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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Beyond Infinity by Gregory Benford

Beyond Infinity by Gregory Benford. New York: Aspect Warner Books, 2004. ISBN: 0-446-53059-X

Benford is one of the current sci-fi grandmasters, always worth reading even when he goes a little off the deep end, as he does here. I'm always skeptical about anyone who tries to imagine what things might be like literally millions of years from now, which is what this book attempts. Benford addresses this problem himself in a valuable "Afterword," which made me a little more sympathetic to the attempt. He prefaces his "Afterword" with a great quote from Niels Bohr, actually a Danish saying, often quoted by the famous nuclear scientist: "Prediction is always difficult, especially of the future."

Nevertheless, much of this book is just too far out there to be particularly believable, and quite a bit of it is not even all that interesting. The best part for me was the living spacecraft and other sophisticated space life that is described as the protagonists make a bold trip out into the Jovian region of our solar system. Those concepts were truly rewarding, and I would have enjoyed a story that was built more around a more focused exploration of that ecosystem, and based less on almost supernatural forces beyond our ken, and mostly beyond the ken of the story's primary characters. Recommended for die-hard sci-fi fans.

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