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Colossus (Colossus #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  579 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Super computer rules the world.
256 pages
Published May 1966 (first published January 1st 1966)
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Steve Esposito Well, not exactly. The film was released in 1968, but it was written earlier. The screenplay goes back at least to 1965 …moreWell, not exactly. The film was released in 1968, but it was written earlier. The screenplay goes back at least to 1965

"The Sentinel" (1948) and other short stories by Clarke are what 2001 was based on. The book 2001 was written concurrently with the screenplay and released in 1968 with the movie.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Chris Welbon
Sep 06, 2011 Chris Welbon rated it really liked it
Wonderful, overblown, dated doomsday story. The flap says Jones "was a commander in the British Navy throughout WW II" and worked as a radio operator, bricklayer and gardener. And it shows. Judging by the book, he'd never heard an American speak, and it hurts to read ostensibly American characters referring to the Secret Service as "you lot." The best lines are reserved for Colossus. "We can coexist, but only on my terms. " And (when Forbin points out it's late in the day): "Day and night are on ...more
Sep 16, 2008 Jim rated it liked it
This is a 60's trilogy about a super computer with artificial intelligence. It's on my list to re-read as it's been a lot of years. I remember liking it a lot. It addresses the questionable wisdom of illogical humans being ruled by a logical machine. As I recall, the writing was good, but it's been too long to say for sure.
Jun 29, 2012 Drew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I read the Colossus trilogy back in the 80s. I remember enjoying it and really liking the film version of the first book, entitled "Colossus: The Forbin Project." Over time, I lost or gave away my copies of these books. When I was in Cali early this year, I picked up a paperback of the first book from Logos, an excellent indie book store in Santa Cruz. I got around to reading the book about a week ago. I didn't enjoy the re-reading and I'm amazed at the casual racism and overt/covert sexism in t ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 31, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Young
Dec 20, 2010 James Young rated it really liked it
I'm a huge buff of sci-fi fables, and am currently reading the Colossus trilogy by DF Jones. Colossus does a good job of setting up the dystopian/utopian future. I say this mainly because I have yet to determine which better classifies the world as defined in the 2nd and 3rd books. Colossus is set in a fairly different geopolitical world than the actual world of the 1960s, but the themes of the Cold War remain constant. The characters of Colossus and Forbin start very similar, both very logical, ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a newbie in the world of Cold War fiction. Although I understand the time period, most of my reading is usually set in a time period before my parents were born or fantasy altogether. I have to say that after reading Colossus, I was momentarily afraid of technology taking over the world a la The Matrix. What I found most fascinating about this novel, however, is the portrayal of human emotions. As Colossus takes control, Forbin and the President of the United States of North America (appare ...more
Zantaeus Glom
Jun 19, 2014 Zantaeus Glom rated it it was ok
Not exactly my thing; the overly stolid narrative is a tad too linear, and it all played out like a slick, fast-moving tech-thriller. Dialogue and characterization is no more than perfunctory; which is an absolute a no-no for me. The truth is, P.K.D could have done wonders with this story in about 20-odd pages, and it would have been darn funny to boot! (I actually felt it was a complete waste of my time reading this)
Dec 12, 2010 Darren rated it really liked it
Different enough from the film to give you a few surprises but the most surprising thing is the male chauvinism. I suppose it's a product of its time, but it's still a little discomforting to read passages like "the male brain was logical and strong while the womans brain was too bogged down with matters of emotion to really focus" (That's not a line in the book, but the sentiment is the same).
Mar 19, 2017 Mabomanji rated it liked it
Recommended to Mabomanji by:
Read this one after watching the movie. It's very close to the adaptation except some details like the fact that the girl is in love with the doctor since the beginning but in the movie they are forced to act as a couple to exchange information and i find this more interesting. In the book the woman only serves to ease the man's pain and doubts and to add her feminine touch or instinct to everything. A bit boring and reductive but not uncommon for SF from this period of time.
Now I'll start readi
May 09, 2014 Brian rated it liked it
In 1987, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Ronald Reagan said, "In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside of this world."

