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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)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  5,754 ratings  ·  245 reviews
Author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time, master storyteller Stephen R. Donaldson returns with this exciting and long-awaited new series that takes us into a stunningly imagined future to tell a timeless story of adventure and the implacable conflict of good and evil within each of us.
Angus Thermopyle was an ore pira
Mass Market Paperback, 241 pages
Published July 1992 by Spectra (first published 1990)
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
276th out of 4,632 books — 16,479 voters
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Excellent Space Opera
44th out of 290 books — 1,578 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Barrett  Dylan Brown
Aug 29, 2008 Barrett Dylan Brown rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: BDSM Peeps
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Once again, Covenant 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
Nancy Baker
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
S.M. Carrière

This book was recommended to my by my younger brother, who generally has great taste in books, but I have to admit that I was not thrilled by this read. It is, fortunately, a very quick read and the language is simple and easy to understand.

I had several gripes with the story, namely the very involved description of the lengthy victimisation of Morn Hyland. It relies heavily on the damsel in distress trope, so heavily, in fact, that even though I understood that the author was trying to u
Nathan Avery
I got about halfway through this book, which up until that point had been absolutely nothing but rape and abuse. I didn't have any motivation to keep reading.
I read this book while I was still in high school. It was one of the first types of books that I picked out on my own that was a little more mature than I had read previously.

My thoughts on it were something akin to being 'risque' and 'forbidden' because prior to that the books that I had read were all school motivated or mysteries. This was a deviation from the norm.

I do remember sympathizing a great deal with Morn and I didn't like Angus much but I knew that because she was on his ship, that t
Nonie Sisson
The first book in the Gap series doesn't do the series justice. For me it seems more like it should be a few chapters in in the first book. Although laying the basis for the story, for the person picking it up as a Donaldson first timer it probably wouldn't inspire them to read the next one. But believe me it is worth continuing on as it gets better and better with each book. So even though I have only given this a 3 star the rest of the series gets a 5 star rating from me. Persevere with number ...more
David Grenfell
This book is full of morally harsh subject matter. I give this book 4 stars mostly because it is so clearly not an easily recommendable book. However, The Gap series is one of the absolute best series ever. I rank it at the top with books: Dune, The Green Mile, Ringworld, Ilium, Altered Carbon...

The 5th BOOK is like the last 20-40 pages of a great page turner. If you can stand the harshness of the first book, definitely pick up the rest for an epic read. To be clear, the first book reads like a
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction and mystery novelist. He earned his bachelor's degree from The College of Wooster and master's degree from Kent State University. He currently resides in New Mexico.

Stephen R. Donaldson was born on the 13th May 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prosthetist (a person skilled i
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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