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Phases of Gravity

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  901 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Richard Baedecker thinks his greatest challenge was walking on the moon, but then he meets a mysterious woman who shows him his past. Join Baedecker as he comes to grips with the son and wife he lost in his passion for space exploration, his forgotten childhood and the loss he experienced during the death-flight of the Challenger. The most difficult exploration of his life ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published April 27th 2004 by (first published 1989)
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Aug 27, 2014 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to categorize, and a long way from what I expected as I think of Simmons as an SF writer (and lots of people on Goodreads have this shelved as Science Fiction).

So it's not, in any sense, Science Fiction. 

It's a story about a man's search: for love, for friendship, for family. Along the way, he'll solve a mystery.

Richard was an astronaut. He walked on the moon. You might think that would have been the high-point of his life, but all Richard really remembers is the regimentati
Oct 04, 2015 lukk rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Я спокойно отношусь к различным проявлениям таланта любимых литературных ваятелей, да и вообще была морально готова к полной самокопаний и рефлексии книге, совсем не похожей на «Гиперион». Пару недель глазела на корешок обложки и отрешалась от любых предубеждений, способных испортить знакомство с новой стороной Симмонса.
К сожалению, все мои подготовительные действия не помогли избежать разочарования. Книга превратилась в 384-страничный эквивалент кактуса, который я дожевывала с мыслями «господи,
Nov 27, 2008 Tyler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Years after I read this book, I still think about it often. The writing, an early hint to the fantastic writings of what I feel is the best science fiction writer of the last decade (Dan Simmons), is easy to read and full of eloquence. The story may not appeal to everyone, and the delivery most definitely will not appeal to everyone...but to those who it does work for, this book will stay with you for a long time. Don't expect anything too profound or something unlike anything you've read before ...more
May 16, 2015 Metaphorosis rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-rev

3 stars

Richard Baedecker is an astronaut who once walked on the moon, but has since wandered into a grey and lonely existence of aircraft engineering sales. A visit to his directionless son's ashram in India sets Baedecker on a new path.

Phases of Gravity is SF in that it deals with an ex-astronaut and uses some technical jargon. Otherwise, it's a contemporary novel of man searching for meaning in his life, and a reason to live it. It's about a gray man with a gray existe
Phases of Gravity is a treatment of the human journey, paralleled and perused by a middle-aged fictional astronaut and his personal wanderings. It is a story of the aftermath of success, and the gaping hole of fear left by failure. Three levels of experience are interwoven in this book: that of Richard Baedecker, America's space program, and mankind in general. Author Dan Simmons asserts that his characters and therefore his readers as well, are part of "...a culture choosing between a frighteni ...more
Also, zuerst einmal muss ich eine Kritik gegenüber dem Heyne-Verlag loswerden. Dan Simmons ist hauptsächlich als sehr phantasievoller Science-Fiction Autor bekannt. Entsprechend ist die Erwartungshaltung, wenn man den Klappentext des Buches liest. Tatsächlich ist dieser Roman nicht Science-Fiction! Der Klappentext ist ein billiger Werbetrick und ich werde zukünftig meine Bücher vorsichtiger auswählen.

Jetzt aber die gute Nachricht: Den Roman “Monde” habe ich dennoch fast in einem Rutsch durchgele
Bar Tube
Oct 03, 2016 Bar Tube rated it it was ok
I give up at 20%. There are other books to enjoy instead of searching for a plot that never comes.
Toník Kuttmann
May 27, 2014 Toník Kuttmann rated it it was amazing
When I closed the book for the first time, I said to myself: "Beautiful." Dan Simmons has his place in my shelf and I must admit I am used to his narrative style. However I also must admit this book's style is not for everyone. Its jumbled chronology in fact creates pictures instead of telling a story, which is pretty much simple. However it's not the story that matters, it's the whole "finding oneself" journey throughout the decades of one man's life. Under the seemingly simple plot, the story ...more
Marco Bucci
Mar 13, 2015 Marco Bucci rated it it was amazing
I've engaged with lots of people about Dan Simmons's work and nobody ever mentions this book. Why not? It's a beautiful piece of writing, commensurate with his best works. I guess I get it though: there's no real sexy 'hook' in this book. No fantastic plot, no secrets to be unveiled; it's not really even a tenacious page-turner. But in the hands of a good writer (and that part is key), something magic happens when you strip away those things. The novel suddenly gets to breathe, and in turn, so d ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Daragh added it
Compared to a lot of his recent stuff, this is a brief novel and is one of his earliest. While the story is relatively straight-forward, it was not what I expected. A lot of philosophical navel-gazing which through the dialogue of the characters is well expressed, but somehow doesn't quite deliver. Still as an early novel, it is more than competent and shows the early signs of the excellent writer he has since become.
Feb 07, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed
A book of not a whole lot happening. What happens when a middle aged man who walked on the moon has to live life? Well this book describes 5 snippets of that life. Yet somehow it was not as boring as it sounds. It held my interest for all 310 pages. I just wish it had more details about his days at NASA or walking on the moon other than the short bit of part one, every other paragraph.

