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Macroscope

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  2,461 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
One of Piers Anthony's most loved works! A great interwoven exciting story told by one of science fiction's greatest authors.
480 pages
Published (first published 1969)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Stephen
In case my 5 star rating is insufficient to persuade you to try this book, I prepared the following comparison scale to chart the exact amount of awesomeness contained in the story. Photobucket

5.0 Stars. I think we all have those books that we absolutely love that just never seem to get the attention that we are feel deep down in our giblets they deserve. I call these my literary babies. Well this is one of my babies**.

** I have previously reviewed two others Liege-Killer and Heroes Die which I am mentio
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Manny
Feb 23, 2009 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
There's this trope you come across every now and then in science-fiction books which annoys the hell out of anyone who's actually interested in language. You have some supergenius type who's supposed to know everything, and the way the author chooses to show you how clever they are is to have them demonstrate their knowledge of a word in some more or less obscure language.

There was a fine example in Babel-17, which I reread last month. Rydra Wong, the gorgeous supergenius poet and linguist, has
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Galen
Sep 17, 2008 Galen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here is a review that I posted on Amazon.com in Dec. 2004:

"I am rereading this book after a number of years, having first read it some time in the mid 1970's. Again I find that it is one of those books that changes how one thinks about things, and a work that can be appreciated on multiple levels.

First, it can change one's view of what's possible within the genre of science fiction. It impressively weaves a tapestry from such diverse threads as music, mathematics, classic American literature, ph
...more
Zach
Jan 12, 2009 Zach rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the worst science fiction books I've ever read. Hard to follow, clumsy language, ridiculous dialogue, long and interminably boring tangents into astrology... there isn't much to like here. The central mystery of the book was just compelling enough to get through to the end, but the revelation wasn't all that satisfying and the denouement was very bland.
Lorelei
Sep 07, 2007 Lorelei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
More than thirty years after I first read this book, the exposition and environmental lectures at the beginning are a bit dull, but otherwise it is just as wonderful as when I first read it. So much for people who claim that you can't write technology-based sf anymore - you just need to have enough imagination to come up with something new and different.
Gary
May 07, 2011 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I agree with Stephen.... nuff said.
Cynthia
Jan 16, 2017 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I enjoy other Piers Anthony books more; however, I love what he's done with identity here and that was worth the whole read for me. The beginning was hard to master, but eventually I got sucked in.
Sachin Kailaje
Jan 11, 2015 Sachin Kailaje rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
[Summary review]:

What I liked about it:
-- The ever-green topic of Earth contacting ET civilizations and the implications, thereof! This novel provides some amount of elaboration on the different forms & levels that inter-civilizational communication and exchange might take, based on the maturity of those civilizations.

-- The timelessness of the novel. Written in circa 1970, hardly any of it seems dated even today, if you discount some fairly recent events such as our discovery of exo-planet
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Peter
Mar 13, 2011 Peter added it
A Wild Soup of Sprouts, Genius, and Astrology: A long, long time ago when the world was young and Anthony was a fresh new face in the science fiction world, he blessed us with works of power, incredible imagination, great originality, depth and meaning. This is one of those very early works, and by some measures it may be his best, or very nearly so, standing with his Chthon and Orn as a seminal work that introduced ideas that are still fresh and very different from the standard run-of-the-mill ...more
Jim Hoff
Feb 06, 2013 Jim Hoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From a general summary of Macroscope, you might get the impression that Piers Anthony took the "throw everything in but the kitchen sink" approach. After all, the book is bursting with ideas and oddities. Just some its component elements include astrology, ancient history, Sidney Lanier's poetry, a grand history of a multifarious universe, and the wars it endured, mind destroying beams, a project to create genetically perfect geniuses. And on... From these few sentences alone, you might think it ...more
Awet Moges
Nov 15, 2013 Awet Moges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this primarily for research purposes: something to do with language that destroyed language, like a snow crash. However, I was pleased with this entry in classic scifi, and thought it far superior to Anthony's other work (incarnations of immortality series). However I had trouble getting by the main character's (intentionally) dull presence, and his slightly overcooked sexist views of another main character. Thankfully this archaic attitude declines as the plot chugs along towa ...more
Greg Frederick
Aug 19, 2014 Greg Frederick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was told that Piers Anthony writes silly sci-fi, which I've never read before. Then I ran into a couple of his works at a thrift store and thought I'd give them a try. This is the first one I started reading, and boy was it surprising! This is not a silly book, and ended up becoming one of my all-time favorite sci-fi reads. Macroscope is so creative, well spun, and perfectly paced that once the ball got rolling it was really hard to put it down.

