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Heart of the Comet

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,578 ratings  ·  50 reviews
An odyssey of discovery, from a shattered society through the solar system with a handful of men and women who ride a cold, hurtling ball of ice to the shaky promise of a distant, unknowable future.
Paperback, 479 pages
Published February 1st 1987 by Bantam Spectra (first published 1986)
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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank HerbertThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
S&L Top-100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Titles
332nd out of 1,031 books — 1,050 voters
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Space Opera
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,408)
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How hard is it to marry good science and good fiction? Hard enough judging by the regular sc-fi novels coming out like dandelion seeds. Perhaps you have to go all the way back to 1985 to get at the goods. At least that's what one scientist suggested when I saw his list of best sci-fi books on a blog recently. From the other suggestions by other scientists it was pretty easy to conclude they don't read a lot of any kind of fiction; Dune featured a lot. Jules Verne, H.G. Welles, etc. etc. Sounds l ...more
I put off reading this book for a very long time, for mathematical reasons. David Brin is one of my absolute favorite writers; let's say my opinion of him is a 9 out of 10 (and nobody gets a 10). Gregory Benford was an unknown quantity, but probability told me that I wouldn't like his writing as much as Brin's. Even if I rated Benford as an 8, the average of that would be 8.5, lower than my expectations for a Brin book. Are you following me so far?

For the first 100 pages of this book, I had no i
A very decent hard SF read. People colonize Haley's Comet. There are factions and intrigue. Wackiness ensues.
I expected so much more from Benford, given how well he did on Timescape.

Stupid people making stupid decisions. They deserved to die, but didn't. Well, some did, but that'd be giving too much away.

"Life is too short to read bad fiction." Skip this one.
So you have a plan - Find a comet, ride it through an orbit, during which you change its orbit, aim it at a dead world, harvest it for its resources and make life on a new world. Well you know from the beginning that this is just going to go so horribly wrong.

Over all a brilliant science fiction book, and though published back in 1986 the science hasn't dated.
Benjamin Atkinson
Jan 22, 2015 Benjamin Atkinson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hard sci-fi, near future, all time greats
Caveat- this is not for beginners. Fantastic, I loved Benford's Permutation City as well as David Brin's assorted novels, so I dived in. Both authors are brilliant men with real science backing up their prose. The book's structure is told through multiple points of view and this keeps the pace lively and the story moving along. The greatest aspect, however, is the amount of real science packed into such a well-paced and long read. I have seen many reviews listing this as a space-opera. It is not ...more
Caia Cameron
I'll keep this short because all of the reviews I read before opening this book pretty much sum it up. This book truly is the hardcore science fiction book that I was craving. It was an exciting ride. I would recommend this book to anyone
This was a solid science fiction, exactly what I would expect from Benford and Brin. Taking place over a hundred years or so, a crew of hundreds of experts in various fields embark on a lifetime mission to inhabit and change the trajectory of the comet Halley. Using hibernation technology and alternating shifts we follow the evolution of the society of people on the comet as they deal with the unforeseen challenges of disease and adaptation in the cold of outer space. Through this story the auth ...more
This book is a fun read that kept me up waaay too late to finish it.

Don't let the age of the book scare you, it could have been written a couple of years ago just as easily.

There are two big plot drivers in this book, the politics of small and large groups including a straight up love triangle, and Halley's Comet itself.

The comet parts are straight up hard sci-fi, with realistic sounding discussions of orbits, heating and outgassing and much much more. The biology on the other hand to my comple
Kaus Wei
This is a fairly standard---but nonetheless, entertaining---bit of science fiction. New technologies are present (along with the plethora of fine details needed to explain them), new ideologies arise, but the plot structure feels very familiar. I suppose that is to be expected, considering the quantity of sci-fi I have read...

I cannot say I ever really connected with any of the characters, with the possible exception of Cruz (who only shows up during the first fifth of the book, and for a couple
Alex Hammel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Ellis
This book begins with the coolest of premises, and just never slows down. It was awesome.

Certainly not a sugar coated "here we go out into space" story. There are major obstacles to overcome, from both the environment and the prejudices of the voyagers, changing attitudes towards the mission from Earth, and just the overall harshness of the situation taking a mental toll on all.

The technology of "Sleep Slotting" allows the narrative to jump forward as the principal storytellers are put on ice, s
Brilliant. Phenomenal. Written in 1986, this "hard science" science fiction book still stands up. Assumptions about Halley's comet, written before it's 1986 appearance in this book, are accurate. There is a lot of math, science, computers, vectors, logarithms, biology ad nauseaum. If you like this, with two astrophysicist authors you get the real deal. If you don't, it's still cool because it's so amazing and true!

