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1. Dark as Day
2. Thor's Hammer (The Future at War
3. Man on Earth
4. Earthwatch, a Survey of the World
5. Higher Education (Jupiter Novel)
6. The Billion Dollar Boy , A Jupiter
7. Aftermath
8. The Cyborg From Earth
9. The Ganymede Club
10. Resurgence (Heritage Universe)
11. Cold As Ice
12. Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Bantam
13. Between the Strokes of Night
14. The Heritage Universe, Summertide,
15. Starfire (Bantam Spectra)
16. CONVERGENCE ("Heritage Universe"
17. Brother to Dragons
18. Borderlands of Science
19. The Spheres of Heaven
20. Proteus in the Underworld

1. Dark as Day
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (2003-04-14)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$39.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812580311
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The Solar System is finally recovering from the Great War – a war that devastated the planets and nearly wiped out the human race – and the population of the outer moons, orbiting Jupiter and Saturn, is growing.

On one of those moons, Alex Ligon, scion of a great interplanetary trading family has developed a wonderfully accurate new population model, and cannot wait until the newly reconstituted "Seine," the interlinked network of computers that spans the planets and moons and asteroids, comes back on line. But when it does, and he extends his perfect model a century into the future, it predicts the complete destruction of the human race.

On another moon, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence goes on, undaunted by generations of failure. And to her amazement, Millie Wu, a young genius newly recruited to the project, has found a signal . . . a signal that is coming from outside the solar system.

And in his new retreat on a minor moon of Saturn, the cranky genius Rustam Battacharyia is still collecting weapons from the Great War. He thinks he may have stumbled on an unexpected new one...but he’ll need to disarm it before it destroys the Sun.
Amazon.com Review
The Great War is over and humans have spread across the solar system, but mathematician Alex Ligon's complex computer model has just predicted that humanity is inexplicably doomed within a century. At the same time, scientist Milly Wu has identified what appears to be an extraterrestrial signal, and the idiosyncratic genius Bat searches for weapons from the Great War to add to his collection, finding much more than he bargained for. Their stories and others are intertwined in this tightly plotted and thoroughly engaging follow-up to Sheffield's Cold as Ice.

Nebula Award winner Sheffield distinguishes himself as a writer of intelligence, humor, and a pleasing balance of hard science and interesting, engaging characters. Fans will be particularly delighted to renew their acquaintance with Bat, but readers new to Sheffield's work should take the plunge enthusiastically--this novel easily and gracefully stands alone as a story of people, science, and the puzzles that both can produce. --Roz Genessee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Too bad there won't be more
This Sheffield novel seems rushed at the end and therefore isn't very satisfying, but the journey is a lot of fun. Sheffield creates interesting characters, such as Milly Wu the SETI researcher, the Great Bat the puzzle master, and Alex Ligon a rich boy computer modeler. Then there's Sebastian Birch, who has something wrong with him that, unfortunately, isn't ever fully explained. All set in the plausible (to me) world of the settled outer solar system, principally on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. I was sorry to learn that Sheffield, a theoretical physicist, died in 2002. This book, his last, is a sequel to "Cold As Ice" and the "Ganymede Club." Despite the flaws, I'd happily read a dozen more set in this realm. Alas, it is not to be.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good read
I did not know this was a trilogy until I was halfway through the book. But it did not matter. This book is also a satisfying read on its own. Sheffield manages to write about a dozen characters in a way that each of them is a unique personality. The science is solid, the storyline(s) interesting, the conclusion satisfying. This is hard sf at its best.
Now I am going to read the prequels.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid sci fi story...
I've been noticing a problem with science fiction I've been reading lately.The ideas and puzzles start out really 'big' and then for some reason the explanation just doesn't satisfy.

"Dark as Day" does a better job than most, but still doesn't quite leave me satisfied.The main problem is that there are a lot of interesting plots and questions posed throughout the novel, and I gravitated towards one of the questions that didn't get enough of a follow through for my tastes.The story makes sense, and there is a neat twist at the end that I didn't see coming, but I kept thinking "But I wanted more of _this_ part..."

Maybe it can best be characterized as a 'mystery novel' where the reader isn't quite sure what the mystery is until near the end.

While the above sounds negative, it really is a very small niggle as far as I'm concerned and drops my score to a 4.5.Since Amazon doesn't allow half ratings, and since I only give 5's to books that I would definitely take with me to a desert island, I'll give it a 4.

So what did I specifically like about the book?The various scientific puzzles that the characters run into.As I said above, there are a few, and in some fashion they're all connected.They're explained well enough for the reader to understand, and allow the mind to think big thoughts.Always a good thing in my opinion.I also like the characters.There are a couple of 'extremes' (one highly antisocial, one 'savant' type, one really tough boss, etc) and others who are relatively normal.It's a good mix, and even more importantly, the characters all feel sufficiently different from each other.

As a final note, while this is a sequel to "Cold as Ice" I have not read the first book, and while there are a couple of references to events that occurred in that book, none of them last more than a sentence and not knowing the specifics in no way confuses the reader.In other words, and with less negatives, you can read this book without having readthe first one.

4-0 out of 5 stars good but not great read
Fairly decent adventure about the SETI effort continuing into the late 21st century. Gets better as it goes along.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and highly entertaining hard science fiction novel
_Dark As Day_ by Charles Sheffield is the third and final volume of his (I believe) unnamed trilogy that began with _Cold As Ice_ and continued with _The Ganymede Club_. An excellent end to a very enjoyable series, the trilogy is only rather loosely connected, united mainly in the setting, which in a manner similar to a series of novels by Ben Bova - in the setting that includes the novels _Mars_, _Saturn_, _Venus_, and _Jupiter_among others- is set in a future in which humanity is spread throughout the solar system but has not yet traveled beyond it, though humanity is more entrenched and numerous among the various bodies in our solar system than in Bova's series, with millions of humans living on Mars, Ganymede, and Callisto as well as scattered throughout the asteroid belt (a.k.a. the Belt) and in various satellites of Saturn.

Aside from the fact that each later novel takes places further along the history of that universe than the novel that proceeded it, there is one common character, a major one, in these books, an individual by the name of Rustum Battachariya (also known simply as Bat), one of the most colorful, interesting, and distinct characters I have ever read in any science fiction novel. He is a reclusive individual, one mainly interested in profoundly difficult mathematical problems he solved for fun as part of a organization called the Puzzle Network and in collecting relics of the Great War, a massive conflict about thirty years ago that was system wide, fought on Earth, Mars, and the Belt and one that killed billions.

As in the previous two novels, despite his dislike for publicity (except within the confines of the Puzzle Network) and for spending any quality, face-to-face time with any human being in the flesh, Bat was an integral character in solving the main problem in the book. In this case the problem is a multipart one, one that ended up somehow involving such diverse threads as the opening up of a very powerful system-wide internet of sorts called the Seine, the bizarre results from a highly sophisticated predictive model designed by one Alex Ligon, one that showed humanity going extinct within a century, the Bat's efforts to track down a major weapons designer that went missing during the Great War, the weird mental abilities of a boy from Earth, Sebastian Birch, who had bizarre and apparently non-reactive microscopic objects in his body and had the almost idiot savant talent of predicting weather patterns on distant planets with little data, intrigue within Alex's family, the Ligon family, in trying to gain a lease on a small moon named Pandora (one leased by the very reclusive Bat), and the apparent discovery of extraterrestrial signals by Milly Wu, working at one of two competing SETI facilities near Jupiter. There is a lot going on but the plots do tie together very well in the end and make for a very compelling book. Sheffield did a fantastic job with this novel, the characters are extremely well drawn and very distinct, the science in this science fiction seemed top notch, and it is just a great story. I think that definitely it is the best of the three novels and one that could very easily be read as a stand-alone book.
... Read more

2. Thor's Hammer (The Future at War Series Volume 1)
by Robert A. Heinlein, Gregory Benford, Dean Ing, Charles Sheffield, Poul Anderson, Roger A. Beaumont, Joe Haldeman, Jerry Pournelle, Michael G. Coney
Mass Market Paperback: 276 Pages (1988-03-01)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$2.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671653946
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Future of War
I read this book, along with its two sequels, over 20 years ago and was greatly impressed by its scholarship.The stories selected all had a pertinent point to make about the future of war for man.This first volume dealt with future war on earth.It included stories such as "The Man in the Gray Weapons Suit (future air combat)," "A Scenario for the Fall of Night (A successful Soviet invasion of the US in the 1990s)" and "The Screwfly Solution (Alien invaders use a unique biological warfare solution to rid Earth of those pesky humans).Well developed and insightful in its day, and still a good read for those who like military science fiction. ... Read more

3. Man on Earth
by Charles Sheffield
 Hardcover: Pages (1983-09)
list price: US$28.80
Isbn: 0026101009
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4. Earthwatch, a Survey of the World from Space
by Charles Sheffield
 Hardcover: 160 Pages (1981-09)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0026100908
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5. Higher Education (Jupiter Novel)
by Charles Sheffield, Jerry Pournelle
Mass Market Paperback: 288 Pages (1997-04-15)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812538900
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When a misfired practical joke gets him kicked out of school, Rick Luban thinks he has nowhere to go but down. Instead, he gets a second chance--and a whole new life--when he signs up for a career in asteroid mining.