So apparently Piers Anthony deserves some serious
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Jlawrence
I'm most familiar with Piers Anthony from his light-hearted fantasy series Xanth that I read as a youngling nerd, so it was very interesting to read this early, much more serious and ambitious science fiction novel of his. I would like to give it four stars for the many cool ideas in it (using planets and moons as spaceships to punch through hyperspace; an intergalactic signal that if you're intelligent enough to understand leads you down an inevitable logical chain that burns your brain out, lo ...more
Bryan457
This probably deserved another star, but I just wasn't in the mood for some of it.
The concept of the macroscope really got my interest.
The ending was also quite amazing.
The high gravity adaptation and FTL travel methods were a little over the top for me, but interesting nonetheless.
I got very bogged down in the astrology and dream-sequences.
If you liked the galactic alien civilization parts, you might like The Genesis Quest, Second Genesis or Startide Rising.
Phil
Jan 19, 2013 Phil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ever read a 20 year old sci-fi book in 1989 at the age of 19 while under the influence of hallucinogens on a regular basis, then spend the next twenty plus years remembering it as this mind blowing experience? No? You're lucky. I came across a copy of this at an estate sale and was so excited to read it again, remembering it as this amazing book that had so much to say about the universe and how it worked. While I respect other novels by Piers Anthony, the reality is that this was a rambling, se ...more
Robin
Jan 10, 2013 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and quite enjoyable. Some scientists come across a signal from outer space that appears to be a instruction manual containing all of the knowledge from multiple extrasolar civilizations. But there is a problem - a destroyer signal causes anyone who tries to view the information is turned into a virtual vegetable. Enter Ivo, a young man who had been part of an experiment to create ultrasmart humans. He figures out how to access the data. Afterward, circumstances dictate that he and fo ...more
MissingNorth
Feb 14, 2014 MissingNorth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have
Loose and rambling with annoying stereotypical characters that made me think it was written in the 1950s when women were only either good wives or good-for-now. It also struggles with identity, starting in pseudo noir then fumbling ineptly into the fantastic, finally coming out crudely and unsatisfyingly scrambled.

If this had been the first book by Piers Anthony I had read, I would never pick up another of his books. I love science-fiction. Love fantasy, the absurd, the fantastic. Macroscope bel
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Nicki
Feb 03, 2011 Nicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the style of writing of this book as well as the characters. The concept was something so unusual. I'm trying not to give too much away about the story, but for me it was in parts similar to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide (I guess as far as time-travel and the unexpected goes). I read it many, many years ago and would love to get a copy and read it again. I remember some good references to astrology, which resonated with me when I read it. I must have been about 18 I'm guessing.

