June 10, 2004
The Forge of God by Greg Bear
Greg Bear takes the stereotypical `Invasion from outer space' theme and treats it with a novel hard-sf point of view. It has several original thoughts about such an invasion, but there isn't enough story there to justify the length of the book. It reads more like a prequel to another book (this is the first book in a trilogy). Some of the interesting technologies used in the plot include Von-Neumann style self-replicating robots as well as some interesting (borrowed) ideas about a generative formal grammar for speciation, similar to the quasi-species model of Manfred Eigen (the original paper was published in Naturwissenschaften. 1971. Vol.58. P. 465).
This is the kind of book that might be interesting to you if you've ever wondered if a high-brow version of "Independence Day" was possible. Since this is a novel, you should expect more logic than a summer offering from Hollywood, but don't expect much more than some light summer reading.
The plot meanders along at a pace that is too measured for this kind of novel. Too many characters are introduced with the hope that the magnitude of the events can be portrayed through them, but this attempt fails. However, interesting things keep happening long after you think that the rest of the book is going to be predictable.
Some of the same game-theoretic themes about the rationale for genocide at a planetary scale are explored in somewhat greater detail in "The Killing Star" by Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski and the Beserker series of novels by Fred Saberhagen.
%T The Forge of God %A Greg Bear %I Tor Books %D 1987 %G ISBN: 0312930216 (hc) %G ISBN: 0812524330 (pb) %P 474 %K science-fiction
Review written: 1999/07/10Posted by anoop at June 10, 2004 02:05 PM