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Galaxies Like Grains of Sand

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  416 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In Galaxies Like Grains of Sand, Brian W. Aldiss tells the tale of mankind’s future over the course of forty million years. Each of these nine connected short stories highlights a different millennia in which man has adapted to new environments and hardships.
Paperback, 195 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by House of Stratus (first published 1959)
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Daniel Villines
Nov 17, 2014 Daniel Villines rated it liked it
Galaxies Like Grains of Sand is a solid work of science fiction. It accomplishes what so many books in the genre surprisingly fail to do, which is to raise questions about our collective future based upon our past and present conditions. For those that want to consider far reaching ideas about our long-term societal and human evolutionary paths, Galaxies Like Grains of Sand has no shortage of such ideas.

My issues with Galaxies stem from its structure. It attempts to be one complete text that p
Patrick Gibson
Visionary history of mankind as told in nine installments by its replacement. Tells the tale like a geologist would - using million, thousand, and hundred year increments - Aldiss shows how man is the perfect seedling for populating the universe as well as the ultimate vehicle for its self-destruction. Man ruins the Earth, leaves Earth for the stars, tackles the problems of time travel through an integrated form of speech-like alchemy, rediscovers a still populated Earth but does not believe it ...more
M Strawberry
This is easily one of the best sci-fi novel, or just book, that I have ever read. This book is old and I had to obtain my copy via eBay, but it was worth it. The eight interconnected stories come to a surprising conclusion, and overall is very thought-provoking. I liked how each chapter focused on a different part in human history. While I do feel that this book could have used some more detail (the book is fairly slim compared to other books such as say, Dune) it is still a wonderful and ...more
Jul 05, 2009 J rated it really liked it
A set of vignettes composed as a 'history of the future', I found Aldiss's writing to have a good rhythm and clarity. The sense that all of humanity's intentions can be captured in a bit of 10-20 pages stories is done with surprising skill. There's a very little bit of age, as the book was written in the early post-war period, but I think even the most imaginative of authors would have had problems with coming up with the effects of information technology. Overall, a good read.
Jul 09, 2011 Lorelei rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
It's a mixed bag, a collection of stories that forms a 'future history' that spans the lifetime of the galaxy. The last story is brilliant, if somewhat torturously written. If you aren't starting with a large vocabulary and a willingness to improvise pronounciation I suggest read this with a thesaurus or dictionary at hand. I do consider it well worth the read if you've leisure time to spare.
Aug 17, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The vignettes tied together well, but I wish some stories were longer and more developed. I liked the last few pages very much, though, which I appreciate since so many times the last chapter of a book is the most disappointing.
Richard Wood
Aug 23, 2015 Richard Wood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to go too far wrong with Brian Aldiss. Chapters/Stories were just the right size for me - I could read the book in short 30-page bursts.
Feb 10, 2016 KC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
this is a collection of short stories Aldiss then assembled into a longer future history; it doesn't come off too successfully. nevertheless some of the vignettes are quite strong.
Nov 24, 2015 Yacoob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nonstop jsem četl už hodně dávno, takže jsem Aldissezase znovu objevil. A nelituju.
Aug 10, 2010 Julia rated it it was amazing
probably one of the best science fiction books i"ve ever read - beautiful!!!
Gina Andrews
Nov 21, 2016 Gina Andrews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 1960s-sci-fi
Very interesting book, covering the changes man goes through
Sep 26, 2016 May rated it liked it

Future history -
tracing man's evolution
to galaxy's death.
P.J. Wetzel
Sep 05, 2014 P.J. Wetzel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories that Aldiss wrote many years ago, recompiled and republished recently. The stories stitch together the future history of mankind from the near future through to the galaxy's demise due to a form of proton decay. It is quaintly anachronistic, referring to 'reels' of holographic 3-D cinematography, intelligent machines communicating their digital information to each other by punch card, and using the term 'island universe' for the Milky Way galaxy--a term that fell ...more
Ericka Clou
This is from my Dad's collection. Before I get to the substance of the book, I think it's worth mentioning that my Dad's copy is from 1960 and it has a cigarette ad right in the middle of the book. Wow. Anyway, the novel is about the history of the Earth and our Galaxy in the very distant future. It reminds me a lot of Cloud Atlas, even though it was written so long before Cloud Atlas. I enjoyed it a great deal, and the story felt cohesive though I just noticed when examining the book that many ...more
Apr 14, 2014 J rated it it was ok
A short, easy read. But I feel like in all that was presented of histories in our future that there would be less ambiguity about the technologies at given eras. It's as if he almost purposely dodged that element if scifi altogether. The only real places where you get a sense of technology are in the chapter about the Isolationist and the end chapter. Even at that, the tech didn't reflect what you'd expect from a galaxy-wide culture(s) over the lifespan of the galaxy. A disappointment overall.
Mar 23, 2014 Fred rated it liked it
What a weird book. The fixup is a little clunky but the stories are quite fine. The American paperback is actually the one to read rather than the UK Canopy of Time. Faber in England would not print Aldiss' extensive interludes between each story but Galaxies has them as Aldiss desired.
Finally, there was a book of Aldiss criticism called Apertures by David Wingrove; it focuses heavily on this collection and is more well written and insightful than I am at the moment. Recommended.
Amelia Clark
Las nueves historias que componen el libro describen en detalle los procesos subjetivos de enfrentarse a la infinidad del universo, a la conciencia sobre la propia mortalidad y a la pequeñez que sólo puede inducir el contemplar el cosmos. Además relata el recorrido de la humanidad a través de millones de años a partir de viñetas que son fotografías de los momentos de transición, conflicto o crisis.
Feb 22, 2016 Manuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is a chain of loosely connected short stories, racing farther and farther into an incredibly distand future.
The book from 1960 reads just like that era. It has a very recognizable taste.

