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Destination Void (The Pandora Sequence 0.5)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  2,280 ratings  ·  123 reviews
The starship Earthling, filled with thousands of hybernating colonists en route to a new world at Tau Ceti, is stranded beyond the solar system when the shipâs three Organic Mental Coresâdisembodied human brains that control the vesselâs functionsâgo insane. An emergency skeleton crew sees only one chance for survival: to create an artificial consciousness in the Earthling ...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published November 15th 1987 by Ace (first published 1966)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Scott Rhee
Frank Herbert's "Destination: Void" is thought-provoking science fiction at its best. The book reads more like a play written in prose form, as it takes place solely on board the bridge of a spaceship and it is almost 95% dialogue. But, oh wow, what dialogue! The premise: a small crew of six is manning a spaceship carrying a cargo of thousands of humans in suspended animation in the hopes of reaching an Earth-like planet in the Tau Ceti galaxy to colonize. The book opens en media res, after the ...more
Lyn
Relentless.

From the opening lines of desperate but intentional destruction and throughout the tight narrative, Frank Herbert has crafted in his 1966 novel Destination: Void a seamless thread of tension and psychological intrigue.

I cannot understand why this has never been made into a film, the design is readily adaptable to a script and the friction between the archetypal cast is evocative of Sartre’s No Exit. Existentialism is a central, though understated element of the novel. One character
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Kelly H. (Maybedog)
It's strange that the sequel to this novel is my favorite book of all time and yet I only gave this one two stars. Part of the problem is that most of this book is really just a philosophical dialog about the nature of consciousness and an attempt to mathematically define it. There's a some unnecessary intrigue where every character knows some secret about the other characters that they themselves don't know. The point of view is changed many times on a page (which Herbert admits he did for clar ...more
Erik
Oct 07, 2009 Erik rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: The philosophically and technically minded
"Is a man just a machine's way of making another machine?"

Destination: Void is the first of four books set in the eponymous universe of Herbert's making, also sometimes known as the Pandora series. The action in this book centers around an "umbilicus" crew of four and their ship, Earthling, that is carrying a massive cargo of hibernating colonists meant to colonize a planet in the distant Tau Ceti system. Before the ship even leaves our solar system, however, the ship's three Organic Mental Core
...more
Jlawrence
This books manages, despite significant flaws, to engagingly mix a golden age of sci-fi "engineers solving a technical problem" kind of plot with wild philosophizing and thriller elements.

It rests on a somewhat wonky premise (I'm not spoiling anything btw - the following is all revealed early on). Apparently, in the future, the most effective and cost-efficient way to research artificial consciousness is to build a huge colonization ship and launch it towards Tau Ceti with its self-monitoring me
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SpringLea Henry
This book loses one star only for the characters who became walking dialogue for much of the book, but oh such dialogue!!! I started this book because my brain had been sluggish from fatigue, illness, and grief. I wanted something to sort of rehab my head and get me back to full editing strength. This book really jump-started the old noggin! I wish they still wrote more sci-fi like this, only maybe with better characters. I will totally be checking out the rest of the series. But for now, back t ...more
Peter
Before Frank Herbert's Dune and the money machine it became, he wrote some very interesting science fiction. Destination Void isn't his best writing but it sets up another book, The Jesus Incident which is much better.

Although I read and enjoyed The Jesus Incident long ago, I'm looking forward to reading it again now that I understand the environment better.

For those of you who liked the sudden POV switches of Dune, often paragraph by paragraph, you'll find yourself on familiar turf with Desti
...more
Dave Johnson
dont read this book! on a whim, i bought this and the subsequent 3 sequels, thinking that they would be good since i heard good thing about these books on some online forum. nope. truthfully, i dont know how good the sequels are. they were co-written with another author, so maybe he told frank that his ideas in destination: void were awful. i think this was herberts attempt at a hard scifi that focuses more on the science than the characters. it just seemed like reading a theoretical science boo ...more
Tanya Rivera
I can't help but feel this book is the beginning of the whole history of Dune and the Machine Wars. I know it's not but this book is outstanding. It asks just a simple question. Rather philosophical for sci-fi. Herbert always had a habit of researching every idea he had in order to make it as true as possible.
aimee
One of Herbert's more obscure works, my verdict could only be 'fantastic'. Absolutely fantastic - so much so, in fact, that I think it should be required reading for anyone interested in AI/AGI.

Of course, having been written in the late 60s/early 70s, the tech being talked of is somewhat dated, and some of the concepts went over my head somewhat (I am not a computer engineer) - however, the philosophy exploring our concepts of consciousness were extremely interesting and insightful.

