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3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,394 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Macroscope Throughout history, man has been searching for better ways to gather information about his universe. But although they may have longed for it, not even the most brilliant minds could conceive of a device as infinitely powerful or as immeasurably precise as the macroscope, until the twenty-first century. By analyzing information carried on macrons, this unbelieva ...more
Paperback, 428 pages
Published November 30th 2003 by Mundania Press LLC (first published 1969)
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Best Hugo Award Winners and Nominees
61st out of 146 books — 115 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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In case my 5 star rating is insufficient to persuade you to try this book, I prepared the following comparison scale to chart the exact amount of awesomeness contained in the story. Photobucket

5.0 Stars. I think we all have those books that we absolutely love that just never seem to get the attention that we are feel deep down in our giblets they deserve. I call these my literary babies. Well this is one of my babies**.

** I have previously reviewed two others Liege-Killer and Heroes Die which I am mentio
Feb 11, 2013 Manny rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
There's this trope you come across every now and then in science-fiction books which annoys the hell out of anyone who's actually interested in language. You have some supergenius type who's supposed to know everything, and the way the author chooses to show you how clever they are is to have them demonstrate their knowledge of a word in some more or less obscure language.

There was a fine example in Babel-17, which I reread last month. Rydra Wong, the gorgeous supergenius poet and linguist, has
Dec 22, 2008 Galen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here is a review that I posted on in Dec. 2004:

"I am rereading this book after a number of years, having first read it some time in the mid 1970's. Again I find that it is one of those books that changes how one thinks about things, and a work that can be appreciated on multiple levels.

First, it can change one's view of what's possible within the genre of science fiction. It impressively weaves a tapestry from such diverse threads as music, mathematics, classic American literature, ph
Jan 12, 2009 Zach rated it did not like it
One of the worst science fiction books I've ever read. Hard to follow, clumsy language, ridiculous dialogue, long and interminably boring tangents into astrology... there isn't much to like here. The central mystery of the book was just compelling enough to get through to the end, but the revelation wasn't all that satisfying and the denouement was very bland.
Sachin Kailaje
Jan 11, 2015 Sachin Kailaje rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
[Summary review]:

What I liked about it:
-- The ever-green topic of Earth contacting ET civilizations and the implications, thereof! This novel provides some amount of elaboration on the different forms & levels that inter-civilizational communication and exchange might take, based on the maturity of those civilizations.

-- The timelessness of the novel. Written in circa 1970, hardly any of it seems dated even today, if you discount some fairly recent events such as our discovery of exo-planet
Greg Frederick
Aug 19, 2014 Greg Frederick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was told that Piers Anthony writes silly sci-fi, which I've never read before. Then I ran into a couple of his works at a thrift store and thought I'd give them a try. This is the first one I started reading, and boy was it surprising! This is not a silly book, and ended up becoming one of my all-time favorite sci-fi reads. Macroscope is so creative, well spun, and perfectly paced that once the ball got rolling it was really hard to put it down.

So apparently Piers Anthony deserves some serious
Jan 17, 2015 Lorelei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
More than thirty years after I first read this book, the exposition and environmental lectures at the beginning are a bit dull, but otherwise it is just as wonderful as when I first read it. So much for people who claim that you can't write technology-based sf anymore - you just need to have enough imagination to come up with something new and different.
Feb 23, 2014 MissingNorth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have
Loose and rambling with annoying stereotypical characters that made me think it was written in the 1950s when women were only either good wives or good-for-now. It also struggles with identity, starting in pseudo noir then fumbling ineptly into the fantastic, finally coming out crudely and unsatisfyingly scrambled.

If this had been the first book by Piers Anthony I had read, I would never pick up another of his books. I love science-fiction. Love fantasy, the absurd, the fantastic. Macroscope bel
May 07, 2011 Gary rated it it was amazing
I agree with Stephen.... nuff said.
Jun 04, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never read much of Anthony's sci-fi when I was on a Xanth kick in my teens, so I missed this one. An acquaintance in my book club recommended it to me recently, and I'm glad he did: the story was compelling, the central reveal in the book was excellent, and the various aliens and their technology were sufficiently weird that they even stand out now.

