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On July , Arthur Gordon Learns That Europa, The Sixth Moon Of Jupiter, Has Disappeared Not Hiding, Not Turned Black, But Gone On September Th, Edward Shaw, A Geologist Working In Death Valley, Finds A Mysterious New Cinder Cone In Very Well Mapped Area As Unexplained Phenomena Spring Up Around The GlobeL A Granite Mountain Appearing In Australia, Sounds Emanating From The Earth S Core, Flashes Of Light Among The Asteroids, It Becomes Clear To Some That The End Is Approaching, And There Is Nothing That Can Be Done In The Forge Of God, Award Winning Author Greg Bear Describes The Final Days Of The World On Both A Massive, Scientific Scale And In The Everyday, Emotional Context Of Individual Human Lives Facing The Destruction Of All They Know, Some People Turn To God, Others To Their Families, And A Few Turn To Saviors Promising Escape From A Planet Tearing Itself Apart Will They Make It In Time And Who Gets Left Behind To Experience The Last Moments Of Beauty And Chaos On Earth


10 thoughts on “The Forge of God

  1. says:

    Greg Bear is one of the popular science fiction authors that I have been neglecting I have only read his best known book Eon prior to this one Perhaps that is just as well as I have quite a few to look forward to I like sci fi books set in the present day in this case 1996 , they tend to be immediately relatable They also tend to be about First Contact, the meeting of mankind and extraterrestrials Do you have a name the President asked Not in your language My name is chemical and goes before me among my own kind Ah, I love such alien weirdness The Forge of God seems to be all about First Contact during the first half of the book until some unexpected turns of event divert the storyline into an apocalyptic territory A crashed alien spaceship disguised as a volcanic cinder cone is found in the desert near the town of Shoshone, USA, at the crash site some geologists find an alien in very poor health Around the same time another faux cinder cone is found in an Australian desert, no alien found but some robots make contact instead The alien in the US bears a message of doom, the robots in Australia bring glad tidings for mankind WTF Soon the human characters discover something off about the alien and the robots and things escalate quickly.The plot of The Forge of God is very intriguing and I had no idea where the story will go I love the way science is woven into the fabric of the story rather than simply dumped as blocks of info Biology, geology, physics and astronomy expositions are cleverly used to make the story much believable as advantage sci fi has over fantasy for me The mystery of who or what the alien and robots are and what their agenda is fascinating Greg Bear makes effort than most sci fi authors to develop his characters However, for sci fi this can be a double edged sword Sometimes the epic sci fi storyline dwarfs the characters and the readers become interested in the events in the story than the struggles of the characters It is not enough for characters to be believable and realistic, they also need to be interesting, to stand out in a sci fi epic I think this is the single flaw of this book, Bear spends a lot of time developing characters, and they do seem like real people, but, unfortunately, not interesting people It also does not help that there are too many point of view characters and most of them remain flat in spite of the author s valiant efforts Arthur C Clarke never bothered much with characterization, he played to his strength of plotting and storytelling and the style works very well for him.The above mentioned gripe aside, The Forge of God is a tremendously good read The ending really is a humdinger, I wish I can tell you something about it without spoiling the book horribly OK, I m going to put something behind this spoiler tagged paragraph view spoiler It s the end of the world, dudes The disintegration of the Earth is described here in amazingly visual details The description of the world s end through the eyes of several characters, some located on Earth and some on a spaceship is wonderfully vivid hide spoiler


  2. says:

    All I kept thinking while reading this was that it felt like an Arthur C Clarke story You know, complicated science, great concept, crappy two dimensional characters I didn t like or dislike one character They were there only to showcase the idea and the science Geologists happen across a large rock structure in Death Valley that wasn t there before While investigating, they discover an alien It can speak English having learned it from our radio waves in space and it says it is a hitchhiker with another entity that will destroy Earth Meanwhile, a similar thing is happening in Australia but the message is one of peace The humans investigate and learn, the the situation gets out of control It s much complicated than this but I don t want to give anything away.I wasn t a big fan of the writing style, but then again I m not a fan of Clarke s either The story could also shed about 10% of the filler and be much better If you like ACC, you ll probably like this as well.