This is probably one of the best plotted books I've ever read. As it occurs over 2
Dick Cameron
Written in 1986 the last time Halley's comet came whizzing by, this sci-fi ride is quite brilliant. Scientifically well researched but of course purely speculative about the nature and origin of Halleybop. A delightful array of characters pepper this tale of occupying and attempting to tame the great comet. The turn of events, of which there are many, were unexpected and engrossing from the start. Just when I thought I knew where it was going it took a turn to a conclusion only far out scientist ...more
Ahhhh. A most amazing science fiction / social novel. I felt the need to reread this and wow better than ever! My old paperback copy is falling apart... This is a powerful story, a vision of our solar system that is the drama of Grey's Anatomy meets Star Trek meets well heck this is so different... A MUST read! Imagine an international mission to Halley's Comet to hollow it out and ride it around to redirect it and provide us with it's resources. Add in romance, nazi like hatred, religiosity, ge ...more
Ben Roscup
"Heart of the Comet" was a rather moody and darkly depressing story, but I think that it managed to redeem itself in the end. The authors challenge a lot of issues in this space epic. What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be something slightly... more than human? Will idealism ever triumph over prejudice? Would immortality truly be the boon we so often hold it to be?

You will probably not want to finish this book. You will become irritated, perhaps bored, and despair of finding a sa
Good science fiction and somewhat timely with the landing. It's time to put people back into space exploration.
Florin Pitea
I read it in Romanian translation, back in the mid-Nineties. It was OK. The ending was nice and uplifting.
Haniel Goertz
This novel does get to be a little over the top, but all in all it is a fun read.
"Nel cuore della cometa" narra di una spedizione scientifica sulla Cometa di Halley. Gli uomini scelti a farne parte dovranno viaggiare nello spazio profondo fino a che la cometa non ritornerà in prossimità del nostro pianeta. Non tutto però va come dovrebbe andare.
"Nel cuore della cometa" è un buonissimo libro che cresce man mano durante la lettura. Paga una certa lentezza iniziale (che potrebbe scoraggiare alcuni), ma col passare delle pagine coinvolge sempre più fino all'imprevedibile finale.
Trynia Merin
Sep 13, 2007 Trynia Merin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
First book I read by this author and instantly loved it. Anyone who is interested in space colonization and hard SF would enjoy it. Benford did a bang up job creating a space mission to Comet Halley, and encorporated many ideas into his novel that make it an interesting read. Including biocomputers, cryogenic hibernation for long voyages, and extrapolating Earth's culture in the future.
Michelle Ruedin
The problem for me was the love triangle and pining. I hate pining. Nothing will kill my interest in a book/movie/song/human being quicker than freakin' pining. If you aren't automatically put off by that sort of stuff, you might give it a try because the science seems fairly solid and the part of the plot that doesn't deal with unrequited love is interesting.
A book written in the style of Asimov, with a glimpse of Pohl's Gateway, with a scene that reminded me of Gravity (but written 30 years before) and a hint from Alien, if you like the aforementioned you will like this too. Don't get me wrong it is very original, with good fiction grounded on science. Aged well and still an interesting read.
George Moga
It's an awesome example of hard sci-fi and a well written book with lots of action and good characters. I have read it twice already and probably will do so again in the future. I have written a more in depth review on my blog, in Romanian.
This is the book that really got me into to the "hard" side of SF; a preference which continues to this day. Although our current knowledge of Halley's comet has outdated the version of the comet in this novel, it is none-the-less a great hard SF adventure, with some interesting politics and philosophy thrown in as well.
Christian Sandoval
A masterpiece of hard sci-fi. Takes time to understand the complexity of the story and the scientific concepts explored, but absolutely worthwhile. It is a two-century saga condensed into a hell of a novel, and it is certainly a book that will make anyone with an open mind laugh, cry, and cause to question themselves.
Simply one of the best sci-fi book I have read in a good while! I just could not put it down. The premise, characters and plot are a culmination of science, talent and imagination that is believable. To think that I just now discovered it so long after it's publication...definitely to re-read!
One of my favorites. Near future inner-Solar system exploration and colonization in which Benford and Brin explore the 100-year capture and resource development of a Kuiper Belt comet. As the crew struggles to survive unexpected disasters, we question what it means to be human.
I have read this book about 5 times. I still want to read it again sometime. I like that it has a lot of science in it without getting too deep into numbers or theory. The story seems pretty realistic and the people are likable.
Great near-time "taming of the asteroid" story - but less likable as the timeline stretched into the future. Heavy race relations overtones - old dumb humans versus new-age partially engineered humans.
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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...
Foundation's Fear (Second Foundation Trilogy, #1) Timescape In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center, #1) Great Sky River (Galactic Center, #3) Across the Sea of Suns (Galactic Center, #2)

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