantastic streets of Isaac Asimov's Robot City. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read
Book 1 in particular is captivating, and a must-read for anybody that particularly prefers the robot stories.Is it Robots of Dawn?Hardly, but the notion of a Robot City and all that it implies, and the fact that there is a murder mystery woven in, leads the reader on a path of discovery through this amazing place.There are only a few robots that have inspired me to weep:The robots in "Silent Running", Robot Clark in "Futureworld" and Wohler in Robot City, Book 1.There are a few inconsistencies in the series, and the human characters can be the most frustrating of all, but for lack of Asimov himself - and I don't know how any author could possibly wow us with something better than R. Giskard Reventlov - the robots of Robot City are a fascinating bunch, and I'm glad to have made their acquaintance.

4-0 out of 5 stars humans and robots? thats unheard of!
to a person outside looking in, it seems like a typical robot book. humans and robots trying to co-exist, but things are thrown in the mix to make the overall journey a bit more interesting.

Isaac Asimov gave the authors a set of rules to live by when writing this book. certain behaviors that govern the behavior of the robots. which creates dilemma and affects certain behaviors of the main character, derek.

throw in amnesia, a few aliens and a girl, you got yourself robot city.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic piece of reading
Absolutely brilliant, in my humble opinion. I picked it up to read one night in bed, and apart from sleeping & eating, I didn't stop till the next evening. Through Asimov's helpful attitude & guidance, theseauthors have turned out an excellent read, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'mpotentially worried about diffferent authors doing a story along the samelines, while it allows for changes & invididualism, sometimes reading aseries of books means you'll get the same 'writers attitude' whereas withthis series you'll encounter a few different 'attitudes'... if this wasanything to go by though, I have no concerns. :)

5-0 out of 5 stars Robot City book 1 & 2
What can I say 4 of the best stories I have ever read I am a long time asomov fan and thought after his death nothing would be as good but I have been proved wrong these stories could have come right out of asimovs ownpen GREAT FABBY FANTASTIC if you havn't read them then I sugest you do youwon't be dissapointed...

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
Many years ago, I read this series of books when they came out in paperback, while Asimov was still alive.I had forgotten how entertaining they were.All the classic elements, including continuity betweendifferent authors in the series exist.A must read for people who like asubstantial, yet easy to read book.Definately not for those with a shortattention span or someone who would rather see the movie then read thebook. ... Read more

14. Emprise (Trigon Disunity, Book 1)
by Michael P. Kube-Mcdowell
Paperback: 416 Pages (2003-11-25)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$4.63
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Asin: 0743475364
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The devastating Food and Fuel Wars have turned once-powerful nations into isolated farming communities. Barter has replaced currency, and scientists-considered responsible for the world's misery-are burned at the stake. Hidden in the Idaho hills, astronomer Allen Chandliss secretly monitors his radiotelescope, listening for signs of intelligent life, hoping that aliens will come and improve things on Earth. For seventeen years he has waited patiently. His patience is about to pay off. . . .

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Earth has pretty much run out of that fossil fuel stuff that people were so reliant on, and the technology level on the planet has dropped considerably.

The picking up of an alien signal along the lines of 'hi there, mind if we drop in for a visit sometime?' pretty much gets everyone to pull their fingers out and do something about it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Twist on a Classic SF Theme
EMPRISE was Michael Kube-McDowell's first novel, originally published by Berkley in 1985. It was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award (for best original SF paperback novel), was on Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading list, and finished second (to Carl Sagan's much-higher profile CONTACT) in the Locus Poll balloting for Best First Novel. This reprint edition from the late Byron Preiss's iBooks imprint is in the trade paperback format, and contains as a bonus one of the three uncollected Trigon Disunity short stories ("The Inevitable Conclusion," first published in Amazing Stories).

The passage of time makes it necessary to read the first few pages as alternate history (perhaps another timeline from Kube-McDowell's ALTERNITIES) rather than as future history. But once we get past that point, we're off on a fast-paced globe-spanning struggle to make a fractious and dispirited Earth ready for the arrival of visitors--for First Contact.

1-0 out of 5 stars Cheap Sci - Fi
A novel must be auto-contained: it creates and develops characters, puts them in an imaginative situation and plays with them and the reader at the same time, traveling through different places, ideas and emotions.

I've been looking forward to the the new edition of the Trigon Disunity since I can remember and found myself exhilarated when I found a copy in my local bookshop.Never have I been so misled.

Kube-McDowell starts with a great premise, a great beginning for a dark-age Earth.Early in the book he fills his new world with lots of characters, page after page of new ones.Suddenly he doesn't know what to do with them.Before you know it he starts a character massacre or gives the novel an Alzheimer-quality of forgetting mostly everyone.

Farther into the story, the plot ponders on interesting and thought provoking ideas and situations, which are regretfully solved with stupid solutions or plot holes:going through dozens of pages looking for a solution which is solved by unknown and uninventive methods in less than three paragraphs.

The worst of all is the so-called climax that the story builds up almost at the end of the book.McDowell is presented with such an important moment and historical situation, that he apparently gets afraid with what he might say and do and find the cheap and easy way out, making it an "anti-climax". All the thoroughly discussed moral and ethic concerns are forgotten and thrown to the trash.

And something else, the novel does sound racist in some parts: making black and latino people seem savage and uncivilized.THAT is simply beyond a good writer.

4-0 out of 5 stars A (Mostly) Worthy Successor to Arthur C. Clarke
Emprise is a novel that feels more like three novellas flying in loose formation.The first is an intimate tale about a group of scientists trying to make sense of a message from an alien civilization.The second is a sprawling story about the political intrigue that follows once they figure it out.The third is a classic "first contact" story, with a twist that sets up the two books to follow.

Oddly enough, this structure works in the book's favor: Each of the three stories works well at 100 pages or so, and none of them (I think) could carry a full-length novel.The interwoven characters and contrasting textures add interest--it is (for you fellow SF fans in the audience) a little like reading condensed versions of _The Andromeda Strain_, _Foundation_, and _Childhood's End_ in rapid succession.Kube-McDowell keeps the ideas flowing thick and fast . . . fast enough, for the most part, to cover the flatness of most of the major characters.I kept reading less because I cared about the people than because I wanted to see what rabbit was coming out of the hat next.

_Emprise_, at its best, is good enough to stand next to middle-of-the-pack novels by Arthur C. Clarke (say, _The Fountains of Paradise_ and _Imperial Earth_).It's worth a try for SF fans who like Clarke's austere, idea-heavy, emotion-light style of storytelling.[Kube-McDowell, by the way, improved markedly in later works: his _The Quiet Pools_ is as good as Clarke's best.]

2-0 out of 5 stars Overblown and ordinary
It's evident that Kube-McDowell cut his literary teeth watching nebbish tv shows and mediocre movies.The plot structure carries the story as well as can be expected, but the language and characters are pedestrian at best.Where Kube-McDowell strives for passion, he loses control and becomes hackneyed.If the author can't truly care for his characters, why should I?Not recommended. ... Read more

15. Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Odyssey Bk.1 (Orbit Books)
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
 Paperback: 224 Pages (1980-01-01)

Isbn: 0708882803
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A young man without a memory is stranded on an icy asteroid. His only chance for survival is locked within a band of mining robots who are searching for a mysterious object known as the Key to Perihelion. ... Read more

16. Star Wars: The Black Fleet Crisis (all three books BEFORE THE STORM / SHIELD OF FLIES / and TYRANT'S TEST)
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
 Hardcover: Pages (1997)

Asin: B002AC8AJO
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17. Empery (Trigon Disunity, Book 3)
by Michael P. Kube-Mcdowell
Paperback: 464 Pages (2004-05-18)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$9.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743486552
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Merritt Thackery is still touring around in space and time relative to those back on earth, trying to make people aware of the threats that exist, even byappearing to those who are far in his future.

All this travelling eventually leads him to discover something about the enemy, the Mizari, that is not quite what is expected.
... Read more

18. Empery
by Michael P. Kube-Mcdowell
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1987)
-- used & new: US$10.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000GRGNCQ
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19. Star Wars. Die Schwarze Flotte 3. Entscheidung bei Koornacht.
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
Paperback: Pages (1999-01-01)

Isbn: 3453147219
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20. Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine August 1983 (Aug.)
by Gardner / Kube-McDowell, Michael P. / Kelly, James Patrick & others Dozois
 Paperback: Pages (1983-01-01)

Asin: B003AGFMJK
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