But life in space proves more challenging than Rick expected. Competition is intense and the harsh realties of space allow no room for error. On his way to a brighter future, Rick faces ever more demanding tests, as well as the very real dangers of sabotage and murder.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars First Book in the Jupiter Series - a Homage to Heinlein and the Heyday of the Coming of Age Science Fiction Tales
In the late 21st Century, our public education system has become so diluted and its standards so eroded that only the minimum necessary to function in the "pool" of itinerant labor is required of its students - students who can barely read because they have come to rely on technology to read for them. Only the well-to-do - who get a private education - and the children of those who work for the large corporations - who go to private schools run by the company - get a proper education that prepares them for success in the world order.

Enter Rick Luban. At 16, Rick is just another student passing time in a system that is mostly babysitting him and his friends while they wait to enter the pool. When a prank goes horribly wrong, Rick is expelled from school, leaving him with no hope for the future and his parents without a subsidy check. But, a teacher, recognizing potential in young Rick, offers him a ray of hope and gives him an address to go to - a place where he might find an opportunity to turn things around.

Thus begins Rick's adventures with Vantage Mining and Refining, an off-planet mining company that recognizes that the system is broken and that great potential lurks within the wasteland of the current education system - potential they see as the future of their success. After passing a battery of cognitive and physical tests, Rick is thrust into a competitive "Higher Education" program that will select the best of the best to work at Vantage's mining operations in the Asteroid Belt.

With a little intrigue thrown in, Sheffield and Pournelle have weaved an entertaining tale of a not-to-distant future that doesn't seem too far fetched as the youth of today mangle the written language in text messaging and emails and businesses have to send new employees fresh from college to remedial writing courses just to get adequate business communication out of them.

In the spirit of the now classic coming of age science fiction tales of Heinlein and his generation, *Higher Education* begins the new Jupiter Novel universe of loosely related stories of our coming future.


A Guide to my Book Rating System:

1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way.

3-0 out of 5 stars Falls short of Heinlein
An OK read for young adults, but falls short of Heinlein's entries in the genre.The authors attempt to combine a polemic on political correctness and our education system with a coming of age space yarn was not well done.The premise that the pioneering asteroid mining company would use illeterate teenagers as their hiring pool required too much suspension of belief.Where was the editor?

5-0 out of 5 stars Very worth the read
I've read many of the books Pournelle has authored/co-authored.I've never been disappointed.His non-fiction is also worth reading.His political/social views are not mainstream.And that really aids his creativity.This, like other Pournelle books, is refreshing and creative.This book fits when you just need a good read that challenges new thoughts without struggling to pay attention (I've read too many books that require effort to finish--this isn't one of them).

3-0 out of 5 stars A Decent Yarn
I picked it up because it is a study in dynamic characters. It was referred to in Dynamic Characters by Kress.

It is a teen-coming-of-age story set in the near future. The protagonist is a punk and gets himself thrown out of high school for being entirely too cute. He gets a second chance by signing up with Vanguard Mining- a company that mines asteroids.

The story takes him from raw recruit to a trained and ready apprentice.

1-0 out of 5 stars Jerry Pournelle and Charles Sheffield don't mix
Stunk! Foul language & gratuitous violence ruined any chance of a decent story.

Charles Sheffield on his own writes terrific stories. ... Read more

6. The Billion Dollar Boy , A Jupiter Novel
by Charles Sheffield
 Paperback: Pages (1998)

Asin: B002CBIKZM
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Good Homage to the Heyday of the Coming of Age Science Fiction Tale
Set more than century later in the same universe as *Higher Education*, the first Jupiter Novel, *The Billion Dollar Boy* is the second installment in this series of tales patterned after the coming of age stories of Heinlein and his generation.

In *Higher Education*, "rejects" from the failing education system and the itinerant labor force known as the "pool" were recruited by an off-world mining concern that gave them a proper education and trained them to work at mining operations in the Asteroid Belt. Now, more than a hundred years later, mining has expanded - with a little help of the instantaneous transportation network known as the node - to the Kuiper Belt and to the Messina Dust Cloud more than 27 light years from our solar system.

Shelby Cheever, an overweight, spoiled, rich brat and teenage son of one of the wealthiest men on the planet, is bored. He is waited on hand and foot by a core of servants that hate him, but are grateful for the steady work outside of the pool. His mother dotes on him and he has everything he wants. But, he is still bored. So, he convinces his mother to take him on a space cruise to the Asteroid Belt.

Drunk on alcohol and his own sense of self-importance, Shelby impatiently forgoes the services of a trained guide and ventures into the node network alone expecting to be delivered to the Kuiper Belt for a proper tour of this far off sector of the solar system. Instead, after a gut-wrenching transition through non-normal space, the node network drops him into open space in the Messina Dust Cloud. Fortunately for Shelby, the Harvest Moon, a mining ship extracting rare, stable transuranic elements from the cloud, is nearby and he is rescued before he could drift off into the cloud.

Shelby of course demands to be returned to his cruise and his mother at once, but the crew of the Harvest Moon - an extended family of adults and teenagers - has no time to go back to the node as they are working the currents of the dust cloud and won't return until the hold is full. Left with no options, Shelby grudgingly tries to make himself useful as he is expected to do by the captain (and mother of the clan); thus begins Shelby's transformation into manhood.

In the spirit of the now classic coming of age adventure science fiction tales of Heinlein and his generation, *The Billion Dollar Boy* continues to explore the themes related to what is becoming of the human species in these loosely related stories of our coming future.


A Guide to my Book Rating System:

1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid if unspectacular
Shelby Cheever is the kind of kid that everyone, at one point or another, has run into and wished they hadn't. Adapted from a story by Rudyard Kipling and now reprinted for a juvenile crowd by Starscape Books, "Billion-Dollar Boy"is solid if unamazing SF journey.

It's the future, when Earth is impoverished except for a tiny number of corporate big-shots. And Cheever heir Shelby has everything a boy could want and more: insane amounts of money, a staff to wait hand and foot on him, and a dimbulb mother who lacks the brains to tell him "no" sometimes. In short, he's spoiled rotten. And when he wants to take a space cruise, his mum says yes. Unfortunately, Shelby gets drunk on the voyage, and decides to take a small jaunt OUTSIDE the spaceship -- where he gets literally lost in space.

Fortunately, he's picked up by a mining vessel. Unfortunately (depending on your viewpoint) the family on board has never heard of the Cheevers, and they certainly don't believe that he's wealthier than all the miners put together. So for the first time, Shelby is forced to use his brain and his body, and pitch in on actual work. That would be fine -- until someone recognizes him, and plans a ransom demand to his father.

Like "Putting Up Roots," this book is not an amazing, groundbreaking piece of SF, but it's readable for both adults and kids. It has a pretty simple, straightforward plot: Go from A to B, where C will happen. And Sheffield does a good job of shifting Shelby from a bratty, overweight, obnoxious teenage boy to someone resourceful, skilled, and if not smart, then at least trying to be. The writing is fairly ordinary, with some good descriptions of life on a gritty mining ship.

This novel is far from flawless, though. One of the biggest problems is the technobabble that the characters launch into, or the idea that Shelby's smart "salt of the earth" dad would marry an idiot socialite and let his son run wild. Or, for that matter, how there could be a mere few hundred rich elite on Earth; why this is so is never explained, since that sort of scenario wouldn't last long.

