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The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap, #1)
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The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  6,260 ratings  ·  264 reviews
1st UK hardcover edition, fine book in fine dw, a little page browning In stock shipped from our UK warehouse
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published November 22nd 1990 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (first published 1990)
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3am. Surely the right time.

Call me completely insane, but I've agreed to read this (I wrote a few months ago)

....after a conversation that went like this:

Me: I hate Thomas Covenant
Noela: But you have to read the Gap series
Me: Huh?
Noela: It is about a girl who has the most appalling things happen to her. You read a bit, put it down thinking 'that's it! No more' but then you can't help yourself. You have to know what dreadful thing is going to happen to her next. You have to!
Me: Grumble, grumble,
The Gap really explores the cycle of hero/victim/villain. Between the first book and the last, the cycle has turned atleast twice, with the main characters exploring and fulfilling all the roles.

The Real story is a brutal book. No mistake, its a hard read. But between Donaldson's writing, and the compelling back story, it really sets the stage for a wider story. The characters do develop and change over time. This is a dark book, with dark characters, and is by no means a book that is intended f
I will tell you what I don't like about this book right up front, to warn those who might wish to be warned: there's a LOT of raping and psychological abusing of the main female character. In fact, it's an essential element of the story most of the way through the book. I don't criticize the actual book for it, because it was necessary in order to tell this particular story about this particular man who was acting fully within his character to do such a thing. But it's still really unpleasant to ...more
Dr. Barrett  Dylan Brown, Phd
I found this on the street and thought it was a science fiction book... halfway through I decided I had stumbled into a perverse romance novel, than towards the end I thought it was sci-fi... now I'm not quite sure. It's not exactly romantic with all the rape and sexual torture so explicity described, but, well, I don't know. I liked it, but felt kinda dirty afterwards and I don't quite feel like reading the next book in the series. I'm kinda scared to be honest.
3.5 stars. Beginning volume of the very dark and gritty Gap Series. Excellent character study and hints of some very nice world-building. I will certainly read the next volume in the series though this book, on its own, was not spectacular.
I have been a fan of Stephen R. Donaldson since I read the Thomas Covenant Chronicles in the 70s. In this new series, the Gap Chronicles, Donaldson moves to science fiction from fantasy. Be warned, this is a brutal series to read (like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), but it is also a phenomenal study in character development. The first book is the most difficult, and really only sets the stage for the rest of the series. I read this series after it was completed so I was able to read it straig ...more
Kevin Brady
I like my fiction DARK.

There is no character in this series that isn't deeply, perhaps even fatally flawed. Donaldson is a master storyteller, well loved for his Thomas Covenant series. His science fiction is tighter paced, first-person viewpoints similar to Game of Thrones novels.

This story has it all for a hard-core science fiction lover. High tech, deep space, aliens that are distinctive and not humanoids, with very different motivations from ours. Blaster wars, derelict space-craft, pirates,
If this were a longer book, I'm not sure I would have finished it. There's an awful lot of rape and murder going on, and it's not always clear that it's serving the plot. The main character casually murders people by the dozen. In the middle of the book there are almost a dozen scenes in which the main character rapes one of the other major characters. This isn't described in excruciating detail, but it's stomach churning and probably makes this book something to avoid for anyone personally deal ...more
This is my first Donaldson book to read. I finished it in just a few days, and it wasn't because it was short, but because there was something about Donaldson's narrative style that made me going. The story is pretty simple, told by a narrator who doesn't leave much room for the reader to judge, who gives little description to the setting, the era, and what humankind has achieved and reached thus far, and who concentrates only on what the "real story" is. And yet, the story was captivating. Ther ...more
Joseph Michael Owens
I'm ready to roll when the rest of you guys are (Peter, Nick, Jack et al. & anyone else who wants to get in on a group read)!!

Not having picked up a Donaldson book since the second trilogy of Thomas Covenant, I was surprised to rediscover just how much I savor this author's prose. Reading his books is tantamount to Hannibal Lector adorning his meal with fava beans. I really feel like I get into the character's heads.

This book is essentially a science-fiction homage to Wagner's Ring Cycle, but it is considerably more than that. It deals with a cataclysmic love triangle, but it is considerably more than a soap opera or t
This is the first of the Gap series of five 5 novels, a grand space opera loosely based on the Nibelung Ring operas by Wagner (of which there is a synopsis at the end). A mere 184 pages, it is an idea piece that introduces three characters, and delves deeply into their psyche, especially that of the villain.

Donaldson’s space opera aspects are a constant mild annoyance, since he has taken the very worst of all clichés in the genre, without making even a token effort to be original. It’s like bein
Two men and one woman form a triangle composed of villian, victim and savior. But which person is which?

THE REAL STORY is the small-seed beginning of The Gap, one of the most hard-hitting sci fi series I've read. Powerful character archetypes find themselves on various sides of an ethical free-for-all. What can be justified when the goal is to keep humanity from being mutated into the enemy species?

I called it a series, but actually it's a 5-part novel, each book opening onto wider horizons than
Donaldson can write like nobody's business and this excursion into space opera is no exception. It is fast-paced and intricately plotted. There are a few reasons, however, that I cannot give it five stars. First of all, the level of violence, particularly sexual violence, is off the charts. It's excruciating to read and there are scenes you wish you could scrub from your brain. This violence is not gratuitous--it is key to understanding the actions and thinking of the characters, but it is defin ...more
Nikko Lee
Why I read this book:
First, I have to admit to having read the 5th book in the Gap Sequence without knowing anything about the previous books years ago. What stuck in my mind was the tragic bonds between two of the leading characters. When a friend offered me access to her vaste Scifi/fantasy library I decided to start at the beginning with The Real Story.