Will t
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Ms_prue
May 19, 2012 Ms_prue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not far in to it yet, partly because the formatting of the Kindle version is sub-par and partly because I'm incredibly allergic to the portrayal of Afra, Penthouse Pet to the Mensa Set. Every time she reappears and I have to hear again about what she's wearing and how Ivo can't breathe, he's so in awe of her beauty, I have to put the book down again for four days.
17/6/12: I finally finished! And then I made the mistake of reading the afterword to the Kindle edition. 30% of that afterword is
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Mark Hodder
Apr 02, 2016 Mark Hodder rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2016
This is a novel of really big ideas and creative flourishes ... but did I enjoy it? No. Here's the problem: for the first half of this long novel, the characters do little more than talk. For the second half, stuff happens but the plot is all over the place. This is stream of consciousness plotting, and it gets seriously irritating. I loved the vastness of the concepts but I hated the clumsy presentation. It's a painful example of an author who has great ideas but lacks the technical skills to p ...more
Tani
The first half of this was better than I expected, which just made the second half more of a disappointment, I think. The very beginning was confusing, but once I got into it, I found it quite fast-paced, until I hit the final showdown. And then things kind of fell apart. I didn't particularly care for the way he handled that whole thing. Also, the entire book is laced with sexism, homophobia, and racism, so there's that. It could have been worse, considering when it was written, but it certainl ...more
Aharon
Jun 09, 2008 Aharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Back when Piers Anthony used to concentrate all of his ideas in one single novel rather than spreading them out over a 19 book series he wrote Macroscope. Then he probably signed a megabook deal and novels like this no longer made economic sense for him. That's my suspicion anyways. There's some weird pop70s new age culture in here towards the end -- most of Anthony's novels seem to be vulnerable to these ideas, but on the whole most of htis book is just brilliant science fiction. I've never rea ...more
Andrea
Jun 04, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never read much of Anthony's sci-fi when I was on a Xanth kick in my teens, so I missed this one. An acquaintance in my book club recommended it to me recently, and I'm glad he did: the story was compelling, the central reveal in the book was excellent, and the various aliens and their technology were sufficiently weird that they even stand out now.

The dated portrayal of women and relationships was pretty irksome, and that's pretty common in older sci-fi. The book is certainly a product of its
...more
Ally
Jun 15, 2014 Ally rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This would be getting one star if the ideas in it weren't so interesting. The book itself is both racist, sexist, and homophobic. And I know, I know it's a product of its time but that doesn't make it any more pleasant to read. I spent half the book wondering if Anthony had ever really talked to a woman and the other half knowing he hadn't. So I guess if you don't mind women who are written like they're from some alien species there are some good parts to Macroscope I just don't think they're wo ...more
MarvV
Aug 26, 2008 MarvV rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to MarvV by: Another technican
It's an interesting concept book. I'm rereading this. Originally read it many years ago. And it was one of several reads that brought me back to reading Science Fiction. Rereading it and it is still a good read. And yes I think it's much better than a trip to Xanth although I do those too.

This is probably the third time I've read this somehow it isn't as profound as the first two times. Still well worth the read.
Sandy Lu
Nov 20, 2013 Sandy Lu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My fav scifi book since I read it in ... sadly I've forgotten the year now, probably around 2000. Really worth 10 stars.
VERY imaginative
Really need to read again ... but it's so l-o-n-g ...
I love love love books that really change my perceptions, my issue is I can never read this book for the first time again ;(

PS - I probably ignored the sexisim, reading since the 1950's caused me to learn to ignore that bullshit LOL
Bryan
Jan 15, 2012 Bryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book 25 years ago, and back then it made a stunning impression on me. As an experiment, I decided to read it again to see how my thoughts and tastes had evolved. Sadly, "Macroscope" has not stood the test of time. A pretentious jumbled mess of astrology, eugenics and Civil War history, this book aspires to be an epic but falls a long way short. Horrendously dated (complete with undercurrents of racism and utterly overt sexism), bloated and rambling. A big disappointment.
Smokey
Feb 10, 2008 Smokey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was difficult to swallow, not only on philosophical grounds, but on scientific ones as well. In addition, the author's not inconsiderable talent was just not enough to make up for a literally unbelievable storyline.

Had Piers Anthony taken pains to portray Macroscope as though it were set in some other universe, or under different rules from our own, I think I'd have enjoyed it more. His effort to portray it as one of OUR possible futures, however, was mostly a failure.
Eli
Jun 21, 2011 Eli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, spec, 2011
A lot of...things happen in Macroscope. I didn't like all of them. Hell, I didn't even understand all of them. This book isn't of my usual style, but I enjoyed most of it. If I try to say anything else about it, I'm going to end up writing a review almost as long as the book, so I'll end here. People who know me and want to hear more know where to find me.
Sean
Nov 20, 2015 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spacefi
An excellent story by Piers Anthony -- a story with a compelling primary theme, such that may be considered in a context of information theory, and a secondary theme, such that may somehow serve to inspire a sense of reflection about concepts of culture, concepts of governance, and concepts of ethnographic diversity.
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Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environm
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