  3. says:

    With its pacing and readability, The Forge of God reminded me of a Michael Crichton novel the kind of science fiction story where scientific plausibility reigns and the narrative structure keeps you reading This is a good novel I enjoyed the heck out of it Reading this book, however, incited musings on the various incarnations of science fiction, its characteristics and purposes Musings follow.The Forge of God was recommended to me by the kind of reader who dismisses Ray Bradbury and Phillip K Dick because the science in their stories ranges from unconvincing to non existent This reader would not consider Vonnegut a science fiction writer I suppose, if pressed, he d call these authors fantasy writers Basically, this fellow has no use for your so called science fiction unless the science determines the fiction Now, I appreciate the heck out of a science heavy science fiction story I value plausibility, to an extent, and my brain definitely revels in some technical scientific information about physics, astronomy, geology bring it on But the science fiction that makes my mind bend does not necessarily possess this characteristic.I have a special and abiding affection for science fiction that lets the science work in service of the story instead of making the story revolve around the science Authors like Bradbury, Dick and Vonnegut do not spend loads of time trying to convince their readers of the scientific plausibility of the worlds they ve created I suppose they assume their genre allows for this kind of suspension of disbelief Science does not comprise the soul of these author s novels anyway it is merely the precondition of the action It is the agar in the petri dish, not the culture that develops on it The preoccupation of this kind of author s story comes principally in human interaction and the examination of what it means to be human, especially when human limits and capabilities are challenged Science fiction premises present wonderful observation grounds for this kind of question because, so often, they involve artificial intelligence, alien intelligence, or human beings in non terrestrial environments For my taste, what authors like Bradbury and Dick lack in scientific rigor, they than make up for in the keenness of their psychological insights into human behavior and the depth of their ontological inquiries regarding humans.Which brings me back to Greg Bear His story is neat, as in tidy and as in cool It s clever, built like a page turner short chapters, frequently shifting points of view , and especially fine are the chapters where his scientific minded characters dissect the central quandaries of the novel But slight spoiler follows , once the protagonists figure out the situation and the earth is pretty much doomed, I kept waiting for the ponderings on human behavior, worth, and ability This book has all the scientific agar aliens, artificial intelligence, impending destruction of the primary human habitat but it grew very little by way of psychological culture There are lots of references to narrowly controlled panic, lots of discussion of how Bear s characters really just hope they re having sex when the sh hits the fan, and some retreat into nature to say goodbye to the mother about to be destroyed And that s it Once the science is explored, once military responses to the invaders fail, there s very little to bring the characters of this novel out of the superficiality in which they were drawn Science certainly can t do it.


  4. says:

    4.0 to 4.5 stars Excellent, gripping story Nominee Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 1988 Nominee Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 1988 Nominee Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 1988


  5. says:

    I was really disappointed by this I had picked it up because I had really liked other Greg Bear novels Eon, Eternity, and Legacy So I was expecting something fantastical on the same scale as those are.Instead, it was a dull romp through 1980s paranoid Earth Pages and pages of the government trying to keep extraterrestrial contacts secret from the populace.There was one very annoying literary device used throughout The novel is told from a 3rd person omniscient viewpoint And every time a major character appears to have figured something important out, just as it would be revealed, we switch to another character for several pages Seems like desperation to keep the reader interested.This reminded me a lot of Arthur C Clarke s Rama books no contact with the aliens, just observations of their technology No supraluminal travel, so everything takes ages No explanation of what the aliens possibly up to three factions, but it was never clear are really up to.I m amazed I made it all the way through I kept hoping something interesting would be revealed, but it was not to be.


  6. says:

    Having read and enjoyed several other Bear books, I had high hopes for this one Sadly, Forge of God is perhaps the only book I ve ever read that has literally nothing to redeem it I cannot figure out why Bear bothered to write this story It seemed to have nothing to say, no commentary to impart, and no excitement to bring, while at the same time depicting a human race that, faced with ultimate destruction, fails to attempt even the smallest action in their own defense Humanity is depicted as sheep being herded to slaughter with only the merest hint of retaliation being given The plot line is nothing but a simple linear march to the earth s destruction Humanity learns of the threat, does absolutely nothing during the middle 2 3 of the book, following which the earth is blown to bits Given the lack of big picture response, you d think perhaps Bear wanted to explore the end of the world scenario on a personal level However, the characterizations are, at best, shallow We never come to care enough about any of the characters to develop an emotional connection, much less feel anything when they die or get any insight into the human condition In short, this is one big, empty book that goes nowhere except exactly the place we are told it s going very early on.Bear simply appears to have mailed it in when he wrote this one Take a pass on this one and look into some of his other work instead.


