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3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  514 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Impending personal tragedy is dimming the brilliant light of Dr. Benjamin Knowlton's world. On the threshold of their greatest achievement, the renowned astrophysicist's beloved wife and partner -- ex-astronaut-turned astronomer -- is dying.

But something looms alarningly on the far edge of the solar system: at once a scientific find of unparalleled importance that could en
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2000)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
The science in this book is hard. Really hard. You’ll be spending at least a bit of time on-line, brushing up on astrophysics, in order to make heads or tails of the Eater of All Things. Speaking of which: is it just me or is there a lot of Lovecraftian imagery here? References to something called “the Old One”? A sentient, vastly ancient and all powerful entity arriving from the depths of space? Cryptic messages?

Eater is a pretty scary book. There is the obvious “sense of wonder” element, but
Apr 10, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
4.5 Stars

Eater by Gregory Benford is an excellent piece of hard science fiction. Benford has been an author that I have wanted to read since I was a kid, I have just never found my way. This was a very enjoyable read that worked on the merits of the writing, the science, and the deep thought provoking. It is not without faults. The characters are quite 2 dimensional in a better than three dimensional world. The characters don't really hold up to the heavy weighted science and story. Either way,
Michael Battaglia
Having read enough books where the science is more magical realism masquerading as science or it takes place so far in the future that the author isn't necessarily required to prove anything with charts, it's nice to read fiction that has a kernel of theoretical plausibility about it. Note that I didn't say that the scenario was plausible but at least the underlying science has some degree of believability about it.

That said, it's about an intelligent black hole that wants to devour the earth. L
S.A. Barton
A solid story, a fun read, a couple of really interesting concepts explored along the way.
Nov 07, 2011 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the first few chapters this book reminded me quite strongly of Carl Sagan's Contact. That being said, Eater has the same kind of hard scif, believable characters and mystifying descriptions of what might be possible in the physical world that made Sagan so popular, but perhaps a little less optimistic about human kind's first contact with extraterrestrial life. Eater brings up similar kinds of questions as to how we should and would react to first contact, but with the added pressure of the ...more
Robert Del
Sep 23, 2015 Robert Del rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great mix of International and Domestic Politics, Science Fiction (that could become Fact) and the human interest story of a woman, a former Astronaut, who is dying of Cancer. She decides her last act is to try to save the Planet from this monster Black Hole (named "Eater") that threatens to gobble it up for Lunch. It is a daunting task, since anything we throw at this thing, including Nuclear Weapons, just gets gobbled up! It IS after all - a Black Hole. And it's a Black Hole that has previou ...more
Patrick Gibson
As far as first contact novels go, this one sits on the border between a wow and a shrug. Binford is a physicist and can make the theoretical sound plausible. And amazingly convoluted for the neophyte. The Eater itself, is a small black hole with an ancient intelligent mechanism built around it. Drifting through the cosmos for billions of years, it fuels itself by consuming things it bumps into like asteroids, chunks of ice, and small planets.

When the Eater enters our solar system, the astrono
Sep 13, 2007 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hard SF Fans, black holes
Shelves: sciencefiction
Starts off slowly and deliberately, building the story and introducing the small cast of characters.

That's right, characters. An SF book with good characters, good scientist characters.

The central mystery (what is the Eater?) plays out beautifully, each revelation fascinating and drawing the reader further along, building interest and paying off big-time. Deceptively simple seeming and very effective and entertaining. Top-notch.
Feb 22, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A piece of hard science fiction with a relatively interesting and novel idea at the core is not that easy to find. This books adds to that an account of the relationships among the scientists and politicians who determine humanities response.
Stephen Nicholson
Excellent. Just the way I like my hard sci-fi. A bunch of science blokes sitting around talking about the big thing that's just arrived in the neighbourhood.
Nov 03, 2009 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re read this recently and it was great- again. A relly excellent science exploratory adventure- not though for kids.
Stephen Smith
This book had a little bit of the ole infodump with it but otherwise it was good. Intelligent blackhole threatens earth!
Jun 06, 2012 Danny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great idea, scary and thrilling at once! Will question your ideas of the existence of sentient life.
Jul 07, 2012 Dlotempio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fine sci-fi book with great premise and good characters.
Rich Meyer
Jan 31, 2016 Rich Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Enjoyable hard sci-fi read from the almost-always reliable Benford, I read this thinking that this was the kind of novel that would've made a better Interstellar, but then thought even fewer people would understand it.

The story was just on the edge of being Lem-quality fiction, as the Earth is met with an enemy in the form of an intelligent black hole, but unlike a Lem story, no real literary or psychological leaps are made; it is, however, a good and solid science fiction story that would make
Mar 19, 2009 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic hard SF book.
Dans cette histoire, on suit les aventures de quelques astronomes et autres astrophysiciens dans leur premier contact avec un extra-terresrte, qui se présente sous la forme d'un trou noir intelligent (bon, les détails scientifiques sont beaucoup plus intéressants, mais ça peut se résumer "avec les mains" - comme disait mon prof d'électro-technique - à ça). Et cet extra-terrestre, qui est plus vieux que notre système solaire, souhaite "simplement" prélever les esprits de dizaines de milliers de n ...more
Paul Steiner
Jul 16, 2016 Paul Steiner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting ideas in terms of physics (as might be expected given the author's 'day job'. I enjoyed the book overall but the characters were rather improbable and one-dimensional which rather detracted from the science.
Easy read, but pretty predictable. Good background on the science and I liked the conflict between scientists. In a word, "co-opertition"
Dec 19, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This extremely creepy book is the antithesis of Contact. What happens when something truly alien arrives that can't be defined by human emotion? The interesting bit is that we only see the events through the eyes of the astronomers working to understand this thing, and as Benford points out in the afterword, due to the nature of our work, Astronomers tend to have a perspective on how small and finite we are compared to the Universe that shapes us a bit differently. Benford does an excellent job ...more
Aug 14, 2013 JDK1962 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fan of Benford's near future science fiction (such as the brilliant Timescape), more so than his more standard sci-fi fare. This was a fun read, though there were certain aspects of it I had a hard time with. And while I agree with him that politicians are generally idiots (especially when it comes to science), Benford laid it on a bit thick here, never missing an opportunity to get in a slam...a lighter touch might have been more effective.

Enjoyed the shifting relationship between Benjami
May 26, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard science fiction with a great idea, but lackluster characters/characterization and a somewhat awkward style.

If somehow a black hole could move itself around by gobbling up and ejecting mass through it's magnetic fields (which also provide it with intelligence), and it wanted to be worshipped by all life (including humans), what would happen? Interesting enough.
Apr 27, 2009 Tina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tried-to-read
Usually Benford's works capture me and don't let go. However, this book lost me about halfway through. I was not invested in the characters, and the plot hit several lulls about halfway through. He could have shaved off about half this book and possibly held my interest. I stopped reading it halfway through and just skimmed the last few chapters for closure.
Bill Angel
The discussion of the science is quite interesting, as is the depiction of the politics and personality clashes in the scientific community. But I am halfway through the book and am finding this part of the story excessively morbid!
Jan 28, 2011 barry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
well. abandoned halfway through actually.
Sep 26, 2012 Howard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Steve marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2016
Richb rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2016
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Gregory Benford is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.

As a science fiction author, Benford is best known for the Galactic Center Saga novels, beginning with In the Ocean of Night (1977). This series postulates a galaxy in which sentient organic life is in constant warfare wit
More about Gregory Benford...

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