Synopses & Reviews
In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and its on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.
A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated—one group captured by the gigantic structures alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape—the mystery of the Bowls origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.
"SF doyens Benford (Chiller) and Niven (the Ringworld series) collaborate on a strong SF series launch. Something goes wrong with Earth's SunSeeker space expedition, leaving the crew without enough fuel or supplies to reach their destination. Just as things get serious, they spot a curious phenomenon in space: an enormous bowl-shaped object, larger than any planet, cupping and half-encircling a star. Its inner surface is oddly Earth-like, and already inhabited. The Bird Folk watch the humans' every move, trying to decide whether to allow them to colonize or kill them all. Much of the book is written from the point of view of Memor, the Bird Folk representative assigned to study the humans; Benford and Niven helpfully give her a soap opera of primate behavior to observe, as Cliff loves Beth but sleeps with Irma because she's more convenient, and the various exploration teams bicker over leadership. While hardly groundbreaking, this is a solid work that will appeal to fans of classic hard SF." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Niven lifts the reader far from the conventional world — and does it with a dash." Los Angeles Times
"What sets Benford apart from most of the high-tech literary herd is his gift for characterization and language, his refusal to let gadgets overwhelm the people in his stories....Benford never lets his characters become the animated cardboard cutouts that afflict too many hard science fiction stories." San Francisco Chronicle
"Bowl of Heaven is the first installment of what will be the biggest sci-fi saga since — well, since ever. If only more of us could share the authors' visions, and optimism." The Wall Street Journal
"It's easy to settle in and enjoy the sci-fi smorgasbord served up by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven....There's a lot to savor. Fans of so-called 'hard science fiction' will enjoy the descriptions of ionic scoop fusion drives and all the solar-powered gadgets put to practical use during deep space exploration." The Associated Press
"If you like hard SF with mind-stretching ideas — both physical and psychological — then you definitely want to read this book." Analog
"It's been more than 40 years since Ringworld and nearly that long since the Galactic Center Saga knocked our socks off, and I wonder how much it takes these days to render us barefoot and gaping at the scale and scope of an imaginary world....But Benford and Niven have given themselves the space (conceptual and page-count) to spread out. Bowl of Heaven has room to accommodate both the thrill-ride and head-scratching sides of its sub-tradition, and I think when the second half appears, this new effort by two of the Old Masters will hold its own just fine." Locus
"First-time collaborators Niven (Ringworld series; coauthor, Beowulf's Children) and Benford (Timescape; Galactic Center series) have combined their award-winning talents for storytelling to create a series opener that should find a welcome reception from fans of the authors as well as those who love hard science and mental challenges."
SF masters Gregory Benford and Larry Niven spin a tale of alien encounters and strange technologies on an epic scale.
In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld
) and Gregory Benford (Timescape
), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths... and it's on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.
A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated — one group captured by the gigantic structures alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape — the mystery of the Bowls origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.
About the Author
GREGORY BENFORD is professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine, and lives in Irvine. Benford is a winner of the United Nations Medal for Literature, and the Nebula Award for his classic novel Timescape
LARRY NIVEN is the multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces. His Beowulfs Children, coauthored with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Chatsworth, California.