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400 Billion Stars. Paul McAuley (1988)

by Paul J. McAuley(Favorite Author)
3.44 of 5 Votes: 2
0575090030 (ISBN13: 9780575090033)
Four Hundred Billion Stars
review 1: I am following up on my resolution to read old SF books that have been languishing on my shelves for years. In this case, what should have been a painful duty became real pleasure. I read other McAuley's books and include a discussion of his novel "Of the Fall" in my book "Science Fiction, Alien Encounters, and Ethics of Posthumanism". But this one, his first novel, is much better. It is beautifully written, has interesting and mysterious aliens, and an explanation that does not disappoint. The main character is somewhat tiresome and I wish she were called something else than "Dorthy". But if you like alien encounters that are more than a pretext for wasting hardware, this one is highly recommended.
review 2: 400 billion is the estimated number of stars in our
... moregalaxy. Somewhere, a small planet orbits a giant red star. Bathed in sickly red light and inhabited by primitive life forms, at first it appears uninteresting to humans. However, its unusual rotation rate and an alien building on the surface hint that there is more than meets the eye, and explorer teams are sent to investigate.The first chapters are good, presenting life in a small outpost, with a tense and gripping atmosphere. This is followed by a long and boring part about some clueless explorers trudging through a remote part of the planet, making observations about the landscape and fauna; it does not add much to the story, and could have been dealt with in 5 pages instead of 100. And it does not get better after that; a similarly boring part follows, describing a team exploring the vicinity of the alien building and uncovering the "mystery" of the planet, which is hardly interesting or unexpected, and by that time I could not really care about it anyway. less
Reviews (see all)
Reminds me of "classic" SciFi: inscrutable aliens, Earth Navy and the big reveal at the end.
Difficult and unclear read, lives up to the name hard sci-fi in being hard to enjoy.
Very alien environment with alien mysteries.
Just didn't have that "zing"
Ending ruins it.
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