Shelby is a pleasant oasis in a sea of kid characters who either know it all, or are just plain annoying. He's meant to be annoying, and the means by which he STOPS being annoying is what makes him interesting. Grace is a pretty good character, although I had trouble figuring out if she was a love interest or not. Most of the supporting characters are okay, not stellar, except for the dryly amusing Logan (a robot).

Despite the odd implausible points, "Billion-Dollar Boy" is a solid enough read, with a very flawed lead and a solid, action-filled story. Nice job.

2-0 out of 5 stars Previously published as...?
There was a not missing fromm thje copyright page: "This boook was previously published in slightly diofferent form under the title _Captins Couragous_ by R Kipling"This is a reteelign of the Kipling book with the most minor of changes to set it in space, even to the point of calling the smaller spaceships 'Dorys' and retainign many other terms and elemets which made sense in their original settign and don't here.Changing one character from male to female introduced a mild romatic sub-plot, and moving the festival scen from the end to the middle of the voyage was interesting, as was the added cloak&dagger sub-plot, but the original is still better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great story and a great lesson
Where "Higher Education" failed, this book succeeded!"Higher Education" had a great story line, some great observations about society and our education system, and it had some greatscience. However, it failed in providing a good role model for the teens itwas trying to reach.The characters were profane and sexually crudethroughout "Higher Education".This book provided a good rolemodel and included all of the good things "Higher Education" hadto offer.A great read for all ages!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great.
***High adventures, fast paced, and thoroughly enjoyable! Perfect for young readers, as well as, for adults. I highly recommend this one.*** ... Read more

7. Aftermath
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 560 Pages (1999-08-03)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$0.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553577387
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
It's 2026, and catastrophe has struck from an unexpected source. The Alpha Centauri supernova has risen like a second sun, rushing Earth toward its last summer. Floods, fires, starvation, and disease paralyze the planet. In a blue aurora flash of gamma rays, all microchips worldwide are destroyed, leaving an already devastated Earth without communications, transportation, weaponry, or medicine.

The disaster sets three groups of survivors on separate quests. A militant cult seizes the opportunity to free their leader, known as the Eye of God, from the long-term coma to which a court sentenced her. Three cancer patients also search for a man in judicial sleep: the brilliant scientist--and monstrous criminal--who alone can continue the experimental treatment that keeps them alive. From a far greater distance come the survivors of the first manned Mars expedition, struggling homeward to a world that has changed far beyond their darkest fears. And standing at the crossroads is one man, U.S. President Saul Steinmetz, who faces a crucial decision that will affect the fate of his own people...and the world.

From the Trade Paperback edition.Amazon.com Review
In 2026, the Earth faces an unexpected disaster. A supernova in the nearby Alpha Centauri system has apparently wiped out nearly every electroniccomponent on the planet, leaving human civilization paralyzed. Phones don'twork, transportation grinds to a halt, and essential servicessuch as medical care are thrown back into the Stone Age. As the worldtries to cope with this technological cut-off, a man dying of cancer beginsa journey to save his life and that of his fellow patients, a mastercriminal escapes a sentence of "judiciary sleep," a returning Marsexpedition faces what looks like certain death, and U.S. president SaulSteinmetz strives to keep his country from falling apart. Author CharlesSheffield has taken a classic hard-SF concept, applied it to the real world,and created a gripping story of survival. --Craig E. Engler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

2-0 out of 5 stars Weak Characterization Dilutes Strong Plot
Science fiction writers often base a plot on changing one variable in a set that readers simply accept as universal givens.In AFTERMATH, Charles Sheffield posits our earth that has been hit by gamma rays bursts from an exploding supernova that renders inoperative every microchip in every computer in the world. Considering that his plot begins in 2026 when every stratum of a collective world technology is thoroughly hardwired by ubiquitous microchips, one would think that he would favor hard technological plot developments over character contrivances. The major problem that I saw was not that he elevated character over hard science, but that he placed stereotypical characters in one dimensional situations that are overly dependent on fortuitous circumstance to make them work.Alas, the grinding of coincidence forces Sheffield to draw back Dorothy's Curtain to reveal a breathtaking lack of motivation and interaction that should have been used to connect the ill-defined dramatic dots.

There are three separate storylines, all of which blend suspiciously too well at the end to point the way toward a sequel, which the back page lists as STARFIRE. Here, after the supernova reduces the world's microchips to cinders, three groups slowly merge: a spacecraft of astronauts returns from Mars to find an earth reduced to a pre-twentieth century level of technology; three patients dying of cancer plot to free a Hannibal Lechter type psycho killer who holds the key to their medical salvation; and a Jewish president who, in addition to the problems involved in running a thoroughly smashed United States, also faces a revolution headed by a religious fanatic who commands an army of armed crazies.

As long as Sheffield sticks to the here and now of world wrecking, the plot moves convincingly from tsunamis, to droughts, and to a crumbling microchip-based infrastructure.When he allows his characters to stumble from one contrivance to another, the plot creaks to a series of staccato-like roadblocks. The ending, which points toward a sequel of similar deux ex machinas, implies that the believability quotient and thus the reader interest of AFTERMATH is low and promises more of the same in STARFIRE.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite a page-turner!
Fantastic book, one of the best I ever read. I started reading it, and being is it is so interesting, lost track of time and 5 hours went by, it's THAT good. Best sci-fi book I have ever read. Definetly recommend. Shane Lindsley author of Enemies Among Us

1-0 out of 5 stars Story goes on...and on...and on...and on...and on...and.......
The problem with this one is that it has LOTS of different lil subplots and doesn't really center on Any of them. Translated, it has so much to say that it really winds up saying nothing.

Most of the characters are not likable and what depth they have is mostly cliche'

End of the world? I had trouble making it to the end of the book!

3-0 out of 5 stars Tend to agree
I have to echo a number of other reviews, this was a decent book. My biggest gripe was that the author skipped over some interesting plotlines to finish the book. Legion of Argos, Art and the cancer survivors, the president and his succubus...just sort of tied up in a bag and thrown in the river. I would really have liked to have seen a more interesting ending to these plotlines.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Long, Slow Introduction To The Sequel
There is a story here, but the story rapidly spins away from what promised to be a fascinating exploration of the effects of a near-by super nova and into a series of tedious and mundane journeys in and around Washington D.C. Perhaps my greatest pet peeve is books that open new series but do not stand alone. "Aftermath" does not stand alone. I would not have expected Charles Sheffield to engage in this kind of writing: 547 paperback pages that could be easily condensed into 100 or so. A couple of characters hold promise, but no character-and no character arc-comes to conclusion in this book. There are also characters (especially the character portraying the President of the United States) whose actions and motivations make no sense whatsoever.

So why didn't I just put the book down and walk away?

Because some of the science was fascinating, and because one always holds out hope that the author will bring everything together by the end of the book. Sheffield does not do this. Instead, there are hints at what could come in the sequel: a technology-crashed planet, a supposedly impossible super nova that may not be a natural phenomenon after all, and a massive project in space to help shield the Earth from the super nova's effects. The mind already races ahead-three, four, five books into the future-to see the possibilities of this series, but what about these characters in the here and now? Will their mundane journeys parlay into something more interesting? It is obvious that some of these run of the mill characters will discover that they have radically extended life spans and so could fit into stories that must leap far into the future, but couldn't Sheffield have show us that in this first book?

So the real question is: Move on to the sequel-take that chance-or just drop the whole thing here?
... Read more

8. The Cyborg From Earth
by Charles Sheffield
Paperback: 288 Pages (2003-11-17)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765346249
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Called "the new Arthur C. Clarke" by The Washington Post Book World and "a scientist with a fine literary sense" by The Denver Post, Charles Sheffield has crafted a an exciting adventure about a frustrated teen who just can't seem to do anything right.

Jeff Kopal is heir to a powerful military family. He's got everything going for him. Except one thing: Jeff is a total screw-ups. His family has had it. So when Jeff blows off his naval entrance exams he figures his future is basically kaput. Instead, he is being sent by the navy into deep space to deal with rebellious cyborgs. How did that happen?

