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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  1,106 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
The acclaimed author of Far-Seer and End of An Era embarks on a fantastic journey. A series of mysterious, artificial wormholes have brought the far reaches of space immediately close. But is the Earth ready for who--or what--the wormholes may bring?
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Ace (first published January 1st 1996)
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Snow Crash by Neal StephensonA Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor VingeRed Mars by Kim Stanley RobinsonThe Fall of Hyperion by Dan SimmonsJurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Classic Science Fiction - 1990-1999
112th out of 212 books — 106 voters
The Jesus Incident by Frank HerbertClimbing Olympus by Kevin J. AndersonBirthright by Mike ResnickStarplex by Robert J. SawyerFuture Perfect by Nancy Kress
BookBale Bundle #1
4th out of 8 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 29, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good, albeit super short. It's impressive that Sawyer can pack as much in to a 300 page novel as would take other authors 5-600 pages. But despite the amount of action and questions and answers, it still felt like it was lacking something. Maybe taking a slightly slower pace would have lent the action and revelations a little more weight.

Holy crap though, what action! There are a handful of big space action sequences, and a particular battle scene in the back half of the novel was jawdrop
Sep 19, 2016 Denis rated it really liked it
Shelves: do-not-own
Though written in 1995, this Hugo nominated story is stylistically more like those of the older 'golden age' era of the 50's, rather than the more sophisticated character driven sort of modern type. The likes of editors such as Campbell Jr. or Frederik Pohl of "Galaxy" and "IF" would surely have jumped at serializing a story like this. It's good fun old fashioned fast paced 'spaceship scifi' with creative aliens, grand battle scenes, worm holes - in this case, actually termed "short cuts", time ...more
Mary JL
Dec 06, 2012 Mary JL rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Any SF fan
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
This was a good intorduction for me to Robert J. Sawyer. I definitely plan on seeking out more of his books.

This, the first one of his I have read, concerns life aborad "Starplex", a huge inster-stellar habitat crewed by four races---Human;Cetecean/dolphine;Walhudin and Ibs.

I found some of the science a bit hard to follow---cosmology; dark matter, etcetc, but the interactions of the four species working together was very well done. The novel showed clearly the advantages and problems of having f
Hugh Long
Feb 10, 2015 Hugh Long rated it it was amazing
This was truly an incredible book. Starplex was a rare exploration of the Space Opera sub-genre, and as Robert J. Sawyer intended, did not focus on a military plot as the central theme, but rather, a peaceful group of scientists who's mission was to make peaceful contact with other races via a vast network of 'shortcuts' or stargate type devices. Yes, there is certainly space combat and battles, but what makes this book so different is the anchoring in real science fiction roots -- at it's core ...more
Христо Блажев
“КК Старплекс” разкрива бъдещето на Вселената:

Историята е леко хаотична, дори бих казал директно скърпена от други книги и сериали – основно “Стар Трек” и трилогията на Дейвид Брин за ъплифтинга - “Потапяне в слънцето”, ”Звездна вълна се надига” и “Войната на Ъплифта”, паралелите са твърде много, за да бъде отречено това. Иначе накратко – хората и делфините са създали обединена цивилизация, открили са още две интелигентни раси, с които сме сключили крехък
Jan 28, 2014 Les rated it really liked it
I'm not normally a great fan of hard science fiction and that's exactly what this book is, but there's a really cool story in there too, intertwined with some pretty mind-boggling astrophysical space science stuff. These two elements combine into a really good story, and a relatively short book too. The story has our galaxy permeated with a vast array of artificial 'gateways' that link various points across the galaxy, and there is also two other known intelligent species. These species ...more
Jun 12, 2007 amireal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: g-scifi, reviewed
It took me approximately 50 pages to go "Oh. Interesting." Another 50 to go, "OH. INTERESTING." And another 20 or so after that to really see how even MORE interesting it was going to be. After that, I stopped keeping count.

This is obviously one of Sawyer's earlier works, he's a bit clunky in the exposition, there's definitely a good deal of interesting in the beginning, but it's shrouded in uneven introduction and clunky science. It might have been that this particular science was not something
Dec 18, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
This book was fairly early in Sawyer's writing career and I think reflects that. The story was interesting with a large amount of astronomical physics concerning the creation of the universe and its' ultimate demise. I enjoy such things and so I enjoyed this perspective. The story itself wasn't bad but somewhat simplistic. The aliens he created were different but again, they seemed simplistic and somewhat one dimensional. I think the thing that bugged me the most was Lansing's midlife crisis. ...more
Jul 10, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
This has got to be my favorite hard sci-fi book to date. It has Dolphins in space! I mean seriously, Intelligent dolphins in space? Where can you go wrong?

The slight hints at racial tension(in this case species tension) is a good touch. You find yourself growing attached to the various species (did I mention the dolphins?) of crew mates aboard the ship as they travel across the galaxy.

