Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dragon's Egg” as Want to Read:
Dragon's Egg
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dragon's Egg (Cheela #1)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  4,518 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
"Forward's book is a knockout. In science fiction there is only a handful of books that stretch the mind--and this is one of them"--Arthur C. Clarke

From the Paperback edition.
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 16th 2011 by Del Rey (first published May 1980)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dragon's Egg, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Mike Cooper
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 18, 2016 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

Whose afraid of the 'science' part of the science-fiction equation? If you liked "The Martian" for the way Andy Weir communicates his enthusiasm for technology and science, get ready to (re)discover a hardcore classic of the genre. How hard? you might ask.

Although many times hotter than the Sun, the neutron star was not a hot ball of gas. Instead, the 67-billion-gee gravity field of the star had compressed its blazing matter into a solid ball with a thick crust of close-packed, neutron-ri
Oct 14, 2007 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any lover of pure, excellent SF
Dragon's Egg has nothing to do with dragons -- the dragon's egg is a neutron star being visited by humans who are suspending themselves in a stationary orbit by means of a propulsion laser.

The laser light falls to and illuminates a small portion of the surface of the star. As it happens, the surface of the star has a "crust" of highly degenerate nuclear material, at densities and pressures that enable exotic nucleochemistry to occur -- nuclei with extended shape and structure that are "weakly" b
Sep 09, 2012 Tfitoby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favourites
Once in a while, a novel appears that has everything unique to science fiction - a brilliant new idea, honest extrapolation of real science, a gripping story with fascinating alien characters, and the indefinable but essential sense of wonder. Not my words, an unattributed quote on the back on my paperback, but between that and Arthur C. Clarke's pull quote on the front, "Forward's book is a knockout. In science fiction there is only a handful of books that stretch the mind - and this is one of ...more
Liz Janet
Aug 23, 2014 Liz Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all of the greatest science-fiction books written at the time of this novel, this one seems to be one that is not as popular, or as read as it should be. It is a novel that explores so much more than many popular series.
Now that that is out of the way let us get something else out of the way too, this book is neither about eggs, nor is it about dragons, it is about a scientific discovery of a race called the cheela who live in a neutron star, the surface gravity it has, leads for them to be
Lucie Simone
Mar 06, 2011 Lucie Simone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't read much Sci-fi, but my brother bought me this book for my birthday, so I gave it a go. Aside from the setting being on a distant star and the main characters being tiny alien creatures, this book is really a study about the evolution of a species and its society. I was rapt by the developments these beings made as they progressed through their ultra short lifespans, creating religions, laws, philosophies and superstitions. A fascinating read!
Mar 02, 2011 Jon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Beyond Reality March 2011 SciFi Selection
Nov 05, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fascinating, serious consideration of what life would be like on a neutron star. Given the gravity in such an environment turns everything into degenerate matter, molecules complex enough to support biology form by atomic nuclei sharing neutrons rather than electrons. Furthermore, the author postulates that in this high energy/density environment the creatures that have evolved here have a much higher rate of metabolism. One million times ours in fact - so that we get to see in ju ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Philipp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Humankind discovers a close neutron star where extreme gravity rules, and intelligent (small) life has developed. Since the star spins so fast, "time" on the star progresses faster for the lifeforms - about 15 human minutes are one of their generation. A large part of the book focuses on the developments on the planet, and how the Cheela develop from stone age-like warriors to space-travellers surpassing humans.

This is hard SF with a focus on physics, and by hard I mean hard to the point of unr
Alright, here's the basic gist: intelligent life lives on a planet that rotates five times per second. Because of the speed of rotation, gravity is very strong, and the life forms come out very unusual. Meanwhile, we Earthlings have discovered this asteroid, and send a research team to check it out.

The thing is, not only do these creatures live on a quickly spinning planet, they LIVE faster than we do. They think faster, age faster, and develop faster. For each Earthling 15 minute period, a gen
This is "hard" science fiction, my favorite kind.
The plot is driven by believable, yet imaginative, consequences of physical laws.
What's important to me in an SF novel is that things make sense.
I love it when I get the feeling that the story is how it has to be.
This book is a perfect example.
Astrophysics sets the scene, and the characters do the discovering along side the reader.
It's so much fun!
Jan 19, 2010 Elgin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This book really blew me away. It is one of the most imaginative and amazing stories I have read. Furthermore, Forward is a scientist with JPL so his science in the story is right on. His follow up, Star Quake was also pretty good, but nothing he wrote after that did much for me.
May 26, 2015 Adrian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand, here we've got an extremely interesting high-concept sci-fi story — quite "hard" sci-fi up until they get so advanced as to be incomprehensible — written by a real physicist and aerospace engineer.