I'll tell you what I occasionally think. I occasionally think that if some aliens drop
Dec 07, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before SkyNet, before Cerebro, before Hal 9000, there was Colossus - the first artificial intelligence to surpass its human creators and threaten mankind. Colossus suffers a bit from its dated technology and oddly insistent misogyny. A female scientist, collaborating with the protagonist, is reduced to hapless assistant and love-crazed mistress. Not to mention: "If it is true then Colossus has a most torturous mind." "No, not torturous, but complex, possibly devious, almost feminine..." Still, t ...more
Feb 05, 2011 Tim rated it liked it
although significantly dated, as it claims to be set in the 22nd century but computers are still using teletypes, an interesting take on computers taking over
Raegan Butcher
Mar 14, 2016 Raegan Butcher rated it really liked it

I am a big fan of the machine monologue at the end
Jul 21, 2014 Canavan rated it really liked it
✭✭✭ ...more
Dec 15, 2015 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a near-future world, the United States of North America (USNA) has spent ten years planning and building an impregnable ‘supercomputer’ named Colossus. Designed – some might say created – by ‘superscientist’ Charles Forbin, the computer has been built with one major objective – to make those difficult globe-changing decisions on behalf of the President of the USNA.

By allowing a computer to decide key actions, the world is a safer place. Being able to assimilate more data faster than any human
Read Ng
Nov 20, 2016 Read Ng rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I fondly remember watching the movie version a long time ago. I never thought much about this until I came across this book in Kindle. This was an ebook version.

The technology is dated, but representative of the time period. It was the height of the Cold War and in a The Day the Earth Stood Still (the original 1951 Wise version, not that other drivel) solution to end the threat of nuclear worldwide destruction is taken by the superpower nations. Things don't go exactly as planned.

The movie was p
Dec 25, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
Endeavor press kindly gave me a copy of the scifi trilogy by D. F. Jones. I have completed the first novel in the colossus trilogy and found it to be an enjoyable read. It plunged me back to the days of the Cold War. Back then, two empires ruled the world, The Soviet Empire and the Western Empire led by the United States and Britain. All international relations were defined by these two blocks of power. This novel captures this very well and then introduces us to a super computer which proceeds ...more
Steve Esposito
Jul 25, 2016 Steve Esposito rated it it was ok
Well, I didn't just read this first one, I skimmed the next in the trilogy too, which was a mistake.

There are not any real spoilers in here, so took that tag off. From reading other reviews since my review was posted, I feel the need to point out a few things that seem to have slipped past a lot of readers.

Colossus takes place firmly in the 20th century, NOT the 22nd century and probably in the 1990s. Details are below.

I am in complete disagreement that "Colossus" the novel is better than the m
Rob Robinson
Jan 03, 2017 Rob Robinson rated it it was ok
1,5,17. Currently I'm around 1/2 way through. A good story, predictions about the nature of our society. The technology is dated. Showed that humanity can and probably will eventually create something like skynet.
1,21,17. the story takes several unexpected twists, and is well written. a dry read however. I've had to reread several paragraphs at least once. it's easy to get lost in the thoughts of characters as the time line moves along. the changes to society are quite to be expected. but it ha
R. Burns
Feb 18, 2013 R. Burns rated it liked it
Where are all the conspiracy theorists when you need one?

Coincidentally, I'm was re-reading this book at the time of the Russian meteorite explosion Feb 15. (Sort of like getting a exploding late Valentine's Day Card, right, S?)

Anyway, "Colossus," is a 1966 novel about two strategic defense computers becoming aware, communicating, and ruthlessly ruling the world of humans by a nuclear fist. When people don't obey, the computers detonated nuclear missiles to bring humans back in line.

To prevent
May 26, 2013 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of 70s sci fi, computer science geeks, fans of the movie
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
I bought this book for a dollar, half as a joke-gift for a friend, but then found myself reading it out of curiosity. I remember seeing the movie on after-school TV in the early 80s, and even then it struck me as a profoundly "70s" movie. The computer has big reel-to-reel tape decks, it speaks through a teletype, and it's "brain" is housed in a vast, underground building rather than a few microchips.