The dated portrayal of women and relationships was pretty irksome, and that's pretty common in older sci-fi. The book is certainly a product of its
Awet Moges
Nov 15, 2013 Awet Moges rated it really liked it
I started reading this primarily for research purposes: something to do with language that destroyed language, like a snow crash. However, I was pleased with this entry in classic scifi, and thought it far superior to Anthony's other work (incarnations of immortality series). However I had trouble getting by the main character's (intentionally) dull presence, and his slightly overcooked sexist views of another main character. Thankfully this archaic attitude declines as the plot chugs along towa ...more
Jim Hoff
Jul 07, 2015 Jim Hoff rated it it was amazing
From a general summary of Macroscope, you might get the impression that Piers Anthony took the "throw everything in but the kitchen sink" approach. After all, the book is bursting with ideas and oddities. Just some its component elements include astrology, ancient history, Sidney Lanier's poetry, a grand history of a multifarious universe, and the wars it endured, mind destroying beams, a project to create genetically perfect geniuses. And on... From these few sentences alone, you might think it ...more
A Wild Soup of Sprouts, Genius, and Astrology: A long, long time ago when the world was young and Anthony was a fresh new face in the science fiction world, he blessed us with works of power, incredible imagination, great originality, depth and meaning. This is one of those very early works, and by some measures it may be his best, or very nearly so, standing with his Chthon and Orn as a seminal work that introduced ideas that are still fresh and very different from the standard run-of-the-mill ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Jlawrence rated it liked it
I'm most familiar with Piers Anthony from his light-hearted fantasy series Xanth that I read as a youngling nerd, so it was very interesting to read this early, much more serious and ambitious science fiction novel of his. I would like to give it four stars for the many cool ideas in it (using planets and moons as spaceships to punch through hyperspace; an intergalactic signal that if you're intelligent enough to understand leads you down an inevitable logical chain that burns your brain out, lo ...more
Mark Hodder
This is a novel of really big ideas and creative flourishes ... but did I enjoy it? No. Here's the problem: for the first half of this long novel, the characters do little more than talk. For the second half, stuff happens but the plot is all over the place. This is stream of consciousness plotting, and it gets seriously irritating. I loved the vastness of the concepts but I hated the clumsy presentation. It's a painful example of an author who has great ideas but lacks the technical skills to p ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Tani rated it liked it
The first half of this was better than I expected, which just made the second half more of a disappointment, I think. The very beginning was confusing, but once I got into it, I found it quite fast-paced, until I hit the final showdown. And then things kind of fell apart. I didn't particularly care for the way he handled that whole thing. Also, the entire book is laced with sexism, homophobia, and racism, so there's that. It could have been worse, considering when it was written, but it certainl ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Ally rated it it was ok
This would be getting one star if the ideas in it weren't so interesting. The book itself is both racist, sexist, and homophobic. And I know, I know it's a product of its time but that doesn't make it any more pleasant to read. I spent half the book wondering if Anthony had ever really talked to a woman and the other half knowing he hadn't. So I guess if you don't mind women who are written like they're from some alien species there are some good parts to Macroscope I just don't think they're wo ...more
Nov 20, 2015 Sean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spacefi
An excellent story by Piers Anthony -- a story with a compelling primary theme, such that may be considered in a context of information theory, and a secondary theme, such that may somehow serve to inspire a sense of reflection about concepts of culture, concepts of governance, and concepts of ethnographic diversity.
This probably deserved another star, but I just wasn't in the mood for some of it.
The concept of the macroscope really got my interest.
The ending was also quite amazing.
The high gravity adaptation and FTL travel methods were a little over the top for me, but interesting nonetheless.
I got very bogged down in the astrology and dream-sequences.
If you liked the galactic alien civilization parts, you might like The Genesis Quest, Second Genesis or Startide Rising.
Jul 24, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing

Takes Anthony's work to a whole new level. A philosophical and intellectual journey that illustrates what Anthony is capable of when he puts his mind to more serious work.

Awarded at the time and deserved it.

Should be a canon of the genre but often (and unjustly) misses out.
Feb 23, 2013 Phil rated it it was ok
Ever read a 20 year old sci-fi book in 1989 at the age of 19 while under the influence of hallucinogens on a regular basis, then spend the next twenty plus years remembering it as this mind blowing experience? No? You're lucky. I came across a copy of this at an estate sale and was so excited to read it again, remembering it as this amazing book that had so much to say about the universe and how it worked. While I respect other novels by Piers Anthony, the reality is that this was a rambling, se ...more
Mar 23, 2013 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and quite enjoyable. Some scientists come across a signal from outer space that appears to be a instruction manual containing all of the knowledge from multiple extrasolar civilizations. But there is a problem - a destroyer signal causes anyone who tries to view the information is turned into a virtual vegetable. Enter Ivo, a young man who had been part of an experiment to create ultrasmart humans. He figures out how to access the data. Afterward, circumstances dictate that he and fo ...more
Scott Brown
Nov 21, 2014 Scott Brown rated it liked it
Parts of the novel are a good read, but parts of it digress into long explanations of the forming of the solar system and such. If you can get through those parts it is not bad.
Jun 16, 2012 Ms_prue rated it it was ok
I'm not far in to it yet, partly because the formatting of the Kindle version is sub-par and partly because I'm incredibly allergic to the portrayal of Afra, Penthouse Pet to the Mensa Set. Every time she reappears and I have to hear again about what she's wearing and how Ivo can't breathe, he's so in awe of her beauty, I have to put the book down again for four days.
17/6/12: I finally finished! And then I made the mistake of reading the afterword to the Kindle edition. 30% of that afterword is
Apr 13, 2014 "KayFey" rated it really liked it
Yep. Before his writing became too silly with the 'Xanth' series, Piers Anthony was writing stuff like this. Mind blown to infinitesimal pieces with this book!
Feb 03, 2011 Nicki rated it it was amazing
I liked the style of writing of this book as well as the characters. The concept was something so unusual. I'm trying not to give too much away about the story, but for me it was in parts similar to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide (I guess as far as time-travel and the unexpected goes). I read it many, many years ago and would love to get a copy and read it again. I remember some good references to astrology, which resonated with me when I read it. I must have been about 18 I'm guessing.

Will t
Feb 27, 2016 Garren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partially-read
I liked the basic sci-fi concept, but the constant, casual sexism that was meant to resonate with (white male) readers of the time was grating.
Edward Rosenfeld
Jun 21, 2016 Edward Rosenfeld rated it it was amazing
Finished just minutes ago.....not unhappy at all....still a great book...
Jun 09, 2008 Aharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Back when Piers Anthony used to concentrate all of his ideas in one single novel rather than spreading them out over a 19 book series he wrote Macroscope. Then he probably signed a megabook deal and novels like this no longer made economic sense for him. That's my suspicion anyways. There's some weird pop70s new age culture in here towards the end -- most of Anthony's novels seem to be vulnerable to these ideas, but on the whole most of htis book is just brilliant science fiction. I've never rea ...more
Dr. Lomax
Jul 16, 2016 Dr. Lomax rated it it was amazing
An excellent book and one of my top ten Science Fiction reads.
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Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environm
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