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Breaking Strain (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 1)
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Breaking Strain (Venus Prime #1)

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  412 ratings  ·  33 reviews
When a team of scientists is trapped in the gaseous inferno of Venus, Sparta must risk her life to save them, unaware that her actions will help recover a mysterious artifact: irrefutable evidence of life on another planet. As the secrets of the artifact are revealed, Sparta uncovers a mystery that may lead her to the truth about her own identity.
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by I Books (first published December 1949)
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Raro de Concurso
Un libro en principio menor de Clarke (aunque escrito a pachas con Paul Press), e inicio de una serie de 6 libros con el mismo protagonista. Y digo en principio menor, porque no ha sido reeditado desde hace años y no tiene la fama de otras novelas del autor.

Sin embargo, a mi entender, es un magnífico libro. No sólo de ciencia ficción, sino policiaco. En la parte de ciencia ficción los autores imaginan un futuro en el que la raza humana ha colonizado los planetas del sistema solar, pero basándos
Cian Beirdd
Clarke's thing was to have a reasonable story in which the technology was necessary but not necessarily central to the plot. Which was neat, and usually well done. Paul Preuss tried to expand on that by writing in an umbrella theme about a secret society. That he failed in this is apparent. The need to write such an enormous backstory before even beginning the plot draws the reader away from the story itself, whereas a good writer would draw the reader in with the story and only introduce the um ...more
Tony Hisgett
The Book starts with an interesting character (Sparta, aka Linda, aka Ellen). I was drawn to her story and was really looking forward to see how this developed. BUT strangely the author chose to ignore her for half of the book and went off at a series of tangents. All these additional stories eventually make some sort of sense but I don’t understand why the author wasn’t able to intertwine these with Sparta’s storyline. I suspect that this was done to try incorporating the original Arthur C Clar ...more
This was a fantastic read. It is a mystery thriller that just happens to be set in a science fiction future.

Superficially, the story is about a woman who is locked in a sanatorium. She has no idea who she is (or what her name is) and sits passively for daily ministrations of food and clothing. After a timely intervention, she begins to awaken to her surroundings and feels compelled to make her escape. But why are the lights so bright, the breeze so loud? How did she know how to circumvent those
Paul Darcy
The name of Arthur C. Clarke is synonymous with science fiction. And this book has his name plastered all over it - but he did't write it.

Vernus Prime 1, the first book of a six-book series, was written my Paul Preuss and based on one of Arthur C. Clarke’s works - a novella called Breaking Strain. In fact all six Venus Prime books are derivatives of Clarke’s fiction and were all written by Paul Preuss.

Arthur C. Clarke does write the introduction and does mention that Preuss has ‘done a pretty go
S.A. Parham
If I understood the author's notes correctly, Preuss originally started adapting a novella of Clarke's called "Breaking Strain" to be an RPG. The game didn't pan out, so he was encouraged to reroute everything to be a novel series instead. The ideas behind it - a girl altered cybernetically for a secret government agency, then having her memory wiped for whatever dark reasons - has been done to death in recent years, but obviously Clarke's idea predates most of them ("Breaking Strain" was publis ...more
Actually, I'd give this 3.5 stars.

The beginning starts off very interesting and then "BAM" it goes AWOL! It takes, I am guessing, about 2/3 of the way in, maybe more, before we come back to the main character SPARTA. It's basically 3 stories which come together... eventually. At first I was not liking that fact, but then, I was won over. I still think this would have been a bit better had the story about SPARTA not ended so abruptly and seemingly disappear, until MUCH later in the book. All in a
Chris Devine
Took a bit of getting into. A lot of it is introducing the background of Sparta and how she becomes Ellen and was Linda. Confused? Then read the book. The rest is a detective, murder mystery with so many component parts that all draw together by the end. The sequence in the cargo ship with only enough atmosphere for one of the two crew is thoughtful and not the usual fodder. I really enjoyed it as a departure from my usual sci-fi diet. Looking forward to book 2.
I am slowly learning that just because I start a book, that doesn't mean I have to finish it. Even though I am only 50 pages away I've decided not to finish Breaking Strain.
Don't misunderstand me, it was a good book, but it drew me in with a backstory that wasn't continued and then expanded into a series of story webs that I couldn't always follow. I 'hopefully' finished the one strand I was interested in and decided to stop, part of the reason being that I don't want to get drawn in to the ser
Love Clarke. This time it's a mystery in a science fiction setting with a main character in search of her true identity. How could it get any better?!
I cannot help but think these books were created because someone realised they could do wireframe spaceship/station models on CAD software at home.
A spaceship is damaged by a meteor. The oxygen supply is not enough for the two men aboard to wait the rescue crew which was on their way. It is enough only for one. Sooner, they should decide who will commit a suicide to give the other a chance (or breathing room) to live.