Subterranean Press 181/500
Tim Rucinski
May 27, 2012 Tim Rucinski rated it it was amazing
As a Dan Simmons fan, I read everything that he publishes, including the lousy stuff like "Flashback.". But this little book is simply wonderful. And with the space shuttle program completed, there is a sense of nostalgia that rises to the surface when read today.
Apr 01, 2013 Satai rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Český překlad je dost ohavný.
Julia Lipina
Nov 14, 2016 Julia Lipina rated it really liked it
Charming recollections of a middle-aged former astronaut about his life, live, childhood, friends and infinite beauty of the universe. I was waiting for a climax or a distinct denouement, but there was't any. None is needed though. The book is beautifully written.
Nov 22, 2016 Zhgr rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not his best.
Andrew Frolov
Mar 08, 2017 Andrew Frolov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Если вы подумали, что это научно-фантастический роман, то пусть вас не вводят в заблуждение название и обложка книги. На самом деле это чистая проза от Дэна Симмонса и довольно не плохая. Хоть "Фазам Гравитации" и не сравнится с шедеврами типа "Гипериона" , "Террора" или хотя бы "Илиона", всё же роман заслуживает прочтения. Фирменный стиль автора здесь присутствует. Повествование здесь не спешное и читать книгу нужно не торопясь. В общем книга о перерождении человека и о поиске самого себя. Не с ...more
Feb 10, 2015 Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-fiction
My father is a big Dan Simmons fan; he was the one that originally suggested that I read the Hyperion Cantos which remains one of my favorite series of books. This book, in particular, holds a special place in his heart though, and now that I've read it, it's easy to see why. Astronauts, pilots, father-son issues; it hits a lot of his soft spots.

This book is *not* sci-fi at all. Instead, it focuses on a fictional Apollo astronaut; a man who flew to and walked on the moon. Unfortunately, his lif
Alex Telander
The great Subterranean Press continues with its limited edition releases of Dan Simmons’ work, with his early bestseller, Phases of Gravity, originally published in 1989. In Simmons’ classic style that has gone on to create many a fan and reader, as well as win multiple awards, Phases of Gravity seems to be a simple, straightforward story on the surface, but as the reader plunges deeper into its depths, it becomes something much larger and meaningful.

