Prescient and scientifically accurate, Heart of the Comet is known as one of the great hard SF novels of the 1980s. First published in 1986, it tells the story of an ambitious manned mission to visit Halley's Comet, alter its orbit, and mine it for resources. But all too soon, native cells - that might once have brought life to Earth - begin colonizing the colonists. As factions battle over the comet's future - and that of Earth - only love, courage, and ingenuity can avert disaster and spark a new human destiny.
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By William Tanksley, Jr. on 06-08-18
Challenging hard sci-fi with some characterization
I personally enjoyed listening to this, as a repeat of a very long ago reading.
This book falls into the sometimes uncomfortable genre of "hard sci-fi", meaning that it attempts to seriously engage engineering and science while also telling its story. As such, the listener needs to expect a certain amount of explanation meshed in with the story as the author justifies why the characters expect their solutions to work. This work manages to weave that genre-necessary explanation in reasonably well, but if you're not interested in science it's recommended you find a different genre. I can't take a star off for having explanations given the genre, and I felt it was handled at about an average level.
It is typical for hard sci-fi to have somewhat wooden characters, and unfortunately I had to take a star off for that problem. The characters do just well enough to make their development engaging, and there's an ongoing element of real danger which helps in that. As such, it's above what I'd consider the standard for the genre, but that is unfortunately not a high standard.
Finally, the story itself was helped along a bit too conveniently not only by the reasonable use of technology to overcome problems (and that's not just a trope; it's what engineers are supposed to do), but also by an all-too-convenient accident which happened at least twice -- and which, of course, was part of the scientific lesson the authors intend to teach. It nonetheless served to get me thinking about the symbiosis theory of the origin of complex life, so it served its purpose.
For followup reading, for those interested in the facts of the matter, I'd highly recommend "The Vital Question" by Nick Lane.
By Amazon Customer on 09-01-18
Sci Fi at its best!
An epic story about mankind, artificial intelligence, and our future evolution. Great writing, and very well performed!