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Customer Reviews for

Firstborn

Average Rating 3.5
( 39 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2007

    Firstborn is not Clarke at his best but still worthwhile

    Firstborn is the concluding volume in Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter¿s Time Odyssey trilogy. The preceding two books in this science-fiction series are Time¿s Eye '2003' and Sunstorm '2005'. Each of the preceding novels was vivid, innovative, and compelling. I cannot say the same thing about Firstborn. The final installment is a disappointing capstone. (PP) Without spoiling the story, Firstborn leaves us with as many questions as it answers. It lacks finality. Readers are left wanting more. Yet there is nothing more for Clarke and Baxter to give, after they seem to write themselves into a corner. (PP) The concluding chapters of the book are increasingly ambiguous. Clarke and Baxter seem distracted by their own storyline. It becomes ever more complex as Firstborn unravels. As the end nears, Firstborn becomes tenuous and unconvincing. (PP) This is in contrast to most of Clarke¿s writing over the past 60 years. I credit Clarke and author Robert Heinlein '1907¿1988' as being the best at weaving science, engineering, physics, and futurism into their works of science fiction. Unfortunately, in Firstborn, the concepts Baxter and Clarke select ¿ particularly several concepts of theoretical physics ¿ are simply unrealistic. To the extent that any of it is credible, the writers fail to properly explain core principals. Unlike Clarke and Baxter¿s former works, the technology in Firstborn does not buttress the narrative. It detracts from it. (PP) I concede that there is lengthy discussion in the book of space elevators and anti-matter rocket motors. As to the first, it is a rehash of a concept Clarke wrote about 25 years ago in The Fountains of Paradise '1979'. As to the second ¿ anti-matter rockets ¿ the discussion of this technology is pedestrian and under-developed. Clarke and Baxter seem to know as much/little about it as some sophisticated readers know. It makes the technological application and discussion in Firstborn seem far-fetched and contrived. (PP) Character development in Firstborn is also disappointing. There are several strong female characters. We met some of them before in Sunstorm and Time¿s Eye. In Firstborn, however, they are not easy to warm up to. Their demeanors, amid massive catastrophes and suffering, are measured and stiff. Certain male protagonists exhibit the opposite problem: they are caricatures and impossible to identify with. Many lesser characters are unmemorable. This is despite excellent creative opportunities which could have been leveraged in the ¿Mir¿ universe. (PP) The writing in Firstborn simply does not compare with Clarke¿s past work. In other books, he more easily and vividly communicated joy, pain, courage, and suffering. He was at his best, for example, in Songs of Distant Earth '1986' and Childhood¿s End '1953', which better explore love, friendship, family and a range of human emotions in the context of a space-faring society. Firstborn falls far short of his own standards. (PP) Please do not let this review dissuade you from reading other Arthur C. Clarke novels. He is one of my favorite writers of all time. It is in fact difficult for me to write this less-than-favorable review of Firstborn. Clarke ties Heinlein in my mind for being the best science fiction writer in history. Significantly, Clarke¿s vision, including early work on geostationary satellites, transcends science fiction. He is legitimately celebrated for contributions to ¿science fact.¿ It is therefore not my opinion that Firstborn is a poorly-written book it is only lacking when compared to Clarke 'and Baxter¿s' prior works. (PP) J. Christopher Robbins Aviation & Space Law Department Robbins Equitas, P.A.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Jaygoy locked out..ur turn for

    Control npw

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Unfinished

    This was an interesting story.but it really needs another book to wrap up the loose ends. I can appreciate an open ended story as much as anyone, but this does not feel open ended. It just feels unfinished. I was very dissapointed. Felt like someone tore out the last page.

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  • Posted March 17, 2009

    Disappointing--a big letdown

    As a lifetime Clarke fan, I expected this trilogy to be awfully good--after all, the core idea was interesting. But Book I was only so-so; it can't really stand as a separate book, and has some storylines leading nowhere. Book II starts solving some of the riddles, getting better--and Book III was supposed to wrap it all up nice 'n good. Only it doesn't. Almost all of the loose ends from Book I remain loose, plus there are some new ones that make you want to cry. Not a book I'll probably reread like all those good Clarke classics I learned to love as a kid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2008

    Inconclusive

    The first book in this series was interesting and kept my attention. The second was tedious at first, picked up in the middle and then got lost in the author's endless scientific hypotheses, bits of religion and bits of politics. The third book was better than the second, but there was still too much science and not enough story line. When I finished it, I felt there should have been a lot more, particularly in the area of character development.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exhilarating science fiction thriller

    The Firstborn previously attacked the earth with a solar flare this essence refuses to allow any sentient race to live that might have the potential one day to be an adversarial rival. The Earth surprised the Firstborn by surviving the assault as no one endures an attack by this super being. The Firstborn changes tactics by sending the Q-bomb from deep space towards Earth. When efforts to deflect the meteor like weapon fails, dissension on and off the planet slows down reactions as differing groups push forth an agenda. The Spacers on Mars and Mir are already cutting ties with the mother planet they want nothing to do with the confrontation with Firstborn as they feel they can endure the destruction of the Earth. Many of those living on Earth want to take the war to the Firstborn, but are not sure how. Meanwhile defrosted Bisesa Dutt has returned to the living after fifteen years of being cryogenically frozen and with her daughter Myra discover the government wants them. With the help of Spacer Alexei they escape and soon meet scientists studying the Eye, an artifact of the Firstborn, in hopes of finding a way to counter the invincible. --- The third Time Odyssey tale is an exhilarating science fiction thriller that targets fans who read the previous stories (see SUNSTORM and TIME¿S EYE). Newcomers will be confused (and some of us old timers too) by the world hopping between Mir, Mars, and Earth. The key to the tale is that life on Mars, Mir, future earth, and to a much lesser degree Venus seem genuine. Those living on the different orbs behave as expected as things that seem different to a reader is treated as normal even the time bending of people and species from different earth eras living in fragile co-existence. Fans who appreciate a strong dose of quantum physics will enjoy this fine entry although a cliffhanger leaves room for another novel in this entertaining saga and we still wait for that encounter of the first kind with Firstborn. --- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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