My one sentence summary:

The Real Story explores the basic principals of interdependance between a damaged UMCP officer and the outwardly ruthl
This is my opinion on the entire Gap Series, not just the first book, which is by the weakest.
Indeed this is one those book series that grows better which each installment.
What seems to start out as a very shallow exploitationist space opera eventually turns into a rather
complex narrative with at least most of the characters gaining a third dimension somewhere when you least expect.

The most memorable experience i had during the reading of the series happened somewhere in book three or four, when
D. B.
Sep 24, 2012 D. B. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thomas Covenant disciples, Wagner fans, people who get their kicks above the waistline
A short, disturbing read that might have been the science fiction equivalent of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness if it was a little deeper. As it is, it's little more than a whodunit turned inside-out, telling the story of an abduction and a framing in a twisted kind of detached retrospect. Donaldson's writing style makes us feel like we're watching a security video as the events unfold, with the overall impression of a small, significant event in the past that triggers a larger sequence; this ...more
It starts with a brief summary of the story "everyone knows" -- what the general public assumed happened to the villainous brute, the beautiful space police officer, and the dashing pirate. Then it tells you the real story, which is... not the same story at all.

This is a tough read. The protagonist has terrible, terrible things happen to her, and Donaldson is a writer who seems to enjoy writing about nasty, vicious, horrifically flawed people... and they show up all over the place. On the other
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Molly Ison
3.5 stars - This is almost the best work of Donaldson's that I've read, and it has a lot of strengths that I don't find in his other works, but also many of the same weaknesses. Full disclosure - I quit on both Thomas Covenant and Mirror of Her Dreams because I found the writing style irritating and the imagined worlds facile.

The way that the story is laid out is for the most part, very clever and engrossing. Even though the apparent plotline and main events are laid out in the first chapter, t
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Another recommendation from my husband, with the caveat that The Gap series can be a pretty dark and brutal read. I asked, "Dark and brutal like A Song of Ice and Fire but with spaceships?" His answer: "Actually, that's not such a bad comparison, in the horrible-things-happening-to-the-main-characters kind of way." So I picked this up knowing exactly what I was in for.

This first book, originally meant to be a standalone novella, only reads like an introduction to the three main characters. Howe
Jul 03, 2007 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci fi fans
Shelves: novels
Stephen Donaldson's "Gap" series is one my favorite series.

My father handed me the first one, saying, "This is full of violence and rape and you'll probably hate all the characters in this first book, but the story just keeps getting better."

He was right. The story begins with a space pirate attack on a police ship and the "rescue" of the last survivor on the police ship and concludes with the human race fighting the Amnion, an alien species capable of extreme genetic manipulation. Despite the
Have read the first few and last chapters and flicked through the rest. I love the Chronicles and picked this up while waiting for the last (10th?) book to be written. I know he does torture but this was just too misogynist and life is too short to be bothered, even though it was a short book. Probably a great scene setter for a new world for the later books in the series but I'll just have to miss out.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Was recommended by a friend who I hold in high regard as far as book recommendations. To his credit the underlying story of this book had me really interested in what would happen next but the graphic seemingly unending rape and sexual torture was just too much to take. I have read enough reviews to know that "if you can make it through this book..." I made it through and even started the second book but stopped reading when the rape/torture continued into that one as well.
This is my first Stephen Donaldson novel. Also my last. What a disgusting waste of time. I feel like I just plucked my eyeballs out with a butter knife and stuck my brain in a garbage compactor. This story contained 3% character development, 7% plot and 90% violent thoughts and sexual abuse.

If you ever think about reading this book, then you've already wasted too many seconds thinking about this.
The Real Story really lays on the story telling. The delivery is captivating, engaging, the substance has style, and feeling. Donaldson was into his work. Worthwhile.

The plot begins and ends in just 220 pages. Just how it manages to open up the rest of this long series is not clear, so that mystery makes book 2 look important, inevitable, and fascinating, while yet unopened.
Joseph Maloney
If you think this author can write the hell out of s fantasy novel just wait until you crack open this a Sci-fi masterpiece. The plot of this series is so complex and epic it makes George R. Martin's writing read like the directions on a bottle of shampoo.

As in his Thomas Covenant series, there are some very uncomfortable scenes of rape and torture but you're fooling yourself if you think you can write a story about true human nature and avoid these topics. You don't have to go beyond the front
Once again, Donaldson writes very well, about awful characters. I keep trying to like Donaldson books and he keeps writing "protagonist" characters I would punch, stomp, fold spindle and mutilate without qualms...

But he must be a good author. No other author I can think of, has ever made me *hate* their characters with such passion.
Austin Sheehan
This is a seriously good book.
Donaldson's 'The Real Story' describes the events on Com-Mine station leading up to the arrest of Angus Thermopyle from several different perspectives, each providing further insights than the previous.

It is really well written, the sci-fi is spot on, the mystery and intrigue is as captivating as is any other book I've read, and the characters are all believable and damaged (and therefore thoroughly relatable).

*spoiler alert* This is just the introduction of a seri
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novelist; in the United Kingdom he is usually called "Stephen Donaldson" (without the "R"). He has also written non-fiction under the pen name Reed Stephens.


Stephen R. Donaldson was born May 13, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prostheti
More about Stephen R. Donaldson...

Other Books in the Series

Gap (5 books)
  • The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge (Gap, #2)
  • The Gap Into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises (Gap, #3)
  • The Gap Into Madness: Chaos and Order (Gap, #4)
  • The Gap Into Ruin: This Day All Gods Die (Gap, #5)
Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #1) The Illearth War (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #2) The Power That Preserves (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #3) White Gold Wielder (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #3) The Wounded Land (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #1)

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