Jeff will have to find out before it's too late. Otherwise, He may become the pawn in someone else's dangerous-and very deadly-game.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Cyborg from Earth
this book was for my son.He was very pleased with it.I didn't hear any complaints.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just FYI...
I have not read this book, but since some are indicating that they wish Dr. Sheffield would finish the series, I would simply like to inform the public that Dr. Sheffield died in November of 2002, which is why it is unlikely that further episodes will be added to this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars My Only Regret
My only regret was purchasing this book without knowing it was obviously written as a series but obviously cancelled since it is now six years since The Cyborg From Earth was initially written. Seeing as how it is now 2004 I really don't think there will be a sequel. Oh well.

I really enjoyed the book, as I enjoy Heinlein books as an adult, but it is obviously geared toward the juvenile audience.Great.However, it is not finished and we are left hanging in space (pun intended) with the storyunresolved.Heinlein didn't do that.I hope Mr. Sheffield continues thestory line, but he has so many irons in the fire------.Well, we'll see. ... Read more

9. The Ganymede Club
by Charles Sheffield
Paperback: 352 Pages (1996-10)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$16.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812544609
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the years following the Great War and the death of half the human race, Lola Belman, a therapist on Ganymede, meets a patient whose past is a mystery, and a dangerous group will stop at nothing to keep Lola from exploring the past and discovering their existence. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fast moving hard science.
I don't read a lot of science fiction, and what I have read was mostly Azimov-era adventure type stories with little hard science. This book was bought on a whim and turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It's an easy and entertaining read with enough science to keep the purists happy, judging by the other reviews. Definitely a worthwhile book, but maybe a tad predictable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Same Universe as Cold As Ice, Different Feel
It's five years after the Great War that killed nine billion people in the Solar System, but violence hasn't ceased.It's just returned to the traditional forms of individual murder for profit and paranoia.

The targets in question are haldane Lola Belman, a therapist trained in the aracana of the mathematical underpinnings of the brain, psychotropic drugs, and medicine, and her patient who seems to be suffering a severe bout of false memories.

Unlike its prequel _Cold As Ice_, there are not a lot of neat scientific concepts here.The plot is not driven by scientific exploration and corporate and political intrigue but mostly by the suspense of the characters trying to figure out things the reader knows already, specifically who's trying to kill them and why.And those characters are generally a more interesting lot than those in the earlier novel.The only overlap in the cast is with the best character:the Bat, an obese and extremely private genius who delights in solving all sorts of puzzles from scheduling conflicts in the spaceship transportation network to murder.Here we see him twenty years earlier in his career.

Essentially, if you like a good, suspenseful science fiction tale with a bit of hard science, this novel is for you.Sheffield has created, in these books, a universe of adventure, discovery, and intrigue about 90 years in the future.Each stands alone, and the books can be read in any order.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sheffield is tough, but I'm tougher.
This is a good book and an easy read.And I did enjoy it.But I want more.I was not as challended by this book as I could have been. I love stories about colonization and terraforming without aliens and this book is in that category.About halfway into it you are feeling great and reading standing up, and then you get to the second half.I was really excited as I already read Cold as Ice and was anxious to learn about the origin of Sheffield's universe.This book did that but not much more.Not only are the dates hard to fathom, the ages are too.Is there an event that stimulates scientific development at such a rapid pace? At 16, Bat is much too young to be so eccentric.The source of his knowledge, his income, even his culinary skills are not explained.I wanted to know more about how the Bat became the Bat.
That aside.It is a good read but not exceptional. Some exciting moments. A nice book for summer that gives you somthing to think about, as the question is just how long is living forever and would you really want to. And the ethical question does not seem to come up when talking about your brain living forever. What is the big mystery plot of the Ganymede Club? It is not addressed until the very end and then it is not complete. Who are the other members?Should we be looking for them in a future Sheffield series? And why is it so hard to find Helene since they took out a lease on it?Were the records lost in the Great War?Have Bat find them.And just who was that girl on Mars? There are too many gaps in the story.But it is still an enjoyable read. A few mild sexual references, some violence, no profanity.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, hard sci-fi!
This is one of the better science fiction books I've read in a long time.It weaves alien symbiosis, Solar System-wide war, personality transference, and psychiatric sleuthing into a great whodunit.It's marred only by the unreasonable choice of setting it in the period A.D. 2040 to 2070.It took me half of the novel to put that in the back of my mind.A.D. 2340 would have been more appropriate.Other than that, it was an outstanding read.I don't think they come any better than Sheffield.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mystery and Science Fiction-Great Combination
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were varied, the plotintriguing and the writing was clear and literate. ... Read more

10. Resurgence (Heritage Universe)
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 448 Pages (2004-03-30)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743488199
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Hans Rebka, interstellar trouble-shooter, had solved the mystery of the gigantic Artefacts built by a race that vanished millions of years ago, and at the same time had defeated the warlike Zardalu, onetime tyrannical rulers of the galaxy. But that was only a warm-up for the main event. In one arm of the galaxy, something is destroying whole stellar systems. Investigating the wave of stellar destruction, Rebka and his motley crew of humans and aliens discover a battle beginning that may determine the ultimate fate of the galaxy itself. Rebka and company must act quickly. Unfortunately, they are trapped on a planet directly in the path of destruction... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Charles Sheffield's Resurgence Ending
This book was published in 2003, and Charles Sheffield died in 2002... The book was going great then the ending (last hundred or so pages) didn't add up... I really believe someone else wrote the ending to this book... Someone who didn't know the characters of Hans Rebka & Darya Lang at all...

Point: Hans Rebka gets out of jail and just barely escapes a death sentence and then shows no sexual interest in Darya Lang when he sees her? In fact, he ignores her for 100's pages and makes no attempt to rekindle their relationship (he alludes that he has plans about her, but they drop from existence)... Not exactly behaving like a man from the Phemus Circle & Teufel who has just escaped death now is he...

Point: Darya Lang who prides herself on being an intellectual at the end of the book stoops so low as to use her body to get what she wants instead of her brains & logic... Sorry whoever wrote the ending only Glenna Omar would have done that... Never, never in a million years would Darya Lang think about sleeping her way to anything. Not with Louis (even though she is strangly attracted to him), certainly not Julian Graves, or anyone. But she would want to find out what happened between her & Hans...

And as great as the survival team specialist were, there is no way any of them knows a darn thing about The Builders and Darya wouldn't have to beg to be a part of the expedition to the Sagittarius Arm... She would be a required part of the team... That is logical, and Julian Graves knows logic...

Why the person who wrote the ending of this book would want to dismiss Hans Rebka is also beyond me (unless the person who wrote the ending is looking for a spin off series)...However, they got Louis right, and his band of aliens pretty well fleshed out...

CS knows his characters, he wouldn't have made these mistakes...

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, But That's As Far As It Goes
This was a mildly entertaining book.Sheffield places the action at an indeterminate time in the future at the interstellar level, with travel between our Orion arm of the Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Sagittarius arm.He's big on aliens (although he doesn't go overboard) and on robotics.He does not show his strength in science in this novel.

The action centers on an ancient, largely unknown super race called the Builders that left a large number of enigmatic artifacts through the Orion arm.These artifacts date back some two million years.The Builders themselves have never been encountered, and are theorized to be either extinct or to have moved on to some other destiny.A scratch, motley team of somewhat disconnected characters is pulled together following the arrival of a ship from the Sagittarius arm.The ship contained two kinds of aliens, all of whom were dead.The team is asked to go to the Sagittarius arm to discover the aliens' purpose.There they find a huge, and growing, dead zone that stems either from the Builders or yet another super race.

The action is good, and the story flows.There was nothing that leapt out at me begging my interest other than just the general unfolding of events.It was fun to read, but will not leave much of a mark - certainly not like some of Sheffield's other books.Three stars, and that's being generous.

4-0 out of 5 stars Best of the Heritage Universe Series
In the fifth novel of the Heritage Universe, the Builders, those aliens who scattered around huge, occasionally useful, sometimes deadly, artifacts about our part of the galaxy, have competition.Another force is destroying their work and sucking the heat and life out of entire solar systems.

Troubleshooter Hans Rebka, obsessed Builder scholar Darya Lang, the shady team of Louis Nenda and Atvar H'sial, their strangely loyal slaves, the exuberant and impatient E. C. Tally (an embodied computer), and Ethical Counselor Julian Graves again find themselves exploring the Builders' works and speculating as to what they mean.

This may be the most humorous book of the series, and the characters are at their most interesting.The action set pieces in frozen solar systems are inventive and suspenseful.

This is not a good entry point for the series, though.You'll want to follow the enigma of the Builders from the beginning starting with Sheffield's _Convergent Series_ and then _Transvergence_.

