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Berserkers: The Beginning (Berserker #1,5)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  207 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
There had been a battle, and the Berserker met some terrible opponents, taking an awful wound. The cavity reached through level after level of machinery, deck after deck of armor, stopped only by the last inner defenses of the buried, unliving heart. The Berserker survived and crushed its enemy. When Hemphill saw the blasted cavity, he felt a shrinking fear, stunned by the ...more
Audio CD, 15 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 24, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange book to comment on (you know me by now about reviews). The reason why I this is a strange book is that it is in fact two books re-edited in to one. The basic premise is that a narrator has a reason to visit and "view" each of the separate and unrelated (and in some cases non-linear) stories and turn then in to a new narrative not present in the two individual books.

Now in general I am against such things as I find it lazy - why create a new story when you can take old ones and
Walt O'Hara
Berserkers: The Beginning is a repackaging of much older short story collection set in Fred Saberhagen's Berserker universe, a setting where an ancient warfare between two forgotten races spawned the Berserkers-- once thought to have been autonomous killing machines designed to be "ultimate weapons" but time and a long ago scrambling of their code has warped their programming to declare war on all life. Berserkers are the progenitors (or perhaps the heirs) of science fiction plot devices like "T ...more
Chris Gager
I'm coming to the end of Alice Munro's "The Beggar Maid" and will be stuck with "War and Peace" if I don't start something else. This book collects the earliest of the Berserker stories. I think I may have read some of this already in an anthology the author collected called "Machines That Kill." He included one of his own stories. I just started last night I'm enjoying it.

So far so good as I've read "Without a Thought" and "Goodlife," the latter being the story from the above referenced collect
Dec 18, 2015 Clay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories reminded me of Asimov's "I, Robot" stories because most of them have humans defeating the Berserker or its agents with some little trick of illogical reasoning, humanity or history that is unknown to the Berserker fleet. Asimov's robot stories were like solving logic puzzles against the Three Laws while Saberhagen's stories don't always equip the reader with enough "future" history or background on the characters involved to "solve" them on their own. Even so, the stories are ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Hugo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A collection of pulpy short stories where the heroes are brooding, the women are beautiful and headstrong and the villains are cold, calculating and indescribably inhuman. Originally written between 1967 and 1979, some of the stories show their age, but they are written in the classic "magazine" tradition, often with a twist and with a good dose of (usually rather morbid) humor.

Saberhagen uses only the bare minimum of description and exposition to make the story come through, like many of the "
Paris Chávez
This book was just ok. It was a bunch of loosely connected stories, similar to I Robot or Martian Chronicles. And like I Robot, a lot of the stories dealt with sort of logical or ethical problems encountered during a conflict with an entirely mechanical foe. I think one of my favorite stories was a warship encounters 2 little ships. One is carrying a bit of technology vital to the war effort. Both ships insist they are human. How do you determine which one is telling the truth?

However most of th
A collection of short stories spanning several decades covering the beginning of Saberhagen's "Berserker Wars." The wars are about self-replicating war machines built as weapons for a long ago battle between two alien species that has long since ended but the machines don't know it and their programming is all that remains.

That programming is to "destroy all life." The stories are very hit or miss, with some being very entertaining examinations of how a completely inhuman intelligence deals wit
Lots of short stories about a distant future where self-replicating machines are out to destroy all life

I have read this mainly because I really liked the Greg Bear stories "Forge of God" and "Anvil of Stars" where the same theme appears (but is worked out differently). One of the premises is that if you are an advanced civilisation, you become aware of how fragile you are for intruders and as a pre-emptive strike send out killer machines to defeat all life that might threaten you in the future.
Jun 17, 2010 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sidelined by a foot injury I picked this as distraction reading. Not a novel as I'd thought but a collection of interconnected short stories. The main conflict is the long battle between robotic ships programmed to destroy all organic life and the sentient species of the galaxy working more or less together to defeat the Berserkers. Only humans have capacity for actual violent resistance. The stories are a mixed bunch, some much better than others. Interesting allusions to myth, history and the ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed re-visiting these stories that I probably last read 30+ years ago. Some of the ideas explored here were still relevant, and the basic concept of these stories - giant implacable machines, bent on destroying all life - has been interwoven into the general fabric of SF storytelling. Taken as a whole, the overall structure of the stories became a little similar - plucky humans overcome world-destroying alien robots - and the role relegated to women in these stories is laughably dated, but ...more
Nov 05, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am so addicted to the Berserker series. For one, it proclaims on the front cover "your galaxy is toast, monkey boys" can you not read a book with a statement like that on the cover - it's insulting AND apocalyptic!

I think what I like is the idea of those dark killing machines (even scarier than Daleks) out there using humans to betray us and calling them Good Life (which means a nice clean death when they're done with you)...I admit I giggle at the Good Life fitness franchise regularly
Ricky Penick
Jul 24, 2012 Ricky Penick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was an experiment. I downloaded this audiobook from the library without having any idea what to expect. First of all, this is a collection of short stories masquerading as a novel. This wouldn't be so bad if they were actually connected by narrative or characters or location or theme, but unfortunately there is not much that binds them. In the end though, it doesn't matter because they are universally awful.
May 19, 2011 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could, I'd rate this between three and four stars. It was very good, slightly dated, but very good because it deals more with the psychological aspects of the characters than with the specifics of the science. There are some great character studies and inventive situations that keeps each of the vignettes fresh and interesting.
Ty Myrick
Good, but dated. A collection of magazine stories, not a one or five novels. I usually enjoy Golden Age sci-fi more, even though these were fine. The read this because I was intrigued after reading a more recent Berserker story. I would be happy to read the rest of the Berserker stories, but probably not in 5 book chunks.
May 28, 2011 Vinny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This restored my interest in the Berserker series. Short stories, many of them very good reads. Definitely a different style than a couple of the later books (see my reviews). I read this probably 30 years ago, so it's good to re-read and know that I still liked it.
Feb 20, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any science fiction fan
This would be an impressive science fiction venture even if it had been written more recently than thirty years ago. This book is comprised of several short stories tied together with related characters and events. It has some really beautiful things to say about humanity and the nature of life.
Daniel Velazquez
El argumento de la novela, es muy bueno, lo único que le quita es que son una serie de pequeñas historias.
May 11, 2016 Mathias rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
This book started out as 2 starts but ended up a strong 3.
Feb 04, 2013 Jayda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read....driving awesome
Jason Farley
Apr 30, 2008 Jason Farley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a fantastic set of science fiction short stories. Everything from very funny, to very tragic to, to poignant and thoughtful, to a few of the stories that are absolutely must reads.
Darren rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2012
Andrew G.
Andrew G. rated it it was amazing
Jun 20, 2016
Lee Newsum
Lee Newsum rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2013
Ivan rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2012
Cohan rated it liked it
Jul 13, 2008
Scott Hamilton
Scott Hamilton rated it really liked it
Jan 30, 2011
Mark Hawkins
Mark Hawkins rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2013
Matthew rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2015
Stan Bobbitt
Stan Bobbitt rated it really liked it
Feb 16, 2016
Morgan rated it it was ok
Oct 25, 2013
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Other Books in the Series

Berserker (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Berserker (Berserker, #1)
  • Brother Assassin (Berserker, #2)
  • Berserker's Planet (Berserker, #3)
  • Berserker Man (Berserker, #4)
  • The Ultimate Enemy (Berserker, #5)
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  • Berserker: Blue Death (Berserker, #8)
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  • Berserker Fury (Berserker, #10)

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