The author does justice to physics and does not dumb down his explanations as characters dive into the astroph
Malcolm Little
Dec 16, 2015 Malcolm Little rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sf-gems
If you, like me, grew up fervently watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, Starplex takes notes from the excellent TV series and wraps it around some of the biggest cosmological questions of our time. Sawyer is a master of personalizing lofty, universe-spanning ideas down to the people involved in investigating such ideas and the phenomena they exhibit; he does that with aplomb in Starplex.

Anyone paying the slightest attention to the details of prevailing cosmological research would be familiar
Jul 25, 2013 J. rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
The first thing that stood out to me about this book was the ridiculous overuse of profanity. The only profanity the author seems to be familiar with is religious profanity.

If you enjoy sci-fi books you have to learn to overlook the bashing of religion or belittling/vilification of those that believe, but it seems to me that if the author was an atheist he would void references to deities from his vocabulary. I suppose the exception being militant atheists, which from my encounters
David C. Mueller
Sep 01, 2013 David C. Mueller rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-misc-authors
This book sets out to do what the author states in the introduction, be his version of a science fiction universe much like that of "Star Trek". There are two major alien races whose temperament is similar to that of Klingons and Vulcans. There is a plot that includes time travel and the main characters having way more say in the fate in the universe than is really reasonable. There is a large, well-described starship crewed by humans and aliens. There is a meeting with a very advanced being. ...more
Andrey Shchekin
Oct 26, 2014 Andrey Shchekin rated it liked it
I haven't watched much Star Trek (I prefer B5), yet this book perfectly matches Star Trek as I imagine it -- one ship discovering everything, always in the crossfire and always selecting the riskiest decision there is for each situation. So for me this is basically Star Trek fandom.

Of course it comes with all possible tropes: each alien race has only one character type, etc.

Within those constraints it is not a bad book though -- it's simple optimism is motivating, and the physics are pretty inte
Matteo Pellegrini
La missione dell'astronave Starplex è indagare sui wormholes, misteriose anomalie del cosmo che permettono di viaggiare sia nello spazio che nel tempo. Ma durante l'esplorazione il comandante Keith Lansing e la sua nave si trovano di fronte a una stella tanto vecchia da risultare più antica dell'universo stesso! Non è l'unica scoperta "impossibile": una razza sconosciuta viene identificata in quell'assurda regione della galassia, e la Starplex è attaccata da nemici sconosciuti. Lansing sa che c
Sean Randall
"The same painting is pretty each time you look at it. The same dish is tasty each time you eat it. shouldn't the same joke be funny each time you hear it?"

A neat little novel, heavy on the SF as is Sawyer's wont. he's also a dab hand at the philosophy, though, and even squashed in the Canadian angle. This one was a little different from some of the others I've read, with much focus on the inter-species side of things, very much like a James White novel or series, it seemed at times. with a fasc
Michael Lawrence
Mar 17, 2013 Michael Lawrence rated it really liked it
I would have loved to give this book five stars and don't know if the length or lack of a second book kept me from doing so.

For a far-out science fiction novel it was a joy to read. I could almost hear one of the sentient beings barking as I read what it was translating into speech and that's a wonderful immersion to put your readers in.

The socio-political climate and reactions of the humans to the threat of war was a little hard to stomach, but the author let me suspend disbelief enough to get
Bruno Di Giandomenico
Dec 01, 2013 Bruno Di Giandomenico rated it really liked it
A big classic science fiction book. Nothing is little. We start with Starplex, a spaceship manned by three races, men, IB (incredible race, made with pieces each with a purpose) and Waldahudins, pig faced and very antagonistic (you can understand them, 1 female every 5 males who must try to become their mate).
Almost every topic of hard science fiction is here, faster than light travel, non human races, the age of the universe, time travel, a small confrontation (almost a war), a fantastic race,
Sami Köykkä
Apr 21, 2013 Sami Köykkä rated it liked it
Erinomaista viihdettä, suosittelen lämpimästi kaikille avaruusoopperan ystäville. Tästä löytyy kaikkea oleellista - on eksoottisia elämänmuotoja, isoja ja pieniä avaruusaluksia, avaruustaisteluita ja eeppisiä tapahtumia koko maailmankaikkeuden mittakaavassa. Sawyerin tyylin mukaisesti mukana on paljon nykytieteen löytöihin perustuvaa ideoiden edelleenkehittelyä, joka pysyy hallitusti oman maailmankaikkeutensa uskottavuuden rajoissa. Kirjoitustyyli on niin ikään tuttua kirjailijan muista ...more
Ken Selvia
Jul 22, 2015 Ken Selvia rated it did not like it
This might be a terrific book but the narrator, (Al Pittis), was possibly the worst I have ever heard. Unbelievable really. Apparently he did it as a volunteer for CNIB ,(Seeing beyond vision loss), so kudos for the effort but it's a shame because that might discourage someone else from doing the job. I'd rather listen to my computer read it to me. Honestly, VoiceDream's Tyler is preferable, if only for the fact that I don't get annoyed when the computer gets it wrong. Much like I don't get ...more
The other John
Mar 25, 2016 The other John rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed, sf, war, adventure
Robert Sawyer does space opera. Actually, that should be did space opera. In the intro he said that Starplex was his swan song in the sub-genre. But for me, who has only read his later works, it was something brand new. Anyway, Starplex is the tale of Starplex, a starship manned by the various species of the interstellar Commonwealth who together explore the wonders of the galaxy. "Star Trek done right," he called it. I don't know if I'd go that far in agreement, but it was a well written tale w ...more
Devin Partlow
Jun 02, 2013 Devin Partlow rated it it was amazing
Living dark matter, immortal beings worried about the mortal universe, "shortcuts", all things that made a great science fiction novel.