And, unfortunately, with Sheffield's death last year, some Builder questions will remain unanswered. ... Read more

11. Cold As Ice
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (1993-06-15)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812511638
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Twenty-five years ago there was a great interplanetary war in the Solar System. It was a suicidal spasm in which terrible weapons were created and used; in which nine billion people were killed. The rivalries that led to the war are not gone. And a few of those deadly weapons remain--some still orbiting the sun in the debris of destroyed ships,s some deliberately placed in storage.

Now Cyrus Mobarak, the man who perfected the fusion engine, is determined to bring human settlement to the protected seas of Europa. Opposing him is Hilda Brandt, Europa's administrator. And caught between them are three remarkable young people: Jon Perry, Camille Hamilton, and Wilsa Sheer.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding storytelling, threadbare story
I have to hand it Charles Sheffield; he has created a page turner of a story with almost no real story. This book gets by on it's characters, the best one being Bat. I kept waiting for the story toget to where I hoped it was going and it never did.

4-0 out of 5 stars What Passes
I found COLD AS ICE a little hard to get into. It starts with an engaging scenario, then jumps forward 25 years and presents the reader with a number of seemingly unconnected characters. Not that the characters aren't interesting, but it takes quite a while before connections begin to be established.

Overall, the alien locations are well-drawn, there are some unique and intriquing characters, and the action moves along satisfactorily once it gets going. On the downside, the plot was a bit transparent and it never devoloped much suspense. I never had the feeling that I just couldn't wait to see what would happen next.

Perhaps the number of high ratings here are partially a comment on the state of the scifi genre these days. To my mind, this is really a mediocre book, but I still find it one of the more enjoyable scifi books I've read lately. Maybe I'm just not making great choices. In my younger days, I read a lot of what I still think was outstanding scifi. Books like DUNE, DOUBLE STAR, the FOUNDATION series, RITE OF PASSAGE, LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, RINGWORLD, etc. I'm just not finding books of that calibre in this genre anymore, and it's not for lack of trying. So, whether it's a commentary on me or the state of scifi, I'm giving this a four-star rating. It's a weak four, more like 3.7 (a B- in letter-grade terms), and a very mild endorsement. Rip-roaring scifi it's not, but it will have to do until something better comes along.

4-0 out of 5 stars My First Introduction to Charles Sheffield : Enjoy It
"Cold as Ice" was my introduction to Charles Sheffield. It is a very enjoyable book and an excellent introduction to Sheffield's style of Hard Science Fiction. One of the character in the book, "Bat", is one of my favorite characters of all times and definitely an archtype of note for me, at least. The plot moves and reads well. It is not overly complex or deep. It is clean and efficient prose. If you want to check out Charles Sheffield as an author, "Cold as Ice" is a great place to start.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK but not great
This book is not bad, but it is far from being among the greats in Science Fiction.The beginning is very disjointed -- many characters are introduced in many different setting and the reader has no idea what's going on or how the characters relate.Its hard to keep them straight.Around the middle of the book, things start to come together and some plot begins to develop.Finally the book comes to a conclusion and the reader thinks "so what". There are aspects of a mystery story, but the mystery, when revealed, is not a big deal -- one wonders why anyone ever tried to keep it secret.The strengths of the book are in the details -- good characterizations and realistic depiction of the "surroundings".However, a weak plot and the rambling, disjointed style make it less than outstanding.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Science, fine story, Superb Sheffield
Cold as Ice is a very fine work, by one of the best science fiction writers of our time. I am sorry indeed to hear of Charles Sheffield's passing last year. I enjoyed the wit, humor and hands on realism of this book, and others of his. Of the works of his I have read, this is the best yet. The story line keeps one engaged, the background of the Great War that is now over, leaving humanity bruised and battered, and the space lanes strewn with lost hopes and ghost ships is a engaging and believable background indeed. And the characters are real, human and they invite us to follow their efforts in many ways.

The issues of science in service to politics, war and social needs is raised in subtle ways, and the sacrifice and challenges faced in many ways in this story evoke and raise questions for contemporary contemplation.

I would urge any who have encountered Sheffield's work to read this as one of his best, and congratulate those other readers who already know and appreciate the fine qualities of this superior work. ... Read more

12. Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Bantam Spectra Book)
by Charles Sheffield
 Paperback: 428 Pages (1996-12-01)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$3.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553378082
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A multi-award-winning author creates a powerful portrait of the distant future, featuring a musician who tries to save his fatally ill wife in an experiment that goes terribly wrong and catapults them both into the future. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, epic and heartbreaking . . .
This has to be in the top 5 of my list of favorite science fiction books of all time. The story will remain with you long after the last page is turned. It asks the simple question:

What if you could live forever?

It takes the reader on a journey with one very ordinary man who just wants to live long enough to bring his wife back to life after she dies from cancer. He chooses to enter cryosleep along with her body so that someday in the future when technology is able to revive her, he will be right there to continue where their lives left off.

He gets much more than he bargained for. After several awakenings and eons of time, his questions (and his answers) undergo an incredible change. The issues in this book force the reader to ask what does it mean to be 'real'. Is death real? Is it even final? And ultimately, is love enough?

An incredible book with a great ending. You won't be sorry for picking this book up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating at times, entertaining throughout
Drake Merlin can't save his dying wife in his own time, so he arranges for her to be cryogenically preserved until future technology can restore her to health. He decides to be preserved after he makes a terrible mistake that threatens her preserved state. He gives instructions to be awakened when she can be saved. He is awakened in the far future, but not because of her restoration. Instead, he is needed in a time when the galaxy is threatened by an alien menace, in a time when humanity has forgotten war and the need for self-preservation. His memories of those concepts are tapped for assistance. A fascinating journey across time and space ensues, with Merlin eventually losing his physical form in favor of a downloaded electronic existence aboard a ship. Much of the journey is truly fascinating, although the immensity of the timespan almost weighs down the story. Drake's quest for the restoration of his wife is almost a lost theme late in the book. Still, a very solid and memorable book from a reliable author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, Sheffield at his best!
I love this book!Currently, I'm reading it for the 4th time, which is what prompted me to write this review.I rarely read a book through twice; four times is unprecendented.In addition to a likeable main character, and a colorful supporting cast, Sheffield skillfully weaves in numerous scientific concepts regarding the nature of matter, time and space.Fortunately, the scientific concepts are developed in a manner accessible to the layman. The appendix was especially helpful, presenting a synopsis of current theory and speculation regarding the eventual fate of the universe, and providing a framework for the story.Very entertaining from cover to cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars A mind-boggling scifi romance of epic proportions...
Charles Sheffield is a very unique author. Though in this story there is a lot of "techno jargon" and theories about space and time, the inner plot and underlying story presented in this novel are as pure and fresh as any love story, regardless of how strange the words may seem. Drake Merlin's quest to revive his beloved Ana and the sacrifice he endures to save her life, evokes an extraordinary feeling in the reader. You pass over the technological aspect and scientific descriptions and are left with the same feelings that Drake is going through. His obsession with Ana may seem to most a bit drastic, or maybe even on the verge of insanity, the way he puts away everything in his life and gives up his dreams just so he can see her face again. However, I found it touching. This is a very unique love story, in that it differs, in part, from the sterotyped love stories, and at the same time is something that everyone can enjoy. I rate "Tomorrow and Tomorrow" five stars and recommend it to anyone who is looking for something out of this world.