  7. says:

    Wow Not one of Greg Bear s finest, I would say Although the last third does try to make up for the plodding two thirds Like most sci fi written in the past talking about the future that is now our past, it has a few stumbling blocks where he didn t get it quite right Forge of God was written in 1986, the cold war was still on with no end in sight, computers were just starting to reveal their usefulness as personal computing platforms and modern data storage techniques were coming to light Set in 1996, he gets a surprising number of things right personal computers small enough to carry around to hotels and airplanes, optical storage media as a standard, and flat panel screens On the other hand, there are a couple references to the Soviet Union and Marxists as adversaries to the U.S that are kinda grimace worthy True to Bear fashion, however, the akwardness of the future come and gone is pretty easily overlooked, as he focuses mainly on the people, not the tech, and the ways that their lives and character are changed over the course of the novel Basic premise two alien bogeys are discovered on earth The occupants of one, landed in Australia, say they bring enlightenment for all of humanity, and start teaching those who ll listen about advanced physics etc The second craft, landed in Nevada, ejects a dying alien who lives long enough to claim that the planet eaters have come to destroy Earth and there s nothing that anyone can do about it There s also a third, but we never really find out about it because the Evil Soviets are hiding it So what happens A group of scientists are wrapped up trying to figure out what s going on and who to believe, a group of government officials are trying to decide how much and what to tell the rest of the world and eventually the planet is destroyed in prose at times so moving and evocative that I don t recommend reading it alone in an empty apartment like I did I put the book down and picked up my cat so I could hold in my arms a breathing, fuzzy reminder that the planet does in fact still exist So where does it go wrong Well, there s a story line about a dying scientist, the point of which I m still trying to understand As a friend to one of the main, and most developed, characters, it could have been a great vessel for exploring the fragility of human life and the upcoming confrontation he ll have with his own mortality, but instead it just kinda peters out As I mentioned earlier, it starts out kinda plodding and slow It falls victim to the Heroes Phenomenon there are a lot of characters, we don t know why they re in the story and we re not terribly inclined to pay attention to them Eventually, like Heroes, it does all come together and make sense, but I was left wondering if there isn t a better way to get there Also, like the last Harry Potter, I really could have done without the epilogue The story itself sets up enough information as to what s going to happen afterward that we really don t need to be propelled a couple hundred years into the future to have it spelled out to us Not to mention, it was probably the lamest part of the book I would say that his later works are definitely better than this, although I can see the promise here for those I rate this book so high because of the end really the meat of the story Perhaps it would have worked better as a short story, truncating the beginning and focusing in on the main events as they happened.


  8. says:

    The difference between a 4 star book and a 5 star book is vast, definitely than the span of one star Bear.bears comparisons with Stephen King in his ability to draw huge inferences in character from descriptive narrative passages, the actions of his characters, and interior and exterior dialogs, as well as relationships between characters For this reader, they share a knack for initiating caring about what s happening to the characters and the magical gift of crafting a new world that s as believable as anything that can be touched, seen, or heard in the world that we witness everyday Bear s gift of creating these believable, easy to care about characters draws the reader into this extraordinary plot where the Earth is seemingly doomed What does he offer any than any other apocalyptic version of Earth s demise Well, the characters themselves make the journey worthwhile, and while some may make an argument for nihilism or meaninglessness out of our characters adventures, I find my way into meaning I love the descriptive passages about Arthur Gorden s friend, Harry and the wonderful bond of friendship between these two scientists Harry s letter to Arthur embracing James s Lovelock s theory of Gaia give their own special meaning to existence, and to what s happening in this novel While not having read a great deal about Lovelock s theory, I understand that it s under a lot of criticism by modern day scientists Lovelock s theory, however, fits in very well with the plot that unfolds from the mind of Greg Bear Bear brings a lot of hard science into the novel to support his created world, thereby adding elements of believability The settings are absolutely fantastic Written in 1987 before everyone had a cell phone glued to their fingers, communications in the novel appears specialized and laborious, not the instantaneous institution that it has come to be today This is well represented in the novel and makes Bear s telepathic network with aliens seem almost prophetic There are moments of tedium in the novel, but for me, also moments of exhilaration in reading such a well crafted work At the outset, I could never have guessed how the plot would unfold, and all the way to its ending, I knew that like King, Bear could not be trusted to bring my favorite characters through the mayhem The ending was deeply believable and as a result of that believability, reaching toward some kind of spiritual meaning that other readers may be able to define than myself.


  9. says:

    A really great concept marred by heavy handed yet poorly detailed plotting For a world wide crisis, one gets only momentary high level glimpses of how most of the world is taking it the conceptualization of politics and diplomacy and government is pretty simplistic, and for all the talk of characters intelligence, none of them seem that bright which may actually be the point The most distracting thing for me was noticing how, no matter how often they were referred to as intelligent and competent, there was not one woman in the entire book who acted independently, or whose inner thoughts were exposed, or who served any other purpose than to comfort, support, distract, or sleep with the male characters except possibly the president s wife It s the sort of thing I accept as part of older SF, but seems less excusable in recent decades.


  10. says:

    Aliens launch a covert attack on Earth with no motive ever provided Humans are defenseless and are unable to provide even token resistance Earth is destroyed These are not spoilers because there s really nothing worth spoiling This book manages to take the opening few scenes of Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy and drag it out over 400 pages, without the humour or the Vogon poetry Overall, a tiresome and forgettable read.