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The Eternity Artifact

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  839 ratings  ·  54 reviews
5,000 years in the future, humankind has spread across thousands of worlds, and more than a dozen different governments exist in an uneasy truce. But human beings have found no signs of other life anywhere approaching human intelligence. This changes when scientists discover a sunless planet they name Danann, travelling the void just beyond the edge of the Galaxy at such a ...more
Hardcover, 367 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Tor Books (first published 2005)
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Nov 04, 2008 Terence rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Terence by: Picked up for 25 cents in a library sale
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Not much to say here really. The Eternity Artifact is what I call an "airplane book" - something to kill the time flying to the Christmas family reunion but nothing to get excited about. The basic plot is that several thousand years in the future, the Comity of Worlds (a secular, reasonably tolerant and liberal polity) has discovered an extra-galactic alien artifact and assembles a team to go out and take a look at it before it enters an area of singularities and becomes unreachable. Ranged agai ...more
Very boring scifi. Modesitt can suck the fun and excitement out of even the most amazing alien tech.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Although I enjoyed the plot I thought there were too many moments where the author over emphasized too much on establishing a setting. The book was filled with narration explaining the action the characters were conducting along with the action occurring around them. For instance, the narration explaining the pilot's flying a shuttle was so technical and detailed I thought I was reading a pilots training manual. I enjoyed this to a point but I t ...more
This novel is told to good effect in four shifting first person perspectives. Each has a very distinctive voice, and are convincing and likeable for the most part. I really enjoyed the characters and their development and interaction, but the plot and pacing kind of fell flat. The alien archaeology was interesting, but the politics and space battles were not. I believe it would have been better had it it been more tightly edited (maybe a hundred pages shorter), and perhaps with an improved endin ...more
Hmmm, it was a good read and was well written. I liked the mystery aspect (what will they find on this deserted, frozen planet and when they find something, what is it?) I found the political factions confusing as in I felt like this book was probably set in a universe that's been explained in other books. I picked this novel up because the author had been recommended. I didn't think it was part of a series but it may be that this writer sets all his books in this universe. Anyway, as I'm turnin ...more
A fun sci-fi adventure, with a story that is overall very cool. I found the actual writing a little unpleasant, though. In particular, the narration of the professor character seems designed to be as annoying as possible.
Interesting scifi story made even more interesting by the narrative style - the story unfolds in first-person perspective through the eyes of four very different individuals. As the story progresses, their paths intertwine. It reminds me of four dischordant musical pieces coming together at the very end in a startling harmony. I've read a few first-person/multiple-voice novels, including Faulkner, but Modesitt did a great job teasing this story (and this reader) along through the eyes and action ...more
Angraecus Daniels
A lot of good ideas, poorly executed. As a reader, I found this book to be sluggish and boring. But as a writer, I found the characterizations interesting. This book has four view point characters, each with a distinct personality and history. It was interesting the way each character's personality comes through in the language they use to narrate their respective chapters. I especially liked the sharp contrast between the pilot and the professor's personalities, and how the author tied them tog ...more
Traci Loudin
First, full disclosure--I didn't finish reading this book and I generally don't enjoy first-person stories as well. The actual story in this book didn't start til after page 100, and by then, I was already exhausted by the shifting first-person viewpoint. That's right, you get a new first-person viewpoint character each chapter. I think there are five viewpoint characters total. Maybe if this had been written with five shifting third-person viewpoint characters, I could have handled it. The firs ...more
In the far future, humankind finally discovers signs of intelligent alien life, and undertakes a long journey to check it out. Unfortunately, the signs are millions of years old and the aliens are long gone. But what they've left behind is enough to start the biggest battle in human history. I raced through this book, and loved the characters. It's told in alternating first-person chapters, and Modesitt does a good job of giving each character a distinctly different voice. I got occasionally con ...more
If this had been the first book I ever read by Modesitt, I wouldn't read anything further. The book wasn't bad, just weak.

I think Modesitt attempted to make this book character-driven rather than plot-driven, except he introduced too many characters. And most of the characters were rather uninteresting. (Although Modesitt did a nice job in differentiating the characters by presenting them as first person and changing the way each character thought and spoke.) One character was just repulsive fr
Matthew Hester
Not only is this book written in first-person perspective; the perspective switches between four different characters.
For anyone intimidated or uncomfortable with reading in this style, I highly suggest you stay clear.

Outside of the that nagging surprise, the book itself was fairly good, though it failed to delivery entirely on the premise I was hoping for.
As inspiration for my own story, I was hoping to get an idea of how to write a story told largely about exploring an unknown and unfamiliar l
Rob Bliss
I was in the mood for a sci-fi involving going into deep space, so I enjoyed this. But there were faults.