4-0 out of 5 stars This book goes beyond time and science...
This book is amazing, reminding me slightly of 'Last And First Man' by Olaf Stapledon and also 'The Time Machine' by H.G. Wells.It's not just a science fiction book, but a book about the human spirit, the human soul, the human mind.Yes, it has aliens, and strange planets, and mankind's many different forms in the future, but at a certain point it goes beyond the hard science to explore our dreams and what the future may bring.Love and death, waste and power, peace and war.No matter what body we may create, no matter what mind we may think in, no matter how we evolve, we can't give up.We may give up our forms and even link our minds, but in the end we are all searching for something that only WE need and only WE can understand.Drake is after something that is special only to him.
Yes, there are a few weak ideas, like when future man turns to Drake for help, because thy don't know how to fight against an 'alien menace'.Yet I found it funny, and even refreshing, because Drake was just as useless when it came to fighting a war as they were.My only complaint is that after 387 pages the ending was also kind of weak.I wanted something more, something solid.Not a re-read, if you get my drift.Check it out of the library or get a used copy. ... Read more

13. Between the Strokes of Night
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (2004-04-27)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$35.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743488245
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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After the Nuclear Spasm in the 21st century, homo sapiens was extinct, save for a tiny remnant scattered in small, primitive space colonies. At first Solar Humanity had only one goal: survival. But when the battle for existence was won, humankind began moving outward in slow, multi-generation space ships, and as then millennia passed, planet-based civilisations emerged in many star systems. In the year 27,698 A.D, to these new worlds come the Immortals, beings with strange ties to ancient Earth, who seem to live forever, who can travel light years in days - and who use their strange powers to control the existence of ordinary mortals. On the planet Pentecost, a small group sets out to find and challenge the Immortals. But in the search they themselves are changed: as Immortals, they discover a new threat, not just to themselves, but to the galaxy itself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars I really *tried* to enjoy this book -- honest.
I've always heard good things about Sheffield's hard-science novels, and I've tried several of them, . . . but, somehow, I just can't get interested in them. The author's style simply leaves me cold. This one appears to be about finding a way to expand into the far corners of our galaxy without violating the limitation imposed by the speed of light. But I'm not sure about that, really, because I only got about 40% of the way in and then gave up because so little was happening. I was also put off by the author's apparent belief that nearly 30,000 years in the future, so little will have changed where people are concerned, both socially and culturally. Even given names are pretty much what you would find in a present-day phone book. Sheffield's science may be reliable but his imagination leaves a good deal to be desired.

5-0 out of 5 stars A look into the future.
Sheffield's writing style and use of current scientific facts to create a plausible future is present in all his science fiction books. BTSON is a fresh take on immortality, like his similar book, Tomorrow and Tomorrow. If you are interested in neurology, sociology, or just science fiction, this is a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb, full of wonderful ideas and an entertaining plot
One of my favorite science fiction books, the sort of book I think back on every once and a while that has stuck with me (I read it around 10 years ago).

Really a fantastic set of ideas!

5-0 out of 5 stars It is simply one of the best100 sci-fi books ever writen.
I dont why i've always thougt that BTSON is writen in the same style of Larry niven. Exellent science, cool charecters ( the kind that can take care of themselves in any situation ), and really amzing ideas about bigthings like immortality, and about small things like the fact that ins-state everything looks a bit different because of pseudo-red shift.Anyway, allthough im a big Niven fan, this time Sheffield took Niven in hisown style. get this book. Its really a masterpiece. Its a shame thatsheffield is not acknowledged as the giant he is.

5-0 out of 5 stars from here to eternity - book your seat
It's not often that a book can start here and now and finish at the end of the universe, and keep the same characters.

If you want to know how to travel faster than light (and forget all that Star Trek warping nonsense)this is the book. The way to the stars is really shown, this really couldhappen. Charles Sheffield demonstrates the only way the human race couldever venture beyond the solar system, and with a wealth of belivable andsympathetic characters and plot. For and sci-fi fan this is an absolutemust read. ... Read more

14. The Heritage Universe, Summertide, Divergence, Transcendence
by Charles Sheffield
 Hardcover: 724 Pages (1992)
-- used & new: US$14.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000BN65N2
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15. Starfire (Bantam Spectra)
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 508 Pages (2000-05-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553577395
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Earth has been ravaged by galactic disaster--but the real devastation is yet to come.

The end draws nigh....

The year is 2053, and Earth has barely recovered from the Alpha Centauri supernova that destroyed much of the planet's infrastructure. Now the supernova's residual effect--a storm of high-energy particles--is racing toward Earth, and an international effort has been launched out of the Sky City space colony to save the planet. But the controversial plan--to build a giant protective shield for Earth--is falling dangerously behind schedule. A series of unexplained murders has disrupted the Sky City workforce, so much so that a brilliant but monstrous criminal has been enlisted to track down the Sky City killer.

Then comes more startling news. Evidence indicates that the original supernova was caused deliberately, and that the lethal particle storm will arrive sooner than anyone expected. But who--or what--tried to destroy the Earth? And will the answer come in time to save it from its final apocalypse?
Amazon.com Review
The sky is falling--again. Following up on 1998's excellent Aftermath, Starfire subjects planet Earth to yet another cosmic blast from the Alpha Centauri supernova. But while the blast that hit Earth in Aftermath simply cooked the Southern hemisphere and knocked out unshielded technology with a flash of gamma rays, this wave promises to do some real damage, with a sleet of trillion-nuclei bundles moving at one-tenth the speed of light.

Warned by the first catastrophe, Earth began building an electromagnetic shield out of the orbiting Sky City station to divert the incoming apocalypse. But not only will the storm come earlier than expected, the carnage may be worse than anyone imagined--preliminary data shows that the supernova was no accident, and that the wave of particles may in fact be a beam. Crackerjack hard-SF author Charles Sheffield brings back much of the cast of Aftermath for this suspenseful, well-paced follow-up, the two most satisfying returnees being sociopath-savant Oliver Guest and his former patient Seth Parsigian. In the book's subplot, the brilliant Guest and gruff Parsigian must team up to solve a string of grisly child murders on Sky City that threatens to push the shield project even further behind schedule. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sheffield, give us more!
This book was one of the most frustrating books I have ever read and enjoyed.Since I did not read Aftermath, it took me a while to get into the story and understand the characters.Sheffield offers too many charachers and it is quite a challenge to determine who is going to be key and who is forgettable.However, by the time I got to the middle of the book I was hooked.I read until 4 AM and had bloodshot eyes and a crick in my neck.But then I got to the end, and hence my frustration, and my criticism.
1. In a hurry, skip "the private diary of Oliver Guest".The Sky City murders were a completely separate story.It seemed they existed simply to reprise a favorite character, but there was no real tie in to the Alpha C story.The motive did not support the crime.The crime did not make any difference to the future of Sky City.The criminal was not publically unmasked so the community was not satisfied.This subplot may have been better resolved in its own book.
2. The main story seemed oddly incomplete. I like a story that is character driven, but I want complete characters.I do not want to wait on a sequel, I want to know now.What happens to the Argos Group?What was Gordy's legacy?Was Nick redeemed?Was Seth redeemed?Did Maddy and John ever hold hands?What happened to other countries and the other world leaders?And who are those people pictured on the book cover?
I have read other novels by Sheffield and this is not the first time that I thought he just stopped writing when the main plot was solved.I would like a little bit more.I need an upbeat ending that is both positive for science and positive for people.

4-0 out of 5 stars Will the real Nero Wolfe please stand up?
Starfire is ostensibly a sequel to Aftermath, but you don't really need to read Aftermath first.Me, I read them in the wrong order and still enjoyed both.

This book is Sheffield's take on the old Nero Wolfe concept - a brilliant detective who has someone else to do the legwork.In this case, the Wolfe role is filled by the serial killer/Clone King Dr. Oliver Guest, and the Goodwin role by our old friend Seth Parsigian.

The science is, as always for Sheffield, spot on... within the limits of SF.The best definition of Hard SF I ever heard was this:Take or create *one* outlandish but possible theory, assume that it's true, and leave the rest of known science intact.Project how the truth of such a theory would affect humanity, and then write the book.Mr. Sheffield stayed true to this concept throughout his career, with admirable results.

My one real problem from a character perspective in this book is based on the interactions from the prior one:Imagining a Tanaka/Auden ticket forming in the first place seems quite a stretch for both of them.But maybe that's just me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Now this is cool SF
The most striking thing about this book is its exploration of emotional intelligence.Scheffield constantly plays with the stock images of the engineer, the polititian, and the business person, turning them upside down.Nothing is really what it seems...it seems.He takes the reader deeply into the motives, weaknesses and strengths of individuals who happen to have those roles.And that's just one of the threads deftly woven into the story.Scheffield makes a supernova cool (sorry 'bout that!).

3-0 out of 5 stars 3 words: Formula, Formula, Formula!
This was a good brain candy, beach read.The characters were SOOOOO written for a movie.The ending was out of left field, concepts that weren't explored at all (and not earth-shattering ones that i would sit and contemplate either).Both the main and 2ndary endings were pulled out of some hole the universe, I know not where.There is so much better hard sci-fi out there.

