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The Golden Globe (Eight Worlds #3)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  786 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, John Varley is truly one of the "greats" of science fiction, comparable only to Heinlein, Herbert, Asimov, and Clark. Now the all-time master returns -- with his long-awaited epic novel of life beyond the great beyond...All the universe is a stage, and Sparky Valentine is its itinerant thespian. He makes his way from planet to planet a ...more
Hardcover, 425 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Ace Hardcover
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,232)
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Mitchell
This is my favourite science fiction book by my favourite science fiction author. Set in the same universe as Steel Beach (a modified version of Varley’s “Eight Worlds” universe), The Golden Globe features one of the most memorable narrators in science fiction: Kenneth “Sparky” Valentine, a washed-up child television star who now wanders the Solar System as an itinerant thespian, not to mention conman, thief and general miscreant. Sparky’s wisecracking narratorial voice is easily the most amusin ...more
Elizabeth Wallace
I almost (almost!) liked this one more than Steel Beach. It was close. It's all about a wandering vagabond of an actor and his dog, about a thousand years in the future. He's got to get from Pluto to the Moon before they cast the part of King Lear, and he's having a tough time of it, what with running out of money and being pursued by a psychopathic assassin. The usual...
Alex Sarll
I think this is the only book I've ever owned with both a mail order coupon and an address for the publisher's website in the back; a perfect encapsulation of the odd position a slice of SF from 1998 holds, neither quite classic nor modern in its style and its projections. But you shouldn't trust that statement too far, and the same goes for narrator Sparky Valentine. He's dangerously silver-tongued, and that's about the only statement you can reliably apply to him, since this actor/crook can ch ...more
Nicholas Armstrong
Golden Globe is thus far my favorite Varley. I haven't read the Titan series yet because I'm an ASS but I don't see how it could beat Globe for a place in my heart.

The main character is deeply conflicted, original, and interesting. As Varley often does, he jumps through chronology. We spend portions of the book in the present (er, future?) and in the past (er, still future?) of the protagonist. What I found most surprising was that I was as invested in both settings. When I read a book that doe
...more
Punk
SF. Sparky Valentine, child star turned con artist/actor, is on the run from the Charonese mob. Can he make it to Luna in time to play Lear? Though that's only nominally the plot. Mostly this book doesn't have one. It reads like a mix of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, The Garbage Pail Kids, and Shakespeare. And it does several things that I normally won't tolerate.

It breaks the fourth wall, repeatedly; Sparky not only talks to the reader, he addresses the typesetter, requesting that they stop p
...more
Noel
The Golden Globe is an Eight Worlds novel -- mostly closely related in setting and world to Steel Beach, which was one of my favorite science fiction novels to come out of the 1990s.

Will you smell a whiff of Double Star as you read it? My goodness, yes, you will. On the other hand, Double Star, by Robert A. Heinlein was one of his best, so there's no shame in that.

But Varley does give things in his novel a uniquely Varleyish twist. The characters are entertaining, and the worldbuildling as lavis
...more
Kathryn
Okay, so this book is about a hundred-year-old actor who's on the run from the law, and who travels illegally from planet to planet, taking whatever acting work he can find, occasionally changing sex when there's a part he just CAN'T pass up, gender be damned.

There's also a lot of flashbacks to his life as a child-star (and this is in a civilization where career of a child star can last, oh, at least fifty years), a race across the solar system to get the lead role in "King Lear", and a red-hair
...more
David
John Varley's "The Golden Globe" isn't exactly a sequel to "Steel Beach." It's sort of a follow on. Part of it takes place before and during the time of "Steel Beach," while most of it takes place afterwards. The vast majority of the book happens elsewhere, though. With that out of the way, it's still a good book. I think I prefer "Steel Beach" to it. But, it's a close call. "The Golden Globe" revolves far less around sex and the decadence of the society and more around one person and his flight ...more
Steven Cole
The distance between successful actor and successful con artist is small indeed, and The Golden Globe has a lot of fun exploring the line that separates the two. The main character, Sparky Valentine, is that guy, and Varley has him pulling rabbits out of his hat the whole story long. He's out among the outer planets running from killers, pulling cons, acting in whatever manner he can figure out, loving his dog, and spending time with the lovely ladies he meets along the way.

