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7th Sigma

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  962 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Welcome to the territory. Leave your metal behind, all of it. The bugs will eat it, and they'll go right through you to get it. Don't carry it, don't wear it, and for God's sake, don't come here if you've got a pacemaker.

The bugs showed up about 50 years ago - self-replicating, solar-powered, metal-eating machines. No one knows where they came from. They don't like water,
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Tor Books (first published July 1st 2011)
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Stephen Gould is perhaps best known for his novel Jumper originally released in 1992 and later adapted into a film in 2008. I found the film enjoyable if somewhat forgettable and regrettable only in that it managed to line the pockets of Hayden Christensen. Burried in a box of ARCs from Baker and Taylor I found Gould's most recent novel, 7th Sigma, and immediately cued in on the idea giant metal eating bugs.

In 7th Sigma a plague of metal devouring bugs of mysterious origin overran the American
Anyone else notice dystopian novels are being released like every other week, kinda like when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out and then monster mash up books were coming out so fast you didn't even know they existed until you stumbled across them in the book store.

This is yet another dystopian novel that has been released among the hordes of others that have great premises but seriously fail in the execution. Whether that is due to time restraints (publishers wanting to churn these book
Before you read this book, read "Kim" by Rudyard Kipling. Firstly, because Kim is a great book. Secondly, because if you read 7th Sigma first, you would be missing all the references to Kim. And thirdly because if you read 7th Sigma first you might give it more credit than it deserves. (And also because it is available for free on the web, kindle, iBooks, etc)

I really like Steven Gould's work, and I think he can tell a realistic sci-fi story like few others, but I really think 7th Sigma didn't l
If I was to take a look at my outfit, I’ve got a metal bracelet on, a zipper, and metal bra hooks, this means that if I was a character living in the Territory in Steven Gould’s 7th Sigma, I'd be screwed. The territory is basically the Southwestern US. It is infested by these dangerous metal eating bugs who don’t give a shit about your flesh and will eat you up if it means getting to sweet delicious alloy. However, people are resilient and willing to build lives without the use of metal, coping ...more
Goddammit. I was sure I was going to flip out over this book before I started. That’s the second time this has happened to me this year, where I have a book set aside to enjoy as my absolute favorite book of all time candidate. It’s hard to do that with a book I’ve never read, but I knew that Stephen Gould has written some pretty adored books, I know my son read Jumper and thought it was pretty great, and I heard Mr Gould in an interview a few times and thought he made a pretty good sell on what ...more
Days later Kim is still on my mind. The book seems like fun but is not balanced like I've come to find Gould's other works. If history has taught me anything I can see a reasonable sequel coming along and then I'd probably like this one more.

I know I'm a fan of Gould but the vignettes do get a little tired and the whole experience does leave me wanted more. It doesn't quite flesh out the parts where I'm wondering is he still training? How is he and Sensei getting along. What is life actually tea
Jul 11, 2012 Virginia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adam Heine
Although the first few pages were hard for me to get through (mostly because I think there were too many names, side commentary, and info dump), I was quickly drawn into the story once the words became normal. I would say this is a western, except set in the near future after a semi-disaster involving bugs that eat all metal. I found it particularly interesting to see how people still adapted and changed (as did technology, by necessity).

Though there was no general plot arc in terms of an epic
Kimble is a smart kid who knows he'd rather be on the streets of the Territory than under the heavy hand of his drunken father. Then he meets Ruth, who is leaving a divorce behind to open a new dojo deep in the Territory. They get along better than they should, and so the story rolls. Kim is a smart boy who is already mostly grown up at thirteen, but looks much smaller and younger even than that. With an adult reckoning, incredible aikido skills, and a strong need for justice, Kim is an easy rec ...more
3 Stars

3 is probably a little generous, but this is a short and fast read with some enjoyable moments.

This book started out interesting enough, with a post apocalyptic feel, and a bit of horror to boot.

