Sunday, June 14, 2020


Glorious by Gregory Benford, Larry Niven
Tom Doherty Associates: 6/16/20
review copy; 400 pages
Bowl of Heaven #3

Glorious by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven is a highly recommended third installment of the hard science fiction Bowl of Heaven series.

"Audacious astronauts encounter bizarre, sometimes deadly life forms, and strange, exotic, cosmic phenomena, including miniature black holes, dense fields of interstellar plasma, powerful gravity-emitters, and spectacularly massive space-based, alien-built labyrinths. Tasked with exploring this brave, new, highly dangerous world, they must also deal with their own personal triumphs and conflicts."

This is the final installment of a hard science fiction space opera series by science fiction masters Benford and Niven. The crew of the Sunseeker was tasked with spreading humanity throughout the galaxy, but they have encountered many extraterrestrial beings along the way and added to their crew. Included in the crew is the husband-and-wife biologist team Cliff Kammash and Beth Marble. The starship is now headed toward their original destination, Glory, a planetary system with a complex artificially engineered orbital system. Benford excels at the real scientific specifics in the narrative while Niven enjoys giving the various aliens a personality. And there are many technical details and many unique aliens. 

Once you start this densely pack story, you will realize that it would behoove you to have read the first two novels in the series first so you know the background and can follow along with the action with a bit more ease.  The first novel is Bowl of Heaven and the second is Shipstar. Catching up with the background I missed slowed my reading down as did the technical details. This is an exciting addition to hard science fiction, but it will take time and concentration to read.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Macmillian.

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