A Ship of the Law travels the infinite enormity of space, carrying eighty-two young people: fighters, strategists, scientists, the children. They work with sophisticated non-human technologies that need new thinking to comprehend them. They are cut off forever from the people they left behind. Denied information, they live within a complex system that is both obedient and beyond their control. They are frightened. And they are making war against entities whose technologies are so advanced, so vast, as to dwarf them, against something whose psychology is ultimately, unknowably alien.
Topics: Robots, War, Space Travel, Aliens, Space, Dystopia, Transhumanism, Adventurous, Dark, Futuristic, Far Future, Speculative Fiction, Futurism, Series, and Trilogy
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Not bad in the end but nothing like Forge of God, of which this book is a sequel. Two totally different and bearly related novels. Good science, good story if slightly long winded, and annoying characters.more
My reactions to reading this book in 1992. Spoilers follow.I found this, a sequel to Bear’s very enjoyable – and different – Forge of God, to be surprisingly slow going, tedious. The book seemed to move slowly yet not provide much of the nitty-gritty detail of shipboard life on the Dawn Treader. Much of the technology was of the superscience variety (the ladders, the fields, the ship which could – presumbably through a form of nanotechnology – reorganize its mass and shape) and, not having reread the Forge of God, the weapons were little more than names since their function was little described. In fact, through a long book, Bear’s style was altogether too sketchy for me. I did like isolated elements (the struggle between flaky prophet Rosa and Hans was interesting and reminded me of the mediaeval struggle between Church and State; ruthless, intuitively correct, obsessive, man-of-action Hans was an interesting portrait of an effective but tyrannical, deceitful leader as opposed to the fair-minded but somewhat ineffective Martin; I liked the anti-matter converting trap of the Killers and their elaborate system; the information theory enabling manipulation matter; the elaborate system of the Killers; I even liked the Brothers. But the novel as a whole never engaged my feelings. I really didn’t feel the characters pain and only some of their doubts on their mission of vengeance (I certainly never thought the act of vengeance was wrong – only an uncertainity as to the rightful targets of it). I thought Bear could have made a much more powerful statement and ending if he left it in the air as to the Killer presence in the destroyed system (and I’m usually not in favor of ambiguous endings) rather than conclusively showing that the system should have been destroyed.more
A sequel to 'The forge of God', wherein the Earth is destroyed by alien von Neumann machines, but another, benevolent group of aliens rescue a comparative handful of humans to perpetuate the species and the culture. They have a Law - races that destroy other races should themselves be destroyed - and they select a group of children of the survivors to crew a Ship of the Law to go forth, find the perpetrators of the murder of Earth, and destroy them in vengeance.The physics of relatavistic flight and the single-mindedness of the mission makes for a rather claustrophobic novel. The children, now out of adolescence, form their own society and the outcome is described as if they are the Lost Boys (and Wendies) of Peter Pan. Their society evolves under the watchfulness of alien robots who do not judge, or direct; the outcome is reminiscent of 'Lord of the Flies'.They find intelligences who may - or may not - have been responsible for the murder of Earth; but can they be judged on the actions of their ancestors? They also meet other Ships of the Law, with other races on board, and they evolve their own answers to questions of law, judgement and genocide.more
Earth is dead, reduced to rocks and dust by a horde of marauding alien machine intelligences. A few thousand Earthlings have been saved by the Benefactors, themselves machine intelligences who have helped the survivors re-establish themselves on Mars. That story was told in Greg Bear’s 1987 novel, The Forge of God.Now, in Anvil of Stars, the sequel to Forge, three hundred years have gone by, and the Benefactors have outfitted 80 or so Earth children with a Ship of the Law capable of exacting revenge on the killer machines that destroyed their home. Three hundred years have gone by in a literal blink of the eye, as the children have been asleep, traveling at 99 percent of the speed of light. They begin training for what lies ahead of them: the willful destruction of an entire solar system full of intelligent beings.This tightly