Try Larry Niven, Stephen Baxter (Flux was strange but the science was thouroughly explored!) and many others if you want hard sci-fi.If you want a 2nd rate murder mystery where you are told key clues AS they are confronting the culprit w/ a little science thrown in, this is for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid, old-fashioned
Sheffield's work reminds me of the hard-science multi-plot future history works of the writers of the 50s and early 60s.The work has very much the feel of a serialized sci fi mag piece from Astounding or some such.The usual ingredients are there--a collection of disparate characters enmeshed in a handful of subplots, the mildly dystopian but recognizable earth of fifty years hence, a global threat,eccentric yet capable minds that work to solve it, and, finally, not one but two little puzzle mysteries, with punch line endings to both inquiries.Sheffield's plotting is a real strength; the characterization is a bit pat.I recommend this one, though, as the central dilemma is compelling, and the book lacks the gratuitious glandular or violent juvenalia which infects so many more modern sci fis.This is a fun afternoon, rather than an epic voyage, but not every unmanned satellite can discover a new universe.... ... Read more

16. CONVERGENCE ("Heritage Universe" Series)
by Charles Sheffield
Paperback: 299 Pages (1997-03-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$5.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671877747
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The discovery of an ancient alien technology known as the Artifacts enables the human race to jump from galaxy to galaxy, but when a strange new Artifact emerges and changes all the other Artifacts, chaos ensues. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Heritage UniverseCharles Sheffield
If you are a sci-fi-fan you will love this book I had a copy of the Heritage Universe all the books in one. I read it about 5 times in as many years. my copy finally fell apart . so I am going to buy it again!!It's that good!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Secrets of the Builders finally revealed
The story opens with news that the Artifacts, centerpiece of this series, seem to be changing and, in some cases, disappearing.To further complicate matters, Artifact expert Darya Lang finds her academic turf threatened with the sudden appearance of newcomer Quintus Bloom who tells her he has discovered a new Artifact and also has a theory about the Builders and the purpose of their Artifacts. He thinks they were built by future humans to foster our development.

In a huff, Darya Lang sets out to explore Labyrinth and prove Bloom wrong.Hans Rebka, after a lover's quarrel with Lang, has no idea where she went and undertakes the exploration of another newly altered Artifact.Meanwhile, Louis Nenda and Atvar H'sial enter Bloom's employ as he explores the Torvil Anfract, the Artifact discovered in the last book of the series, TRANSCENDCE.

The simultaneous exploration of these Artifacts gets a trifle tedious and confusing, but the characters make up for it. ... Read more

17. Brother to Dragons
by Charles Sheffield
Paperback: 272 Pages (1992-10-01)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$37.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671721410
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Born of a crack-addicted mother in a charity ward in Washington, D.C., after the ""crash,"" Job Napoleon Salk is destined to change the world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars - very entertaining!
From the moment the apparent lifeless body of Job Salk is born, he beats the odds and survives beyond infancy. His character and the unfolding bleak world he is born into grabs you early and holds on. It is not a generally happy story, but Salk's fighting spirit is uplifting. He is thrown from one sad situation to another, and never loses hope. The toxic nuclear waste disposal site he ends up in is chilling. The ending seems inevitable, and yet it seems right. Salk's sacrifice is consistent with his character. Sheffield is an underrated author. This is not his best book, but it is as entertaining as any of them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Easily one of the best books I've ever read. Sheffield's descriptive technique is unparalleled. As far as science fiction goes, this book could possibly be one of the 5 best books ever written, in my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where is science taking us?
In a post successful USA the reader finds him or herself caught up in the life of an unlucky individual.A hero who rises from the bottom to achieve a goal.Yet this is unknown till only the end when the final and mostdrastic decision is made.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!
Brother To Dragons is the story of a man born in the midst of a terrible time, in a deep city charity ward with extreme birth defects.Early in life he is, without knowing it, exposed to the illegal drug trade, because of which he ends up in a supposedly unescapable juvenile delinquint house with purposely lethal conditions, but somehow manages to escape.He then spends about ten years as a multi-lingual street vendor, until the government pulls him out by way of blackmail (his recent first love was, without the protagonist's knowing it, a member of an important political family).The government then uses him to find out what's going on in the country's biggest complete security prison/Toxic And Nuclear Disposal Installation facility.He comes back not only with what he was sent for, but also with a way to save the world, which he himself puts into action shortly before dying.Although I have read lots of science fiction, this book is the first book of its kind I have read (3 times!), and I look forward to readingmore of Sheffield's work.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read
When I read this, I was unsuspecting of what this story really was. Originally I just pointed out a book and bought it. Fortunatly my choice out of blind luck turned me on this dark look at the future focusing on an unfortunate good soul growing up in the worst conditions who would change the world forever. The cover is misleading, but I didn't feel at all jipped at being mislead. Infact, I greatly appreciated stumbling upon this jewel of a story. ... Read more

18. Borderlands of Science
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2000-11-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671319531
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Present-day science, as Carl Sagan observed, is more like science fiction than most science fiction. Where does the dividing line lie today?

Charles Sheffield, an internationally respected scientist and an equally renowned science fiction writer, whom The Washington Post and others have compared to Arthur C. Clarke, surveys with an expert eye the current state of physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, computers, and other fields, and brings the reader up to date on just how strange the universe is turning out to be.

When exploring strange territory, a knowledgeable guide is a necessity. Fortunately, Dr. Sheffield is eminently qualified to explain the nature of the new mysteries which science is just beginning to explore. The readers will be in good hands as they are taken on an expertly guided tour of the


Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, imperfect
This is a suitable summary of potential breakthroughs in science over the coming years, and how you, as a potential science fiction writer, can exploit w/ a degree of expertise that speculation for your own work.Sheffield wants you to get your science right, he wants substance to your verisimilitude, and that's a good thing.

It covers the types of rockets that are possible, where alien life is possible, new forms of energy, quantum physics, non-locality, robotics and A.I...ect.

There are some weaknesses.His explanation of Chaos Theory wasn't very helpful, and seemed unfocused.The idea of solar powered energy stations hovering in orbit (or near orbit) above the earth, beaming radiation down to earth seems a bit fanciful for an author who is trying to "keep it real".How healthy would it be for the environment if a power station beams down a nation's worth of electromagnetic radiation through clouds, the ozone layer, ect.If a butterfly's wings can cause a tsunami (re: Chaos theory), what in the world would a LASER beaming to the earth do?!?It's an attractive proposition--very attractive, quasi-free energy, but flawed, and really shouldn't pass the "hard SF" test.Also, the chapters on A.I. and robotics were a bit too short.

This is a good summary and a way to get your foot in the door to understanding these near-future topics, but to really master these topics for your writing, like Sheffield will want you to do, you'll need to dig deeper into these subjects in other sources.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to the Major Areas of Modern Science
There are two primary audiences for this work.The first is anybody interested in understanding a wide variety of scientific topics.Though not as thorough and wide ranging as Isaac Asimov's science guides, Sheffield writes with the same clarity and and his own style of wit.Even somebody who regularly reads popular science magazines may find some new insight here.

Sheffield delves into the origins of life, subnuclear and quantum physics, possible mechanisms for space travel, physical descriptions of the solar system, superconductivity, viruses and prions, and a lot more including a whole section on "scientific heresies".

The second audience are those interested in writing science fiction, specifically the sort of hard science fiction Sheffield wrote.To suggest story ideas, Sheffield explores some of the borders of modern science where conventional theory gives way to speculation.Along the way, he points out some common traps to avoid when handling topics like near lightspeed travel and suggests specific fiction titles as examples of how a concept has been dealt with.He does not offer any advice on the literary aspects of science fiction or in marketing it.His sole interest is in helping you get your real science right and make your imaginary science plausible.

While the book doesn't have a whole lot about the thought processes of scientists, Sheffield does cover the historical and contemporary objections to some scientific theories, the prejudices that sometimes blind good scientists, and some of the amazing minds that have roamed across several disciplines.

Admirers of Sheffield's fiction will also probably like the asides about its scientific inspiration.

My only objection to the book is that I wish some sections would have had more detail.

The book includes a useful bibliography of fact and fiction titles for further research and an index.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, not the most accurate subtitle
This book doesn't teach you to think like a scientst, nor how to write science fiction, but this subtitle may be the fault of the jacket writer and not the author.