Obviously no one wants to die but if guided by this rule literally they’ll both cease to exist. One of the two Gartner tries to kill the other Mc Neil by poisoning. But in vain. Mc Neil predicted this even before Gartner thou
Peter Roach
Reread this one, and loved it, have purchased the follow throughs recently.
SF mystery. A lot of background about the protagonist prior to the plot(s) of this book. Perhaps reasonable if you're planning to read the whole series. But this can be read as a stand-alone novel and it's a lot of pre-story if you're only reading this volume.

It would fall in the "mystery" category, but it doesn't have the same kind of explanation of the solving of the puzzle(s) as in sleuth stories. Nevertheless, it's not a simple case.

After the pre-story, the events take place on route to Venu
A Masterpiece of Drama, Technology, and Sci-Fi!: After 30 years experience in the Space Program, NASA, and deep Space probes, I have to say this is one of the more intellectuall accurate, and stimulating stories I have read. I am an Clarke fan, having read 2001 when it first came out in 1968, but the combination of Clarke's vision and Preuss's writing skills makes this Venus Prime Series a set of books you will not be able to put down!
The book was described somewhere as sort of PG version of Heinlein's Friday which I liked a lot. Having found out that it was not written by Arthur Clarke - just based on his short story - I was not in high hopes of it being particularly good. Nevertheless I started reading. Surprisingly, the story turned out to be very enjoyable and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
Mike Gurney
1st in a series of 6 based on an original short story by Clark. Preuss adds a new dimension to the story. I originally read these books when they were released in the 80's. Very good story and concept.
This book has an interesting history: take a Clarke short story, try to tun it into a text adventure game, fail, then pad it into a novel.

Paul Preuss is a decent writer, and it is, really quite a bit more staisfying (as a story) than Clarke's original (I re-read it afterwards, to see if I remembered it correctly).
Lord Humungus
I originally bought all the Venus Prime books because they mentioned Arthur C Clarke and I LOVED Jim Burns' cover art. None of the books were really that captivating, including this one. The hard SF here was all a little too dry. At least the artwork inspired me to draw my own versions of Sparta.
I was a bit disappointed because of the connection with Arthur C Clark and had high hopes. It isn't actually written by him so I should have known better. This was probably a great read when it came out but didn't really pull me in so many years after publication.
May 11, 2009 Tim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
I first read this series of books when I was in junior high school. They're all based on short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, re-imagined into a 6-book arc focused around a sort of super-secret-agent chick with An Unknown Past. Pulp scifi, but not bad pulp.
Done. I read this one before and I had a hard time concentrating on it back then as well.
There were some good parts but it wasn't entirely fulfilling.
If Arthur C. Clarke had written it then I'm sure it would have been much more enjoyable.
On the upside it was trashy and short. On the downside, it wasn't dark enough and padded the beginning by introducing characters who ultimately disappeared without a trace - the Queequeg effect!
Thomas Fackler
Not sure how it passes for a mystery... Sparta is an interesting character and seems to be who the writers of the TV show Firefly based River on.
Mar 05, 2009 Ian added it
Excellent Clarke scifi read. Stimulating and imaginitive. What happened to dreaming of science and space? Oh yeah, TV.
A very decent space opera, but definitely not on an Arthur C. Clark level. Good characters, decent plot, enjoyable.
Great Pulp SciFi. Not the typically deep Clarke type, but it has elements of his prescience and realism.
Disappointing. Mechanically sound but somehow falls short of the storytelling we expect of Clarke.
Jeff Rudisel
Jason Young
This was pretty good. Some amateurish writer mistakes, but overall a good book.
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Other Books in the Series

Venus Prime (6 books)
  • Maelstrom (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 2)
  • Hide and Seek (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 3)
  • The Medusa Encounter (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 4)
  • The Diamond Moon (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 5)
  • The Shining Ones (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 6)
Maelstrom (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 2) Hide and Seek (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 3) The Medusa Encounter (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 4) The Diamond Moon (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 5) The Shining Ones (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 6)

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