The Bowl of Heaven by Niven and Benford
- I've finished Niven and Benford's Bowl of Heaven.
The story starts maybe 100 years in the future when the Sunseeker is
launched toward the star named Glory, which is 40 light years away. The
Sunseeker is a Bussard type ramscoop that is expected to get up to about 10% light
Sunseeker is heading to Glory to colonize and also investigate anomalous
Partway thru the voyage Sunseeker comes upon a strange object - a bowl shap
ed construct partly enclosing a star. The star is making flares that move
it and presumably its gravitation tugs it along. The bowl roughly like
Ringworld, about the same size, and rotates so centrifugal force generates
gravity. The star's flares go thru a hole in the bottom of the bowl.
The Sunseeker pilots thru the hole in the bottom of the bowl, sends down
landers and the landers are captured by aliens. Predictably, some humans
escape and the aliens pursue them. About the only interesting part of the
story is that the bowl and Sunseeker were heading toward the same star.
I checked the book out of the library and was glad I hadn't spent anything
on it. It was disappointing. The plot line was predictable. The
characters didn't have much in the way of personalities. Their dialogue was
wooden. There was a lot of just sloppy writing. For example, the Captain of
the Sunseeker is bemoaning the fact that they haven't heard from Earth since
they left and a few pages later he goes down to review the latest batch of
messages from Earth. Some of the aliens have something called an
Undermind, maybe a Jungian collective unconsciousness, but at that point I didn't
On the last page we learn that there will be at least 1 sequel.
I really expected more from both Niven and Benford, since they are both
good writers in their own rights, but this collaboration was sloppy and
(I reject your reality and substitute my own)
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