The stories itself tend to run each other and itself over. No matter how much time passes, human are still recognizably there and they still do the same things. Like the years, it is not countable, how often we repeated our mistakes and yet cannot learn not to make them again.
Andrew Brady
Mar 25, 2013 Andrew Brady rated it really liked it
This deserves four stars for it's ambition. Personal human stories during the various epochs of humanity's future. There is definitely an Olaf Stapledon feel to the story of humanity here, which I sense was Aldiss' intention/tribute.

The near-future stories work far better than the distant ones. Like the "Cities in Flight" series by James Blish, there just isn't enough page-room to depict or explain a far-future evolving galaxy in a completely satisfying manner.
Jun 09, 2015 Jtumblepop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libros
Lúcida previsión del futuro de la raza humana en una novela que narra la evolución del hombre durante los milenios, en un repaso que parece más que una visión del futuro, un repaso de nuestro pasado. Todo con la brillantez y el genio de alguien como Aldiss, que ha demostrado su clarividencia husmeando en la nebulosa del porvenir y la ciencia ficción.
Mar 01, 2014 Antonio rated it liked it
Shelves: english, sci-fi
A collection of short stories explaining the fall of humankind from a near future to the end of times, really, the end of everything. What a bravura, Mr. Aldiss. Even I can't say this is a must-reading book for everyone, some of stories really deserve a try. "Who can replace a man", just as an example of a really good one. Some of them are more run-of-the-mill, but a nice effort anyway.
Dec 29, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
This short story collection is organized as a future history extending into the remote future. The stories don't particularly connect, but neither do they contradict. When written, it may have been perceived as "pithy", but at this date, it seems a bit shallow. I enjoyed reading it again, but it's no classic.
Apr 16, 2015 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was kind of like taking a series of time travel hops forward, seeing how things have progressed after each jump. There were a couple of ideas that I consider to be cliched, but then they were handled in new and creative ways.
May 06, 2015 Zuzana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ačkoliv mám aldisse jinak moc ráda, Galaxie jako zrnka písku mě až na závěrečnou povídku příliš nenadchla.
Sep 27, 2014 Pedro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, ethics
This is some of the most disturbing sci/fi I have read in my life. It is extremely deep and thought-provoking.
Jan 11, 2015 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A couple of neat story concepts but the execution was lacking. I am glad that I read it, but I wont be reading it again.
Daniel Brewster
Aug 08, 2015 Daniel Brewster rated it it was amazing
I read the 'Faber Finds' edition. Beautiful, striking prose meets an epic collection of captivating stories spanning the history of our universe. What a pleasure to read.
Rui Pedro
Rui Pedro rated it liked it
Apr 27, 2013
Ernest rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2016
Rachel Chapman
Rachel Chapman rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2014
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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss is one of the most important voices in science fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition. Adored for his innovative liter
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“Of the laws we can deduce from the external world, one stands above all: the Law of Transience. Nothing is intended to last. The trees fall year by year, the mountains tumble, the galaxies burn out like tall tallow candles. Nothing is intended to last — except time. The blanket of the universe wears thin, but time endures. Time is a tower, an endless mine; time is monstrous. Time is the hero. Human and inhuman characters are pinned to time like butterflies to a card; yes, though the wings stay bright, flight is forgotten. Time, like an element which can be solid, liquid or gas, has three states. In the present, it is a flux we cannot seize. In the future, it is a veiling mist. In the past, it has solidified and become glazed; then we call it history. Then it can show us nothing but our own solemn faces; it is a treacherous mirror, reflecting only our limited truths. So much is it a part of man that objectivity is impossible; so neutral is it that it appears hostile.” 0 likes
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