On the other hand … well, it also reads like it was written by a physicist, and not by an author. Every sentence is short and simple (unless it's detailing a scientific concept), to the point where I felt the need to check to make sure this wasn't meant to be a book for young children.
Jan 26, 2014 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a surprisingly good novel of hard science fiction. VERY hard science fiction. The author described it as "a textbook on neutron star physics disguised as a novel." That is, indeed, what it feels like sometimes. An important difference, however, is that large parts of the book are taken up in the adventures of the cheela (aliens) who mark important accomplishments along the path of the cheela into contact with humans. There are many long chapters dealing with battles between cheela clans, ...more
Pablo Flores
May 23, 2014 Pablo Flores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They say this book is a classic of the hard science fiction genre, and indeed it deserves that title. The author himself called it “a textbook on neutron star physics disguised as a novel”; I'd say it's more like the novelization of a species' history of science and technology. It could be viewed also as a series of stories, actually, since the characters that matter change all the time. The human characters are typically (and unabashedly) made of cardboard; the crew of the first-encounter ship ...more
Nov 26, 2015 ATreads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some part of my conscience is scolding me for giving this one 4 stars, but I have to do it. At times, the scientific jargon is mind-numbing. And as a Christian, I'm pretty sure I don't agree with Forward's implied view of religion in general.

But it's an awesome premise that sustained my attention nonetheless. It takes some patience to get through the first 50 pages or so...There are a few conversations and narrations that leave you pretty certain they are not speaking English. The electromagneti
Jun 07, 2016 Andreas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sehr schöner recht kompakter Roman. Eine bestechende Idee, gut ausgeführt. Wie in so vielen Scifi-Roman hätte mir auch hier ein bisschen mehr Atmosphäre und Emotionen gefallen. Andererseits passt keine Charakter-Story zu diesem Plot. Das ist jetzt Nörgeln auf hohem Niveau. Das Büchlein bekommt meine Empfehlung.
Jun 10, 2016 Liontinx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Realmente interesante. A veces no me enteraba cuando se ponía a explicar cosas sobre la física de la estrella de neutrones y tal, por desgracia, y no es un libro que enganche por estar lleno de acción o una trama emocionante. Es simplemente curioso ver como se va desarrollando la vida y la sociedad en la estrella.
Richard Laxton
Feb 24, 2013 Richard Laxton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read that has held up well over the years.

While the cultural development of the Cheela seemed to be a little anthropomorphic, the book serves to provide a interesting take on the first contact scenario.
Ray Gardener
Mar 18, 2017 Ray Gardener rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Now this book is an absolute mind expander. Forward takes his scientific credentials and puts them into wonderful service writing a tale almost beyond imagining. When I first read it, I had to put it down now and then because it's just so... out there. And the best part is, it could happen, it really could. If you've seen the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye" where the crew encounters a planet where time passes thousands of times faster, you owe it to yourself to read Dragon's Egg; Fo ...more
Adam Miller
Jan 20, 2017 Adam Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inventive and interesting with such a hard sci if character it feels real. Highly recommend!
David Lyons
Decent slice of Sci-fi that went over my head on occasion due to the physics involved but the central story is mostly solid. Had some issues with how the story wrapped up and effectivley skipped entire periods for one of the main players but overall it's well written and enjoyable. Am happy enough with the amount of time I spent in this universe but am not planning on picking up the sequel.
Kirsten Zirngibl
Aug 07, 2014 Kirsten Zirngibl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a fascinating piece of hard-SF, featuring some of the most scientifically exotic alien life I've encountered so far. It manages to lay out an engaging neutron star world, usually by showing rather than telling in a tour de force of world building. Even when it describes high physics, it doesn't fall prey to explaining theories as if in a textbook. And the science itself is a big part of the excitement!

It was a little slow to start (discovery of the neutron star), but I think the transit
Sep 19, 2015 Meikoyim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been a fun journey into hard science fiction.

At times it read more like a textbook than a story. But once I got over the science-y bits and focused on the storyline it was a lot easier to let the story just flow on its own.

This was a recommendation by my boyfriend. My kindle had died before my trip and whilst I had a book I was bringing to another friend on the journey to Australia, I was dreading the return flight journey back home because I'd hate to buy a random overpriced paperback
Stephen Bennett
Dec 25, 2014 Stephen Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like SciFi that has a firm foundation in real science, and Forward delivers this in spades with his book about life that evolves on the surface of a Neutron star. Humanity stumbles on the nearly invisible stellar remnant as it passes near earth, and we send an expedition to study the star before it flies past us.