This book has the str
...more
Nicolas
Avec ce roman, l'auteur reprend l'univers (plutôt inspiré de Heinlein) déja présenté dans Gens de la Lune, le canal Ophite et Persistence de la vision pour nous y présenter l'errance de Sparky Valentine, enfant star de la télé (ça ne s'appelle pas comme ça, mais le coeur y est), interprète prodige de Shakespeare et surtout acteur de théâtre à la physionomie (et même au sexe) malléable à l'envi.
On le voit donc voyager à travers tout le système solaire (de Pluton jusqu'à Mars) à la recherche du rô
...more
Andreas
Another original, intelligent and inventive novel from John Varley. There is no clear plot or clearly defined progression of events. The action is in the first person, with frequent long flashbacks to childhood and early adulthood in the third person. Our hero, Kenneth “Sparky” Valentine, is an itinerant thespian and con man. The setting is Varley’s “Eight Worlds” universe, but the novels in “Eight Worlds” are only very looseky linked so there is no requirement to read them in order.

The story fo
...more
Isabel
By sitting on the couch I think he meant to signal he was still with me in spirit, but by taking the distant ground he was letting me know that, if she gets violent again, Sparky, you're on your own. Toby was an artist, not a pugilist. If I'd wanted a bodyguard, I'd have bought a Rottweiler.

Considering how much I liked the other novels and short stories in the EightWorlds series, I was surprised to find that I wasn't enjoying the last book in the series very much. Although the story did drag a b
...more
Dave Rosenberg
Currently re-reading for the first time in about a decade. This book is so much better than I remember, and I wish Varley had spent more time filling out the universe he sketches out in this book, Steel Beach, etc. Varley is awesome, a true student of Heinlein. Enjoying the hell out of reading this again.
Kristin
I have mixed feelings about this book. I found the storyline intriguing, but the pages and pages of extraneous exposition incredibly dull and irrelevant to the story. For one example, I really didn't care how a outpost on the planet Oberon (or was it the planet Oberon?) was made and gravity enhanced. There were other places similar to this were it seemed the "science" was just stuck in. While I like science in science fiction, in this case it was distracting. This 500 page book would have been o ...more
Bruce
Exceptional. Varley really knows how to build a world, and populate it with characters that grab me and keep me turning the pages. Richly imagined and satisfyingly arranged, his future solar system is a place where my suspension of disbelief is kept fat, happy and completely enthralled.
Mike
May 21, 2008 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mike by: Ratscoat
Shelves: science-fiction
Ratscoat just forced me to read this. OK, she didn't but she described it as "a sci-fi novel where a con-man does Shakespere in space" and I decided that she had forced me to read it. I mean, really, is there anyway I can resist it?
The short answer is No, No I couldn't resist it.
And I'm glad I didn't. Really good story. I could have done with more con artistry, but it was great all the same. It's basically a life story too, and there's hints at stuff that seem to have happened in another book, b
...more
to'c
I don't know what it is about this book. I mean, Varley is one of my favorite authors. This is one of my favorite Varley universes. But nothing happens on the entire book! No big action, no big expositions, nothing Earth shattering. But I was on page 480-something before I noticed! The book is that captivating. Then when things finally do start to heat up..,
Bernard
One of the most entertaining works of science fiction that I’ve read in a long time. I’ve read Shakespearean sci-fi, I’ve read future media science fiction, I’ve read stories of future con-men. This book beautifully blends all these elements (and more) into a compelling tale. Jumping back and forth between the later years and childhood of one Sparky Valentine, Actor/Grifter/Former Child Star, the Golden Globe drew me in and kept me there. Funny, moving and imaginative. Author John Varley builds ...more
Niels
This is a very solid character driven science fiction book. I'm always happy to find some SF that isn't about saving all of humanity or large subsections thereof from some dreadful peril. There are still gunfights and chases in this, and it's plenty entertaining, but in the end it's just about one man with an intriguing past and some skeletons in the closet, making his way from the edge of the solar system back home to the moon.