Phases of Gravity is a change from what fans
May 25, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this at the Red Cross book sale years ago because I liked the work of Dan Simmons, and for some reason I picked it up off the shelf the other night. I got a little way in and almost stopped reading because it seemed kind of slow, but I'm so glad I continued. This is a beautifully written book about fathers and sons, US space exploration, and friendship. The story is about a middle-aged former Apollo astronaut who is basically revisiting questions about the meaning of life and of family. Th ...more
Feb 21, 2016 Magnús rated it did not like it
Það er kannski bara gott að komast að því að meistari Dan Simmons sé ekki óbrigðull. Hann er hvorki Alfa né Ómega, eins og ég var farinn að halda eftir að hafa lesið Hyperion og allan þann bálk.
Reyndar verð ég að viðurkenna að ég byrjaði á Phases of Gravity á algerlega röngum forsendum. Ég hélt að ég væri að fara að lesa eina af vísidaskáldsögum höfundar, en Simmons hefur tekið fleiri vinstribeygjur á ferli sínum en flestir aðrir. Eftir hann liggja vísinda-, hryllings-, fantasíu- og sögulegar s
Nov 03, 2012 Mike rated it did not like it
This book is pretty well plot-less and depressing. For the type A personalities that one would expect to be astronauts, the main characters sort of floats through a life where the people around him almost seem to be shadow puppets of what one would expect of that role. The main character seemed to be bored with his kids, says he loved his wife even though he seems unmoved by her dying, and when his friend dies he shows up because it seems like that's sort of expected. He has more feelings about ...more
Jul 30, 2016 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dan Simmons is known for his science fiction and horror writing. This is neither. It is, as he says in his afterword, a novel. Richard Baedecker is a former Apollo astronaut who walked on the moon. In the novel, which functions as a series of interconnected short stories, he travels to India on business, but in reality is checking in on his son who is living on an ashram following a guru. The second story finds a somewhat disillusioned Baedecker rediscovering some of his lost childhood when he i ...more
Ondřej Puczok
Podivuhodná směs sci-fi a reality, kde vlastně žádné sci-fi nanejdete. Kniha se mi v jedné fázi (kapitola Glen Oak) ani dočítat nechtěla, neboť přesně tato kapitola zdůrazňuje vše, co je na této knize špatně. Zvolené jméno "Baedecker", které je v knize v každé třetí větě opakováno je otravné (ano můj zvláštní důvod), doplněno je to strašlivou všedností, jako by se chtěl autor vymluvit ze všeho, co za svůj život nestihl a co mu uplynulo mezi prsty, či naopak, co už (se) nemůže (z)opakovat. Banáln ...more
Phil Zimmerman
Apr 24, 2012 Phil Zimmerman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Phases of Gravity is not the sort of book I usually read. In fact I never would have read it if it weren't written by Dan Simmons. I am glad that I have read it. The story is of Richard Baedecker, a former astronaut from the Apollo days. Richard has lost his way and seem to be constantly thinking back to this mission and his walk on the moon. The book is his search for the next purpose in his life. He needs something new to live for and something in the future to excite him. This journey of self ...more
Minki Pool
Mar 17, 2015 Minki Pool rated it liked it
I was a little surprised that this book turned out to be about an astronaut with a midlife crisis without featuring any actual astronauting. Perhaps I have not done my research properly, or perhaps I just trusted Dan Simmons too much, but if someone had enlightened me that this book features no science fiction other than the spiritual journey of a middle-aged man, I would probably not have bothered. As it is, the book is well written (as one expects from Simmons) and sufficiently layered. The cl ...more
May 21, 2015 Annerlee rated it liked it
"This is not the book you are looking for" if you're expecting an astronaut's reminiscences about space travel or science fiction. The book is about the aftermath: an ex-astronaut trying to cope with what's left after the missions have ended and trying to understand the death (suicide?) of a fellow astronaut.

The book wasn't what I expected and I didn't particularly enjoy the reading of it, probably because I was still hoping for something else. That said, elements of the book have stayed with m
Denise Eggleston
Mar 16, 2012 Denise Eggleston rated it liked it
Phases of Gravity is not what I was expecting from Dan Simmons; at least, having read several of his books. It is a character study of former astronaut and moonwalker, Richard Baedeker. Simmons makes abrupt and often unsignaled shifts in the protagonist's timeline, there is little plot, but more of a slice of the character's life. There were places when I was bored, and places when I was confused about the time (was it when Richard was walking on the moon or learning to swim). The writing is ele ...more
Oct 22, 2012 Shazzt added it
I found this book in an old box and only picked it up because I didn't have anything else to read. Contrary to my expectations, I enjoyed this story of a ex- Apollo astronaut's mid- life crisis (a scenario that would normally put me off) and was intrigued by the twists in the story. The ending spoiled it a bit for me - it seemed too unlikely and cliche - but it had me hooked until then. It is amazing how much the world has changed since this was written (late eighties) and how much has stayed th ...more
Jul 29, 2008 Nicole rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Richard Baedecker once walked on the moon but now seeks another direction because there must still be fulfillment to be found in life. This was my first novel by this author and it led me to trying others but he never wrote anything else in this vein.
This is a parable comparing the lost focus of space exploration with a man's coming to question what is important and how his life has been overshadowed even corrupted by one event-walking on the moon.
Aug 23, 2011 Mbreaden rated it it was ok
I did read this as per my friend's request. Middle-aged male astronaut and hero, Richard M. Baedaeker--oh, but the "M." is not really his middle initial. . .wow, sooo deep--returns to his home town (Peoria, Ill.!) and thinks about how things have changed. Middle-aged male astronaut connects with the vivacious, "long-limbed" 26-year-old Maggie Brown.

Middle-aged male writer's fantasy.
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Dan Simmons grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Master
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“In the months since Challenger, Baedecker had found it hard to believe that the country had ever flown so frequently and competently into space. The long hiatus of earthbound doubt in which nothing flew had become the normal state of things to Baedecker, mixing in his own mind with a dreary sense of heaviness, of entropy and gravity triumphant.” 2 likes
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