Some say the best way to learn about human nature is through novels, this goes doubly for this one. The author decided to add other beings with different courting practices and lifespans just to highlight some of the human nature we may take for granted as being correct. So that combined with mind-blowing scifi phenomenon makes this book worth it.

There's probably
Tony Schirtzinger
Aug 26, 2012 Tony Schirtzinger rated it liked it
This was an interesting story with great characters. Not as good as his more recent books. I'm glad I picked up the audiobook version of this-I love the voices of the different characters. You can tell Robert J. Sawyer described the voices in the book but that's something I normally don't remember so the characters would have lost some of their identity if I just read this book. There were some ideas in this book that I hadn't seen in other books. Some things didn't make as much sense as I'd ...more
May 23, 2016 Meagan rated it it was amazing
Where has Canadian SF been all my life? This book was filled with some really yummy sci-fi including sentient dark matter and attempts at solving the "problem" of death. On the other hand, the characters are almost disappointingly one dimensional besides Keith. The Waldahud are angry warriors (Kingons), the Ib are rational symbiots (Vulcans), and humans are... well, human. I stopped more than once to tell my husband that I want him to read it so we can talk about it. I'm not sure there's a ...more
May 28, 2009 Ryan rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Sawyer usually excels at telling character-driven sci-fi stories that could easily take place in the contemporary world, so it's interesting to see him attempt to tell a story that's a little more space opera-y.

Overall, this was a fun read, with many of Sawyer's characteristic elements, but I thought that the pacing was a little off during the first half of the story, and that there were some parts that were a little too infodumpy. Aside from that, though, it's an engaging, fun little story abou
Wood Hughes
Oct 21, 2015 Wood Hughes rated it liked it
The current edition is only in paperback. I've gotten used to digital, but I like the author, so I bought it. The problem is the publisher decided to use an 8 or 9 point font which made it hard for my old eyes to read.

That said, the plot is interesting, the writing is Mr. Sawyer usual high quality. In fact, this is a great attempt to deliver a space opera without the usual shoot um up of the current video game derived space operas.
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Jun 01, 2010 Aaron (Typographical Era) rated it really liked it
Dolphins are intelligent creatures capable of flying spacecrafts and they all talk like Yoda. The entire story takes place aboard a starship which has no weapons. It shouldn't work at all, but Sawyer's knack for telling character driven stories first, backed up by sound science second, allows him to pull it off. I was expecting this to be my least favorite of his novels, but I think it's moved to the top of the list.
Aug 11, 2016 Gobasso rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I found this an average read. The characters were two dimensional and the situations they found themselves in were not very complex. The science part of the story was interesting but I am not a fan of a character going on long, discursive explanations to explain the theory behind an event. Still, I am interested in reading some of the authors other books. This is one of those fun books you gobble down quickly and move on to something a little more substantial.
Apr 04, 2016 Charl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Outstanding! Very reminiscent of Larry Niven and Stephen Baxter. I have no quibbles with it at all, and trust me, that's rare! :-)

Mind-stretching concepts paired with an interesting story and characters make this an excellent example of what good Sci-Fi should be.

If you like Niven, Baxter, Forward and other hard SF writers, you need to give this a try.
Clayton Yuen
Feb 19, 2011 Clayton Yuen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
Want to read a far out space adventure that introduces several very cool and unusual concepts? Well, Robert J Sawyer presents this wacky story with unexpected twists and turns. You'll be kept unbalanced throughout the pages beginning with the introduction of weird aliens and their oddly interesting interactions to worm holes to time travel to . . . well, read it for yourself and enjoy!
Dan Roland
Sep 08, 2010 Dan Roland rated it really liked it
A fascinating and thought provoking read on space/time travel, non-human intelligent life forms, the origins of the universe, the origins of life, eternity, immortality, and the overarching role of dark matter. Sawyer presents a page-turner of a cosmology that makes very good sense to my rational, non-religious side and has me gazing at the night sky and stars with renewed awe and hope.
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Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Robert Sawyer grew up in
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