When reading the opening scene, you think its going to be about an assassin in space. So I was all for it. But then the next scene has a boring, long-winded professor teaching a class. Attention drops off. Luckily, Modesitt writes the novel from 4 different points of view, so youre not stuck with any one person. That's a nice change which I liked. But then very little happens in the plot. The
Algot Runeman
I started out reading and was sure that Modesitt had a problem with words. It was as if he were writing with a thesaurus open beside his writing pad (or computer keyboard). It seemed that any time he was ready to write a common word, he seemed to use the most odd choice available in the thesaurus. I complained to my wife. She suffers from my steady comments about books, no matter whether I'm gushing praise or heaping scorn. Well, it turns out that the excess in verbiage was a character's flaw. A ...more
Robert Negut
Rather surprisingly for Modesitt, there's practically no mention of the environment and ecology in this book. There's also little put forward regarding how a future society should function. There is, however, plenty of talk about, or in fact against, religion, as well as much about certain other defining characteristics of humanity, so it's certainly still Modesitt, largely wrapping philosophy in space opera in order to get some ideas across to a wider audience.
What I can say about the book is t
Not his best work, but by no means his worst either. The plot is really a thin disguise for a moral commentary which is similar to some of his other books.

The major quibble I had with this book was one of the characters, Fitzhugh, spoke in an incredibly irritating manner which appeared just to be a way for the author to show off the range of his vocabulary, for example he 'perambulates' everywhere instead of walks. Although Fitzhugh was meant to be an academic, some of it just seemed unnecessar
Spencer B
The is an axiom of science fiction that must be obeyed. The author must show at least a rudimentary understanding of the impacts of his imagined technology on society. As it is all imagination, failing to imagine how society might be impacted by the advances you imagine shows contempt for your readership.

intelligent nanotechnology robots capable of reading thoughts and decoding input from aural nerves exists and all it is used for is as a suicide pill for assassin spies.


The characters take f
Nice story of the importance of the humanities and arts, working along side hard science in a military situation.
Timothy Finucane
More an exploration of politics and secular/religious battles than truly hard science fiction. There was some hard science in the plot, but it really took a back seat to the political story. The book is written in a first person perspective, and not for any one character, but for each main character. That took some getting used to when I started the book. I'm just not a huge fan of the first person perspective. By the end of the book I was feeling like this story really deserved more than one bo ...more
The story was ok. The incredibly stilted dialogue was distracting.
This book was pretty bad. No suspense, mystery, nothing. The Goodman/Bond character was completely useless considering how his story finishes. The writing of Fitzhugh's character was ridiculous, why not just have him sound intelligent instead of sounding like someone trying to sound intelligent. When reading Fitzhugh's chapters I would cogitate that I should just perambulate away from this book. I enjoy Modesitt's Recluce novels for the most part but this first venture into reading his Sci-Fi no ...more
Not his best work. The primary plot, while seemingly unique simply masks an underlying plot that is a moralistic commentary that we have seen many times before in his other work. Finishing the book left me feeling like I had read another, and sparked memories of other works that have expressed similar viewpoints. In the end nothing seemed resolved, simply a continuous thread that leads to...nowhere. I expected more from this author, and instead I found a retread.

Will I eventually add this to my
If I could give this a 7.5/10 I would. I felt this book had a great beginning and middle but once the Artifact is found I was kind of getting disappointed as to what it was and what it stood for. I liked the different character view points, the vividness of the Planet as well, and it had just the right amount of relationship b.s. you'd expect from a hard sci-fi. All in all I'm glad this is just a stand alone novel but I wish the ending had been just as exciting as the the first 350+ pages.
Good writing, decent characters, awful plot.
One of the darkest most mysterious books I've ever read in science fiction. It's been a while since I've read this, and the characters didn't really stick with me. I remember the plot.... but the environment of a sunless planet racing through the emptiness of space and all the other enviromental details have really stuck with me over the years. If anything sticks with as many books as I've read, it was worth reading.
Jim Shannon
This book was a real struggle for me to get into only because I had a lot of things going on since I began page 1. Normally a book of this size, takes me about a month to read. I like the authors writing style. I didn't like the 4 points of view the author used for each of the main characters. The use of the secondary characters were handled well. I'll read this author again, no problem. On a scale of 1-10, I'd rate it a 7.
Rod Hyatt
The first hundred pages delivered no clues as to the direction of the story. After the mystery was finally introduced and investigated, the book ended without them figuring anything out. The writing and story telling was good after 100 pages. The end was not fulfilling. Next time a book takes that long to get me interested, I'll be on to the next.
Old school space opera. Surprisingly, I'm going to say that I wished this book was twice as long. I would have put up with more character development (not that there wasn't any), and more political background.

Additionally, I can't remember the last time I've read a book that was told in four first person narratives. Very interesting.
I first started reading L.E. Modesitt Jr with the recluse series. Ive read several of his other sci-fi book and they always read to me as less formulaic. The Eternity Artifact has a good amount of realistic hard science and a great plot that kept wanting to know what happened next.
Feb 10, 2009 Beth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SciFi Readers
I liked the style of the book. Each chapter was told by a different character and was written in that char's thought/voice style. That kept me interested because I always wanted to find out how each character viewed the situations they were placed in. Chang was my favorite I think.
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L. E. (Leland Exton) Modesitt, Jr. is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels. He is best known for the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, lived in Washington, D.C. for 20 years, then moved to New Hampshire in 1989 where he met his wife. They relocated to Cedar City, Utah in 1993.

He has worked as a Navy pilot, lifeguard, delivery boy, u
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