Was even headed for four stars, but then the ending fell a bit flat.
Fred_SSC
gran, gran, gran libro. Nuevamente, Varley demuestra que la ciencia-ficción es un buen escaparate para escribir historias complejas, con personajes con una profundidad increíble.
Daniel Salvo
Increíble, pero... no pude terminarla. Comienza bien, pero va perdiendo fuelle cuando se pone en plan intimista, narrándonos las (supongo) entretenidas peripecias del ambiente farandulero. El viaje de un planeta a otro, la aparición de algunos artefactos extraordinarios (esas estructuras construidas en el espacio con... telarañas producidas por arañas gigantes genéticamente modificadas) son indicios de la novela que pudo ser y no fue.
Tracey
A first-person/unreliable narrator telling his life's story as an actor & occasional scoundrel in a far future time when changing genders is outpatient surgery and space travel is unbearably common.

Varley does an excellent job of worldbuilding (even if many of his novels basically share the same world) and the characters are memorable. The plot meanders a bit, as it's full of flashbacks, but is generally a fun read.
netjeff
"Shakespeare in Space": Would have been 5-stars except for a slow start. The main char is a stage actor, and much of the first 25% of the book involves a production of "Romeo & Juliet" on a space station out beyond Pluto. However, the book picks up, and was great at the end. I also liked Varley's "Steel Beach", and this book is the second in that same universe (but only loosely related).
Robert A
Around '99-01, I spent 10 days in jail, Kern County. An inmate gave me THIS book. It
took three days to read (lots of time on my hands) and I've been reading Varley ever since.
Sparky will always be my hero....

And I never thanked that inmate...So, thanks Sudden Death! Sud, had a solid black, vertical tattoo on his arm that read, SUDDEN (picture of a skull) DEATH. Oh, fond memories....
Lise
Jul 14, 2009 Lise rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed "Steel Beach"
Shelves: library
Apparently a companion book to "Steel Beach", which I haven't read. The best thing about the book is the rich mid-future world Varley describes. The plot soars all the way across the solar system and then crashes into a Deus ex Machina at the ending, which (apparently) is highly involved in the plot of the above mentioned book. Read the other one first, boys and girls.
Brad
My first Varley book. He seemed like a good writer who needed a stronger editor. The pretentious acting talk made me groan, the plot went completely MIA for most of the book only to return near the end but it wasn't satisfying.

I liked a lot of the descriptions and will likely check out some other Varley eventually but I'll be reading the reviews closely.
Sarah Fitzgerald
This is one of my favourite books. I have re-read it dozens of times. It combines a well-built world, fascinating characters and a riveting plot. In spite of some heavy subject matter, it remains light and full of humour. The life of a touring actor hasn't changed much throughout the development of civilization, and John Varley suggests it might not ever change.
Thomas
Shakespearean acting and intrigue in the post-singularity transhuman world. And there is a smart dog. Yes indeed.
Jim
Well, this story was a bit exasperating...the main character is pretty hard to like, considering he's a con-man and a thief, and even a Shakespearean actor :o). By the end, I finally had some sympathy for him, though he really made quite a mess of things needlessly. Kind of hard to overlook his crimes, really.
Camilla
I loved this book. I loved getting to know the main character, I enjoyed the slow unfolding of the world in which the story was set, and even though the action was deliberately paced, the writing kept me turning pages eagerly. Read it!
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Full name: John Herbert Varley.

John Varley was born in Austin, Texas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University.

He has written several novels and numerous short stories.He has received both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

More about John Varley...
Titan (Gaea, #1) Wizard (Gaea, #2) Demon (Gaea, #3) Steel Beach The Ophiuchi Hotline

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