This book is a readable summary of a number of areas of science: physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, etc., with an emphasis on topics most likely to concern a science fiction writer.The solar system and space flight both get long chapters to themselves, for example.Chaos theory gets a big chapter too -- bigger than it deserves probably -- but is interesting enough.

This book is a handy starting place for an sf writer, but doesn't really go into enough detail to do more than spark a story.The bibliography is therefore unfortunately thin (but at least there is one!).

I noted a significant number of small errors or conceptual problems in the areas of physics and astronomy (I'm a PhD astronomer).For instance, Sheffield repeats Clarke's erroneous point (from 2010) that if Jupiter were just "a bit bigger" it would support its own fusion reactions and be a star.Yes, if it were some 82 times bigger (more massive) according to current theory.That's nearly like saying if the earth were a bit bigger it would be like Jupiter (which is some 300 earth masses).He also notes that distant galaxies look "little different" from nearby ones, aside from brightness and redshift -- this is certainly not true for the higher redshift (say z > 2) galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field for instance, which are smaller and highly irregular indicating evolutionary effects.Sheffield is hard on the Big Bang without good justification (although I grant this could be a good area for story fodder), and gives a rather questionable amount of space to some very discredited alternatives.He does mention one of the more obvious scientific problems with The Sparrow (which is a good book and worth reading anyway) so if he can point it out I can point out a few of his.

I noticed that I stopping seeing problems when the topics moved into chemistry and biology, in which I am well read but no expert.That's a good sign.Sheffield has compiled a wide array of information at a pretty good level of understanding.If it really took a PhD in a particular subject to write hard sf in that subject, we'd be missing some great stories.

This book is an excellent addition to the shelf of a science fiction writer.

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting book, but writers will need more
Charles Sheffield is one of the hardest "hard SF" writers, and seems to know the material inside and out.As such, he has a great sense for how speculative your speculation can be and still carry the reader.This book is an overview of how to use science in SF, but it isn't a complete reference.It's interesting for readers who wish to be better informed, and is certainly a good starting point for writers.But most writers will need further reference if they expect to go into any detail in their stories.

If you are writing a short story where the science is just part of the background, this will do a great job helping you avoid physical impossibilities in your plot.It's also more than enough detail for most screenwriters, not that that's saying much.But even the most non-technical SF novel is going to require a lot more research.

5-0 out of 5 stars Borderlands of Science
Borderlands of Science carries the subtitle "How to Think Like aScientist and Write Science Fiction."This is as apt a title as I'veseen in quite a while.This book contains everything the science fictionwriter or reader could ever hope to want to know, including: black holes,chaos, cyborgs, cold fusion, Fullerenes, general and special relativity,quantum teleportation, superconductors, RNA and the origin of life, anexploration of the planets, ion rockets, Ram Augmented InterstellarRockets, and wormholes, just to name a few. Sheffield warns thereader that by the time they read it, the book will be out of date, thatscience is changing so fast that no one can know which parts of the bookwill be out of date when, until it happens. For the writer, reader,or scientist who wants a comprehensive overview of science and technologyas pertains to science fiction and speculative fiction writing, this bookis invaluable.For curious minds who just want to know more about theiruniverse, this book is an eye opener.An ambitious and excellentlyput-together tome. ... Read more

19. The Spheres of Heaven
by Charles Sheffield
Mass Market Paperback: 544 Pages (2002-01-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067131856X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Spacer Chan Dalton is torn between two masters. The pacifist aliens who hold Earth under Quarantine want him to find out why their starships have been disappearing in the Geyser Swirl, the Bermuda Triangle of the galaxy. Earth's military, which has secretly discovered a way to break the quarantine, assumes that someone out there is making ships vanish, including Earth's, and wants Dalton to find the culprits and hopefully stop them -- with extreme prejudice, if necessary.

The trouble is, the aliens hold the taking of intelligent life, even in selfdefense, to be the greatest of sins. It was Earth's violent ways (in defense of the damned pacifist aliens!) that led to the quarantine in the first place -- and if Dalton is forced to fight, it will unveil, and so destroy, Earth's final chance to reach for the stars again.

So when Dalton does indeed discover the hostile invaders responsible for the lost starships, he is faced with an impossible decision: Fight and lose access to space forever; or allow a rapacious enemy to run riot over all that he holds dear... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not very good
I read this book because a friend told me to read it and I felt guilty saying no. As it was, it took me from August 2007 until January 2008 to finish the 532 page book. After September 2007 it was relegated to bathroom book status where I reluctantly read it when there was nothing else to do. I'm happy I finished the book (because it's now over).

The book wasn't bad, but I can't say it was good either. It was easy to read, so there's that. The human characters weren't overly annoying, but they were also barely there. Each character got anywhere from a paragraph to a chapter of description earlier on in the book, but these descriptions were apparently supposed to carry the characters through the whole book because they were barely developed beyond those early blurbs. I didn't think that worked too well, especially since the characters felt like cardboard caricatures as a result.

My friend was enamored with the weird aliens, but they just annoyed me. Three types of aliens are all against violence of any kind, but the fourth, new alien is all for violence. In fact, the fourth type of alien, a lobster type creature, are bent on taking over Earth and the human race. So while the humans are trying to protect themselves, the three allied aliens prattle on about how they must remain non-violent. Blah, blah, blah, they figure things out in a kind of inventive way and there you go.

If someone liked very base sci-fi, then this one might be enjoyable, but otherwise, I'd steer clear and not waste your time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Needs more revisions
Buy this book, then come back here after you've finished it and tell me it doesn't read like a badly pruned tree.

This was about two revisions away from being a good book.It seems that many subplots are at work, since there are multiple main characters, and none of them are fulfilled or even relevant in many cases.

2 and a half stars, at best, but I can't split stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read.
This is a sequel to The Mind Pool.I think it's better.It involves a scratch team of humans, each with unique capabilities and each flirting with the wrong side of the law, who undertake a hazardous interstellar trip that lands them in another universe confronted by hostile, militaristic aliens with superior technology.I good romp, to be sure.One of its themes is that the faults of humans (violence, greed, deviousness, etc.) are survival traits.Charles Sheffield has become one of my favorite authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spheres fo Heaven
I first ordered Spheres of Heaven, not knowing it was a sequel, and subsequently ordered the first book, The Mind Pool.I was glad I did and was pleasantly re-introduced to science fiction after a long time away from this genre.

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.

4-0 out of 5 stars a fine soap opera!
Charles Sheffield is a mathematician and physicist and has been the past president of both the American Astronautical Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America. He has also been the chief scientist of the Earth Satellite Corporation.

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. ... Read more

20. Proteus in the Underworld
by Charles Sheffield
Hardcover: 320 Pages (1995-05-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$4.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671876597
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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A series of well-intentioned technologies enable twenty-second-century humans to transform their bodies into any conceivable form, and in the resulting chaos, a dangerous new life form is discovered. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Bey Wolf is what you could call a shapeshifter detective.Not so much that he turns into a werewolf, but in a world where people can change their shapes he is involved in policing the dangerous and outlawed varieties of this technology.

Now, though, he has packed that in and is working on some of the science aspects himself when a relative approaches him for help in this area, and he must do some mystery solving again.

5-0 out of 5 stars interesting and well-written
the proteus books are probably sheffield's best.great characters, compelling locations, dynamic storylines, interesting science.what's notto like?i fail to see the "implausible" aspects of these booksreferred to in an earlier review (after all, sf is supposed to be a littleaggressive in the science department - and this series is more about the_effects_ of the science than about the science itself).they're justplain cool.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sheffield questions the assumptions of the Proteus series.
Published in 1978, the first Proteus book, Sight of Proteus, featured a popular seventies' idea, biofeedback, carried to bizarre and implausible extremes.In the future, "form change" machines will enable the human will to mold the human form via biofeedback processes.The hero of the novel is Bey Wolf.As an agent of the Office of Form Control, he looks for "unauthorized" and dangerous forms in the multitude of shapes humanity has taken for fashion and profit. Sheffield continued the series ten years later with Proteus Unbound, and this is the third and latest in the series though it is not really necessary to have read the earlier books.

Wolf is now retired and developing form change technology himself.However, a distant relative, Sondra Wolf Dearborn, asks him to help her solve a crucial puzzle.All human children are given "humanity tests".If they can consciously and deliberately alter their form they avoid being sent to the organ banks.However, some defi ... Read more

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