The evolving intelligent life lives at roughly a million times our rate, and exists and thrives in an environment literally too crushing for us to imagine. We follow these creatures f
Feb 21, 2017 Leandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't read much Sci-fi, but my brother bought me this book for my birthday, so I gave it a go. Aside from the setting being on a distant star and the main characters being tiny alien creatures, this book is really a study about the evolution of a species and its society.
Jared Millet
Oh that was painful, but I finished it for my book club, and for science. And make no mistake: the science in this book is mind-bendingly excellent. Robert L. Forward's ideas (life on a neutron star, contact between cultures who exist at different time-scales, etc) are the kind of top-notch speculation that makes science fiction great.

But his writing is dreadful beyond belief.

I have never come across a writer in such desperate need of a co-author. Seriously, this book reads as if it were written
Feb 14, 2017 Aaron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Great idea. Poor execution.
Aug 28, 2012 Víctor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Es el primer libro que leo de ciencia-ficción dura (tras mi fallido intento de leer "Mundo Anillo" de Larry Niven) y tengo que decir que me ha quedado muy claro de que se trata esta "hard sci-fi". Pues creo que no me equivoco al afirmar que este libro, escrito por el "científico de fama mundial en el campo de la astronomía" Robert L. Forward, es uno de los mejores ejemplos de este subgénero.

Como tal, hay que reconocer que se trata de una obra muy elaborada a nivel científico. Los geeks interesad
Brian Maicke
While I am a fan of science fiction, hard SF usually leaves me wanting. Good science is great, but a good story is much more important to me than if the author got the principles of orbital mechanics correct. Thankfully this book has both. The book details the finding of intelligent life on a neutron star that is passing through our solar system.

It starts off a little bit slow for my taste, but once you are in the meat of the story, it moves a long at a good clip. It follows both the human astro
Feb 25, 2009 Conspiracychic rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you don't mind science bludgeoned over your head
I think I have to justify my three stars for this story (I would give it 3 and 3/4 if I could). The fault lies in me, not the story, but I have to be honest about my opinion. As a hard sci-fi novel, Dragon's Egg has a lot of technical terminology regarding physics on and around a neutron star. Now, I was prepared for science in a hard sci-fi novel, but at times it reads like a long-winded thesis rather than a story, and that sort of killed the squidge of enjoyment that would have bumped it to fo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
  • Incandescence
  • Ring (Xeelee Sequence, #4)
  • Neutron Star (Known Space)
  • The Peace War (Across Realtime, #1)
  • Inherit the Stars (Giants, #1)
  • In the Country of the Blind
  • The Engines of God (The Academy, #1)
  • Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (Heechee Saga, #2)
  • Heart of the Comet
  • Cities in Flight (Cities in Flight, #1-4)
  • The Boat of a Million Years
  • The Color of Distance
  • Berserker (Berserker, #1)
  • Star Surgeon (Sector General, #2)
  • In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center, #1)
Robert Lull Forward, commonly known as Robert L. Forward, (August 15, 1932 - September 21, 2002) was an American physicist and science fiction writer. His fiction is noted for its scientific credibility, and uses many ideas developed during his work as an aerospace engineer.

More about Robert L. Forward...

Other Books in the Series

Cheela (2 books)
  • Starquake

Share This Book

“After a short flurry of national and international concern over the "death of the Sun," the human race settled down to solving the insoluble problem in the best way that they knew - they ignored it and hoped it would go away.” 11 likes
“His eyes widened and he rapidly scanned page after page. There were many photographs, each followed by detailed diagrams of the internal structure of the various neutron stars. They ranged the gamut from very dense stars that were almost black holes to large bloated neutron stars that had a neutron core and a white-dwarf-star exterior. Some of the names were unfamiliar, but others, like the Vela pulsar and the Crab Nebula pulsar, were neutron stars known to the humans. “But the Crab Nebula pulsar is over 3000 light-years away!” Pierre exclaimed to himself. “They would have had to travel faster than the speed of light to have gone there to take those photographs in the past eight hours!” A quick search through the index found the answer. FASTER-THAN-LIGHT PROPULSION—THE CRYPTO-KEY TO THIS SECTION IS ENGRAVED ON A PYRAMID ON THE THIRD MOON OF THE SECOND PLANET OF EPSILON ERIDANI.” 0 likes
More quotes…