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Heart of the Comet

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,701 ratings  ·  56 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,608)
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Chris
A very decent hard SF read. People colonize Haley's Comet. There are factions and intrigue. Wackiness ensues.
John
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
Emily
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
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Ron
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.
Olethros
-Mezcla de Hard suave y Soft frío.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. La expedición de la nave Edmund Halley al cometa del mismo nombre, en el año 2061, está en la fase de preparación de las instalaciones y elementos que permitan acceder al cometa a todos los tripulantes (la mayoría hibernados hasta ese momento) para continuar los trabajos de análisis y valoración de sus recursos disponibles. Pero la suma de accidentes, enemistades políticas y genéticas traídas desde la Tierra e incluso
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Carol
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.
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
Patrick Mézard
It was one of the first hard-SF novel I read, maybe twenty years ago. The Rosetta mission made me think about it again. Looking for it, I reread Benford "In the Ocean of Night" and "Across a Sea of Stars" (still interesting but so badly written), then eventually hit the "Heart of the Comet". It did not age, it is an awesome novel and I appreciated it now better than before. It has something different. Less "mechanical" than KS Robinson or Baxter books. And while it assumes a lot of non-obvious d ...more
Sean
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
Benjamin Atkinson
Feb 25, 2015 Benjamin Atkinson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hard sci-fi, near future, all time greats
Shelves: hard-sf, literature
Caveat- this is not for beginners. Fantastic, I loved Gregory Benford's Permutation City as well as David Brin's assorted novels, so I dived in. Both authors are brilliant men with real scientific backgrounds backing up their prophetic prose. The book's structure is told through multiple points of view keeping the pace lively and the narrative fresh. The greatest aspect, however, is the amount of real science packed into such a well-paced and entertaining read. I have read many reviews listing t ...more
Brian
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Julie
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
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James
A good read, although I wasn't enamored of the excessive focus on the political landscape and love triangle. I'm a plot, puzzle, and ideas guy, so I tend to regard those things as fluff when other readers may find them their favorite parts of the novel. To each their own; I had fun, and I regard this read as time well spent.
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
Lavendersbluegreen
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
...more
Dennis
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.
Gwyn Rees
A logical what if book & a really good story with a believable cast of people.
Tonari
"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.
Kenny V
This was my second book by Benford and oddly enough much of the conflict from both books was resolved by the main protagonist's lady love being uploaded into a machine existence. The book overall was pretty good and the characters were engaging. Benford appears to write from a deep pool of knowledge around the subjects he deals with. In a way it reminds me of Asimov. I'd recommend this to some, but not all.
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.
Octavian
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.
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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
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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