"There was less blood when it came out of his chest, but the blind black snout of the June-bug-sized creature came right through the remnants of the shirt as if it weren't there. It crawled up and out, wet and red. It stood up high on it's legs and spread it's wings. It buzzed them and the blood s
Nathan Simpson
I'm a long fan of Rudyard Kipling's Kim, and this story is an open homage to that, set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic American southwest and paying at least as much tribute to the Western genres I read so much of as a kid. It was an interesting world, and the story was fairly carefully written.

I've studied aikido for some years, so the martial arts part was well-written, but made me a bit uneasy. There is a bit of the "martial arts discipline turns people into thoughtful, well-adjusted humans
The premise of this one intrigued me: a future earth where US nano-technology got out of hand and created self replicating “bugs” that consume metal. They seem to be more prevalent in the Southwest than elsewhere in the States or world. The book also surprised me - I didn’t realize it was a YA book until after I started.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the plot and characters while some of the morality was a bit heavy handed. It relies on Japanese philosophy as taught through martial arts with some
I didn't like this book at all. Generally, when I rate books, I try to balance my personal enjoyment of the book with the book's actual quality. Some well-written books just aren't my cup of tea; some lesser-quality books are very entertaining. Sadly, I found this book to be neither enjoyable nor well-written.

If you've read the Goodreads description of this book, which appears verbatim on the book's jacket, this sounds like an interesting novel. People must learn to adapt when metal-eating bugs
It’s hard for me to say whether or not this book was a hit. On the one hand, I am disappointed by how the author pushed some important subject matter to the back burner. As I discussed above, I never did feel fully engaged in this book as a whole. However, on the other hand, 7th Sigma isn’t really deep, or thought provoking and I don’t think it’s supposed to be. It’s a fast paced ride through an interesting world. It’s immensely fun and entertaining. For readers who are looking for that kind of ...more
There have been parts which I really enjoyed. But I missed more information about the bugs and not-animals.

This is a book about survival under certain conditions and it is a book about aikido. I think a younger audience will enjoy it more than I did.

I really enjoyed Jumper and Wildside by Steven Gould, so I thought I would check this out. Plus, I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife many years ago now when they came up to Faribanks, Ak for a writer's workshop. I thought both of them were nice, interesting people who came across as really caring about talking to aspiring writers.

7th Sigma didn't disappoint, it is classic juvenile sci-fi. And I mean that in the best Heinlein-esque sense. I guess these days we say "young-adult" fiction
Tami Veldura
The bugs will go through anything to eat metal, self-replicate, and have completely devastated the western seaboard of the United States. Kimble lives in the now metal-barren Territory and builds a life after his abusive father with an Aikido instructor.

I really enjoyed this book. The pace was great, the characters were interesting. I wasn't enthralled to the point of un-put-down-able but the premise was engrosing.

However, there was more than one spot in the narrative where sections of time are
Jason Kristopher
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. The blurb had me going "Wow, that sounds fascinating!" Unfortunately, when all was said and done, the book didn't live up to my expectations. Steven Gould did a good job telling the story of the book, but it's not exactly the one I was expecting from the description.

Gould apparently based the character of Kimble Monroe on the titular character of Rudyard Kipling's "Kim", which I've never read, nor do I have any intention of reading. So I can't co
Finally! A young adult book where the main character is not wrought with emotion. 7th sigma is set in a dystopian desert southwest. Bugs have taken over that area. Not just any bugs. Bugs that will eat any scrap of metal there is. There are people who have decided to live in the what is now referred to as the Territory. They have adapted to living in this barron land with these creatures. They have had to do without though. Nothing metal inside or out. Kimble is one of those people. A boy just t ...more
David Davies
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan Mcminn
What I most appreciate about Gould is that he writes science fiction in a way that seems very rare in the field. It's not so much science fiction from the perspective of an engineer--with a geek-out fun technological innovation or premise and interesting implications falling in domino succession from the premise. Nor is it the kind of holistic analysis of a future world you might get from an author like Kim Stanley Robinson.