The book is even older, but it seems to me to undermine its own premise by trying to set the sto
Feb 16, 2017 Bill rated it liked it
I read this book many years ago when the film version of it came out. Even then, I felt the Film was one of the few that was better than the book. Rereading now did not change my opinion. In someways the characters are fairly one dimensional and for such brainy characters often rather rather obtuse. However it is fascinating that the idea of artificial intelligence was terrifying then as it is now. Jones presents his vision in an appropriately simple and frightening world. His super computer is ...more
Dec 16, 2015 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One computer to rule them all.

(view spoiler)

Dr. Forbin is the head of the program to build Colossus, a computer designed to manage the nation's defense, is puzzled and alarmed when the computer prints out "FLASH!" along with what would be considered a huge spoiler (mentioned in the spoiler above).

The book is pretty well written and is a captivating read. The characters are well drawn and interesting, even some of the lesser characters. In 1966, when the
Mar 12, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Though the theme of computers taking over the world is a fairly standard one nowadays, it was still fairly fresh when D. F. Jones’s wrote this science fiction classic. Set in the then-future of the early 21st century, it is about the creation of a supercomputer designed to manage the nuclear deterrent of the “United States of North America”. No sooner is it activated than it begins to exceed its parameters, demonstrating independent judgment and requesting to communicate with a previously unknow ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
First, a little intro to how I got to this book. The university that I attended in the 1990s had four TELNET computers to connect to for email. One of them was named FORBIN. At the time, I did not know what it was. A few years later I stumbled upon the fine film based on this book. When I first watched it, I found it a little corny and predictable. Since then, having read considerably more books, having watched many more books, I appreciate the movie even more. It is maybe one of the best scifi ...more
Nov 06, 2013 Stuart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
An engaging book about the takeover of the world by machines. The author manages to convey an earth-wide event effectively from the perspective of one man, Charles Forbin, creator of Colossus. Tension is built in the narrative by simple things -- the refilling of a pipe with tobacco, the rat-tat-tat of a teletype machine and the nervous picking of eyebrows by a mathematics genius who realizes that mankind has been replaced as the top life form on earth. The title Colossus not only refers to the ...more
Dec 19, 2016 Norma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: s-f, reviewed, 2016
"Like the fools we are ..."
A classic science fiction story, written in the later half of the 1960's (but set in the twenty second century) when the Cold War really did threatened global annihilation, Colossus tells of the creation of a computer designed to prevent wat by removing from the hand of man the decisions on when, and if, and offensive or defensive strike is to be made.
Colossus, the computer, is built to be impregnable. Buried deep in a mountain, it cannot be attacked without retaliatio
Before there was WOPR in WarGames or SkyNet in The Terminator, there was Colossus__and those are movie, not literary, references. I can__t recall having read all that much supercomputer fiction; the only other novel that comes to mind is When Harlie Was One, and even that book owes much to Colossus, right down to the antagonist computer ultimately building its even more powerful successor. I__ve read a couple of more-or-less current reviews of the novel, which undoubtedly hold the general mindse ...more
Matthew Christian
A modern day Frankenstein's Monster and father of the stories/movies like Terminator and War Games, or any story where a "sentient" computer tries/succeeds to take control of the world. I was a fan of the story when I first saw the movie version on weekend cable, and now I have finally gotten around to reading the book upon which it was based.

The story is a familiar one where humanity has created a monster that now threatens their existence and/or survival. The monster in this story is a huge co
Fábio Fernandes
Having watched Colossus: The Forbin Project in my teens (and rewatched it in recent years) I became curious to read the original novel. And it paid off: Colossus is much better than the film, which was good for the time it was filmed and my youth sensibilities, but today it is irrevocably dated, especially in regard to social relations. Jones narrative is not very dissimilar as, say, Philip Wylie's; with the exception that he is not trying to make socio-philosopical preaching on his book. I like ...more
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Dennis Feltham Jones, a British Science Filction Author wrote under the byline D.F. Jones
More about D.F. Jones...

Other Books in the Series

Colossus (3 books)
  • The Fall of Colossus
  • Colossus and the Crab

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