The Black Cloud

  • by Fred Hoyle
  • Narrated by Jack Klaff, Richard Dawkins (Introduction)
  • 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Richard Dawkins Recommends this science-fiction classic, in which an immense cloud of gas enters the solar system, blocks the sun, and threatens to wipe out most of life on Earth. In Britain, a team of scientists gathers at a secret location to deal with the crisis. But as the months pass, what they learn will challenge everything they believe about the nature of life and the universe.BONUS AUDIO: In an exclusive introduction, evolutionary biologist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins explains why he considers The Black Cloud, written by the late astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, to be "one of the greatest works of science fiction ever written".


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Skip the intro!

The story is relatively straightforward with few reveals or surprises, except that is for the introduction which is one giant spoiler. Creationists will be happy to leap on this as proof that Dawkins is no genius although perhaps the producers should also share the blame they place it inside chapter one making it harder to skip. Still it would make a reasonable epilogue.
The story holds up well despite showing its origins in the late 50s. It's simple straightforward entertainment made more interesting by a generous lacing of real science.
I was thoroughly entertained but would have been much less so if I'd listened to Mr Dawkins.
Jack Klaff does a good job of the narration which requires a broad array of accents and I attribute its stiffness to the nature on 1950s characters rather than any flaw of Klaff's.
This is genuinely classic SF and worth a listen.
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- D. Carver

Academic and dull

What disappointed you about The Black Cloud?

To be honest I found this book a complete let down. Generally a very slow story, overly academic writing filled with tedious, un-engaging characters. I had heard good things about it and was looking forward to a really good plot with strong scientific roots. Unfortunately the science smothered the story.

What was most disappointing about Fred Hoyle’s story?

I've enjoyed a number of other sci-fi titles from around this period, but the lack of humanity in the characters left me cold. Firmly set in the world of academia, it felt very narrow, one dimensional.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It's difficult to be sure how much the story is to blame when I found the narrating not to my taste either. The characters voices were too much, and the pace just too slow.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The premise was good. The science was good too, but it just overwhelmed everything. I got so bored by it I couldn't even finish it. By the time I gave up everyone seemed doomed, and to be honest I really wasn't that bothered it they lived or died!

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- Rich Cassidy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 29-01-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios