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Across the Sea of Suns (Galactic Center #2)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews

From the Nebula Award-winning author comes a newly revised edition of this story in his classic Galactic Center series.

Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 1st 1987 by Spectra (first published January 1st 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,997)
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Steve Stuart
Jun 26, 2012 Steve Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book without realizing it was a sequel to In the Ocean of Night (which seems to be a pretty common problem; the edition I read didn't try very hard to label it as the second in a series). I'm sure I didn't fully understand all of the references to off-stage characters from the previous book, and it took me a while to assemble the back story of how the main character, Nigel, had discovered an alien artifact and had his mind altered as a result. There was certainly no lengthy exposi ...more
Mouldy Squid
Aug 13, 2010 Mouldy Squid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard Science Fiction fans or Hard-core SF geeks
Shelves: science-fiction
Part two of a series that has taken almost 30 years to finish. This book real requires having read the first of the series, In the Ocean of Night.

I like Benford, I really do. I love Timescape and Artifact. However, both this and the first book have not aged well. While the core story is still interesting and compelling, all of the "extra" seems forced and unnecesary. In the 1970s when they were written, the idea of menage a trois would been cutting edge, relevant and spicy. Now, it seems trite
R. Michael Duttera
Ah, now the Galactic Center series is beginning to take on the scale I like in my space opera- epic. I liked the episodes that took place on Lancer and vicinity better than the bits about the Earth Invasion and ongoing destruction by the mech "civilization(s?)" Wish Benford would have cut the threesome relationship politics parts out- I think they detract from the main story and are unnecessary; likely the editors wanted some PC, undermine-the-idea-of-nuclear-family-propaganda included, sigh. Oh ...more
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Across the Sea of Suns (1984)353 pages by Gregory Benford.

This is a sequel to In the Ocean of Night, the second book in the Galactic Center series.

This book picks up what must be several years later. Nigel Walmsley is older, but still the central character on the Lancer portion of the book. Lancer is a ship/asteroid/colony that Earth sent to Ra to check out a some transmissions. They make contact with the EMs (native life), but are soon ordered by Earth to a new destination. During that trip th
Jun 23, 2010 Gendou rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: schizophrenics who can follow overlapping conversations
Benford's quirky writing styles are endlessly frustrating. The "ship speak" is a tangled mess of different voices carrying on separate overlapping conversations and is impossible to understand. The mixture of hard science fiction and poetry is irritatingly vague.

Brilliant physics and exobiology.
A strange obsession on gender reassignment...
Benford's favorite word is "wan"; he over-uses it!
Dec 21, 2015 Vanessa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, abandoned
Spectacularly poorly written. Borderline incomprehensible. In the end, unreadable--and abandoned. It's a shame because it seemed like there was some good hard SF in there, but it was all buried in a cut-and-paste mashup of multiple speakers' half-sentences rendered in an Englishman's caricature of American accents. I think the idea was to convey the way that Nigel perceived many things at once and synthesized them in his unique brain. In the hands of a good writer it might have worked, but Benfo ...more
Nov 09, 2014 McKenzie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, almost-4
“Across the Sea of Suns,” is a brilliant book written by an astrophysicist, and creator of the first computer virus, Gregory Benford. I have no idea why this has been overlooked by the hard sci-fi community. Perhaps it is because it is a blend of hard sci-fi with postmodern stylistics? Superb plotting, exacting descriptive detail on shifting physical phenomena, imaginative and realistic world building and superior exo-biological species development, good human characterization and dialogue.

Mar 01, 2014 Jerico rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tighter and more cohesive than its predecessor, Across... Is another good book that splits its narrative into a space and an earthbound thread. The space thread is a little chaotic but packed with the kind of imagination that stretches the mind and engages the sense of wonder that insane scales inspire. The earthbound segments are written better, and follow a shipwrecked sailor going through a first contact scenario of surprising subtlety. Better but still not as good as the later books in style ...more
Sep 03, 2008 Hien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michele (Mikecas)
(Si riferisce all'insieme dei romanzi: Nell'Oceano della Notte e Attraverso un Mare di Soli)


Un ritorno nel passato abbastanza remoto, per questo mese. Ma un ritorno che ha uno scopo anche didattico, come ormai mi succede spesso. Quello che voglio far vedere è come si è sviluppata quella che è definita oggi la space opera, ma che era semplicemente la Fantascienza all'origine, prima che nascessero le infinite diramazioni che la compongono oggi, ognuna con
A travers la mer des soleils est le second tome de l’épopée de Benford le centre galactique. Il nous raconte la suite des aventures de Nigel Walmsley, déja rencontré dans le premier tome, Dans l’océean de la nuit. Celui-ci va être envoyé dans l’espace profond, pour tenter de découvrir les systèmes proches du nôtre, et d’y vérifier si la vie a pu ou non s’y établir. Bien sûr, la vie y existe sous une forme étrange, et bien sûr, la civilisation des machines la surveille et tente de la réduire à né ...more
Megs Underwood
We have here the continuation of Nigel Walmsley's journey, starting from a research base on the moon and heading with alien technology deep into space, where humans suspect someone is trying to signal them from. Meanwhile, the earth is experiencing an incredible and unusual invasion - intelligent aliens seeded into the sea and a host of deadly parasites - that is played out in a survival drama on an island. This island drama is extremely well written, very subtle in all the things implied and wh ...more
Definitely more coherent overall than the first Walmsley book (In The Ocean of Night). The plot lines hold together better, at least. The science explained a bit more clearly. But, danged if Benford didn't do it AGAIN at the end of this one: two epic things happen that should be total game changers. But he slips them in so quickly and dryly, that I blinked and had to reread a couple sentences 'cause I thought I'd skipped a page (or chapter!!) But, nope! He really did just leap from C to Z, so to ...more
Nov 25, 2008 Robin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi enthusists
Recommended to Robin by: face2face book group
Shelves: not-worth-it
This was assigned reading from a sci-fi/fantasy group. In full disclosure - I'm more fantasy then sci-fi but I really found very little in this book I liked.

After I got most of the way through it I found out it was book 2 of a series and I'm not sure that not reading the first one was a factor or not. I personally think that books in a series need to stand on their own (my husband is a writer and his books have references so the reader is not "plopped into the middle". I'm not sure that would ha
Jason Voegele
Aug 14, 2014 Jason Voegele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
A much more even and consistent work than its predecessor, In the Ocean of Night, this book is an engaging read throughout even though it suffers somewhat from a pseudo-literary style. Benford is at his best when he's working with the big ideas and falters a bit when he's writing about people and personalities and social science.
Jun 23, 2013 Mj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
From a SF POV, this is another intriguing situation set up by the author.

As a novel it has a few drawbacks. First, the back-story isn't very well sketched-in, so it doesn't stand in its own right. You really need to read "In the Ocean of Night" first to get full value from this book.

Second it's quite had to believe the political manoeuvring could so easily isolate Nigel. It feels a bit stereotyped that Nigel’s analysis is right, but no one supports him.

It ends on a massive cliff-hanger, obvious
Nov 06, 2015 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in the day with the "Killer B's", Benford, Brin and Bear we had an embarassment of riches in galaxy spanning hard SF. SO-called hard SF Is not what the market wants right now, maybe THE MARTIAN will whet an appetite. Thus was a good continuation. Read in order.
Keith Vai
After reading "In the Ocean of Night", I was hungry for more so I picked up this book on Kindle.

This book continues the story of Nigel as he seeks out alien technology and tries to explain why we have not heard from any alien race yet. The book is actually two stories intertwined: one in space and one on Earth starting in 2087.

The tone and the content are radically different from the first book. This book feels more like a modern sci fi. Although I could not remember what happened next, I felt l
Michael Anderson
Feb 22, 2014 Michael Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walmsley learns more about the scale of the machines' billion year war against organic lifeforms, and Earth is targeted and attacked more than once. Good stuff, better paced than #1
Jun 26, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Fun read. Better than it's predecessor, In the Ocean of Night.
Norman Howe
Another entry in Benford's sweeping saga of galactic warfare.
Michael Schulz
Liked it better than the first one
Oct 24, 2008 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting ideas, but also huge internal inconsistencies (they travel at 0.98 light speed, fine — but they're encountering multiple life-bearing planets within 9 light years of Earth?) and with too much needlessly "arty" (at least unconventional) writing. Also? Anticlimactic.

Took me forever to finish reading it — this book put me to sleep faster and more consistently than any in recent memory.

Frankly, I'd love to see Benford, or someone else, start from scratch with the ideas and character
Miguel Ángel
It was quite exciting at the begining but then the story started to being more and more confusing and dull for me, then when I realized that It was part of a saga, I just wanted to kill myself because there was no sense in reading a book that is not the first part on a saga specially when it's about science fiction, anyhow this book did get one thing right, it brang my imagination to the limit for me to create in my mind the landscapes and scenarios where the story was developed.
I like the story but just something about Benfords way of writing that just doesnt work for me
Tufty McTavish
Some of this is a tough read, especially the collective conversation pieces aboard Lancer. It also feels a bit disjointed with kinda parallel threads, and an oddly runway ending that, frankly, lost me for a bit in the run-up to the final scene which seemed to end far, far too quickly. Just as it got interesting again after a confusing sequence it's turn, turn, turn, and over, without detail or build-up.
Linda Hollingsworth
This is dense epic science fiction, presenting fascinating descriptions, provocative ideas, and an oftentimes compelling story. Be warned that this is part of a series and perhaps the easiest book to get into it, rather than the actual first book in the series, which is really dense with background material.
May 14, 2012 LKM rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The story sounded like it might have been interesting, if I could have understood what the hell was going on through the book. I could not get into the writing style at all, it was confusing half the time (or most the time), and I didn't much care for the characters either.
Feb 28, 2013 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a travesty of bad writing. I think I want to coin a few phrase "Clark Syndrom" where brilliant and amazing Sci Fi ideas are lost in horrible story telling. If this book didn't have the first 5/8th of the book I would probably have given it a 5 star rating.
Robert Bogdon
While the story itself is interesting, the main character is a drag on the story throughout the entire book. When combined with the attempts to write overlapping dialog, this book is just as tough of a read as the first one and I certainly wouldn't recommend it.
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Gregory Benford is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.

As a science fiction author, Benford is best known for the Galactic Center Saga novels, beginning with In the Ocean of Night (1977). This series postulates a galaxy in which sentient organic life is in constant warfare wit
More about Gregory Benford...

Other Books in the Series

Galactic Center (6 books)
  • In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center, #1)
  • Great Sky River (Galactic Center, #3)
  • Tides of Light (Galactic Center, #4)
  • Furious Gulf (Galactic Center, #5)
  • Sailing Bright Eternity (Galactic Center, #6)

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