Rather, Gould writes more as a maker-culture sort of person than an engi
No, this is not a rating of passion. I read the whole book, laughed at some of the parts, liked some of the action.

But seriously. If you want to read this book because you think the jacket description sounds cool, forget it. Because the metal eating metal bugs are nothing but the background. If there is a back story to them, it ain't in the book--because they're just part of the 'territory'. If the bugs would have had anything besides a minor rule in the book, it would have been neat. No one eve
Tim Hicks
I'm trying to allow for this being aimed at a younger reader, but I can't forget that this could have been a better book.

It's a disguised Western. It's a tribute to Kipling's "Kim." It's a way to use the author's stored knowledge about martial arts.

Credit first for one technique I liked: Gould repeatedly has Kim do something while explaining some of the details, such as removing a brick to hide a message, but also remembering to pack the space below so the message doesn't fall down out of reac
Peter Goodman


“7th Sigma,” by Steven Gould (Tor, 2011). Fun. “Cowboys and Aliens” without the nonsense. Somehow, the American southwest has been invaded by robotic bugs that eat metal---any metal. They have destroyed all the ferrous-based infrastructure---roads, bridges, plows, telephones, computers, jewelry, pacemakers, tooth fillings. So the inhabitants, a mix of Anglos, Mexicans and Indians, have developed a life that is a bit closer to the old ways: no automobiles, no telephones, no guns, no inst
Jul 20, 2014 Louis rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction, Younger male readers
I think I’ve read most books by Steven Gould and I find his tales are very much a hit or miss affair with me. His works either become an instant favorite of mine (Jumper, Reflex, Wildside) or I enjoy the read, but will never think of them again.

I find this novel, 7th Sigma, as falling somewhere in the middle. It’s the near future and the American Southwest “The Territory” is infested with artificial bugs (like little “robots”) that eat anything metal. It’s not known where they came from; they a
Brian Delambre
I have always like Steven Gould's books. Jumper is still one of my favorites.

7th Sigma is another great story by Gould that I cannot categorize. It might fit under a Young Man's Adventure like early Heinlein novels. I highly recommend reading this book, just so he continues in the series.
I've read other Gould books and found them to be intense, gripping and hard to put down. I found those adjectives lacking in this book. Anytime the plot got close to becoming gripping, or intense the story veered away and then jumped in time and location to somewhere different or farther along in the timeline with very little explanation as to where or when or why things were happening. This book felt more like a treatise for a serial Sifi television show with an underlying story about bugs in b ...more
OK, the extra star is probably because I'm from NM, and enjoyed all the references (and maybe secretly want Albuquerque to be eaten by post-apocalyptic metal bugs?). Inventive and fun read.
A fun read. Not deep or soul-searing, but excellent at what it is. You do not need to have read Kim (the Kipling novel which is this book's inspiration) to enjoy this one, but it is entertaining to see this story take those bones and address some of that novel's more glaring issues that make it a tougher sell for contemporary readers. If you like hyper-competent, thoughtful good guy boy heroes, wise older mentors (the wise sensei here is an older woman, so let's throw in a bit of the Odyssey as ...more
This sounded interesting. I was looking for something different to read and came across it in the library. I thought it would be more horrific and mainly about surviving these bugs. The library did have it listed as a science fiction book and not horror, but still... While I sort of enjoyed it (it was a bit weird) it wasn't what I was expecting and I never really got into the characters. The story of the bugs seemed to be very secondary. It was mainly about a boy and lots of martial arts and spy ...more
Jul 05, 2011 Rob marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Steven Charles Gould is an American science fiction author. His novels tend to have protagonists fighting to rid government of corrupt antagonists. The struggle against corruption is the focus, rather than the technology.
More about Steven Gould...
Jumper (Jumper, #1) Reflex (Jumper, #2) Jumper: Griffin's Story Impulse (Jumper, #3) Wildside

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