plotted novel stands alone as a highly imaginative consideration of genocide. Enacting the Law of revenge is one thing; making sure you’ve got the true perpetrators of Earth’s destruction is another. Hundreds of years have passed—what if the killer machines and their makers have changed their ways?The pleasures of this novel lie in Bear’s ability to weave together the action and pacing of a thriller with the philosophical puzzle of blame and the sociological complexities of a group of kids tutored by aliens so technologically advanced humans are simple animals by comparison. Simple animals, perhaps, but Bear always celebrates the ability of the human mind to learn and adapt. The alien Benefactors teach the human children a method of mathematical analysis called momerath, a kinetic visualization technique that enables them to calculate orbits in complex systems and develop weapons of unimaginable power.A master of science fiction on an epic scale, Anvil of Stars has Bear operating on full imaginative power. Add to that the cultural relevance of the novel’s central themes – justice and genocide – and you’ve got a thriller as exciting and worthwhile today as when it was originally published in 1992.Originally published on Curled Up with a Good Book.more
Anvil of Stars is the sequel to The Forge of God. In Anvil, a group of 80 teenagers have been plucked from the survivors of earth’s destruction and tasked with hunting down and eliminating the creators of the robots that destroyed earth. They are guided by robot overlords who train them for the task but otherwise don’t interfere. The book starts sort of slowly, with the first third or so being a “Lord of the Flies” like examination of how these kids would self organize and structure their society. The 2nd half of the book is much better IMO, and when they meet up with another sentient alien species also hunting the killers it becomes difficult to stop reading, as evidenced my finishing the book at 2 AM last night. The 2nd half also becomes a bit of a morality play as the kids wrestle with the decision to potentially kill trillions of innocent life forms that are shielding the killers. You don’t have to read Forge first to enjoy this book, but I recommend it. Forge was so great that no sequel would stand up, and that is sort of the case here. Anvil is fine book and if you are a sci-fi fan you’ll enjoy it. Just be warned that you may have to force yourself to slug through the first third or so, but the payoff is worth it.more
Just before the Earth was destroyed by a black hole sent by aliens, a ship full of human children was sent out to get revenge. Once out in the universe, they face many challenges, not the least of which is how, and why to continue the mission. Good stuff!more
For a time Greg Bear was THE name for hard sf that challenged readers with big ideas. This sequel to what was an absorbing 'end of the world' novel, 'Forge of God' is a perfect example of the author's strengths. Tasked with avenging Earth's destruction, a group of surviving Earth children set forth on a warship provided and run by the robot intelligences that saved humanity in the first place. But Earth itself was destroyed by automated weapons launched thousands of years ago. Where did they come from? And is visiting vengeance on the descendants of the civilization that built them so long ago truly justice? And by committing themselves to the task of vengeance, the humans are forever cutting themselves off from the humanity they knew. What then is their mission worth? The ambiguities in what seems like a straight-forward quest for revenge are endless and its these ambiguities that make this an outstanding novel of speculative fiction.more
Greg Bear and i have a teensy bit of a troubled relationship. i read him for ideas, so it's unfair to fault him on the entertainment end, but sometimes i just do. his ideas aren't always translated into engaging characters and/or story. but this one held my interest all the way through. bit stiff, but worth the read. a study of vengeance as a measure of humanity. i liked my ending better, though.*g*more
I agree with cmoore's comments regarding this book. It was disappointing copmpared with the 'Forge' and the 'Ender's Game'bit was not nearly as good as Orson Scott Card's offering.more
Vengeance for berserker robots. It's awesome on questions of big-scale intercivilizational war: berserker robots vs. hiding out, and all the rest. The people stuff, not so much.more
2/5. This sequel to Forge of God doesn't come close to matching the quality of the first. Uninspiring and a drag - without the Earth to mourn, all you've got is human infighting and power politics, at which point, you're in Ender's Game territory, only harder edged.more
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