Read it, and
...more
Eero
I had to force myself to read this through. The book is almost entirely dialog between its four characters with hardly any action, and the dialog itself is littered with technobabble, amid which there is some interesting meditation on consciousness and even religion, much of which I would have rather read in essay form. I was reminded of those philosophers who dress up their ideas in nearly impenetrable verbiage, perhaps to make them sound more profound than they are.

I remember reading (or tryin
...more
Joey Brockert
This is one strange story. It is a novelization of a story that appeared in 'Galaxy,' and that may have something to do with the formatting of the book: It starts out with barely a title page; there are no breaks, chapters, spaces between time changes, etc.; but that is only cosmetics. The story is very good, if a bit involved.
Some space colonists are flying out of our solar system to Tau Ceti and the Organic Mental Core has died. They, as you learn, are doppelgangers of others kept on Earth,
...more
ew norris
D:V, on the surface, is a simple parlor drama set in the stars - four people sitting in a cockpit of a spaceship taking turns driving and trying to solve problems as they arise. The novel opens with a problem, "It's dead," Bickel said. The ship is damaged and the conversation begins.
As the reader learns of the situation they are in, the events that lead them to this point and place, and the motivations of each player, the nuanced problems grow around the edges of the story as details are reveale
...more
Megan
This book was frustrating. I felt like chunks of it were flying right over my head. There's a ton of dialog, which bogs it down and leaves a bit to be desired in terms of world building, as it were. There's precious little set up to help you understand what is going on with the characters, which makes the lofty concepts it's lobbing up that much more difficult to sort through. The jumping perspectives were confusing until you got used to it (it felt like a more frustrating third person Omniscien ...more
Mutlu Cankay
Tau Ceti’ye yapılacak zorlu yolculuk için kullanılan klonlar ilk 4 yolculukta başarısız olmuştur. 5 Dünyalı adlı gemi, “Otomatik Akıl Merkezi” ni öldürüp komutayı ele geçiren mürettebatı sayesinde yolculuğa devam etme şansı bulmuştur. Bickel, başarısız kaptan Tim’in yerine yönetimi ele alıp yolculuğu tamamlayabilmeleri için biyolojik parçası olmayan tamamen mekanik bir zeka yaratma çabasına girişmiştir. Klonların yolculuğu tamamlayabilmek için mekanik, fiziksel ve psikolojik zorlukların üzerinde ...more
Mark Cheverton
Anyone else out there try to read this. I love Frank Herbert's stuff, but this was like reading an essay on the essence of consciousness. I wonder how this book did when it came out, if it sold lots of copies or not.

The one thing about Frank Herbert's writing is that he violates many of the rules we're told not to do, for example, he has lots of sections where there is just static dialogue, no action in the scene. I've been told that's a no-no and can be very boring, yet he does it in this book
...more
Kyle
A strong idea, but weak execution keep Frank Herbert's Destination: Void from soaring.

The book features a group of clones aboard a colony ship whose artificial intelligence breaks down. With no way of running the ship themselves, the crew must construct a new, better mechanical consciousness before the ship flies off course and the crew parish.

Void contains much of Herbert's sci -fi philosophy of man trying to probe into machine consciousness- and thank God for that, because this book has a se
...more
Benjamin Duffy
This book crushed my skull and made my brain meats ooze out of my nose hole. The plot hinges, ostensibly, on a project to create artificial consciousness, but what it really becomes is a discussion and deconstruction of what IS consciousness. Really enjoyable and thought provoking, both as a science fiction adventure and as a novel of ideas.
Bob(by)
If you like to read about/listen to computer nerds talk about artificial intelligence and system hardware then this book is for you.
Steve
This is not a novel. It is a meditation on computers, AI, and Consciousness, as seen in 1978. Without all the speculation, it would have made a decent novella. But speculation is what it was all about with much discussion of early computers and whether or not they can be aware. It comes from the time, when computers were still considered dangerous (see HAL 9000 and many other rogue computer stories.), which is not a negative in itself. I don't fault it for being written before Apple and Microsof ...more
Daniel Callister
Not my favorite F.Herbert book, but it kept me entertained. It had a real 2001 feel to it (the publication date on the book actually precedes 2001). I had read the sequel "the jesus Incident" without knowing that a prequel existed, then when I found out it did exist, I felt compelled to read it and thought it might clarify a few things about TJI, I was wrong. I'm probably more mixed up on the whole story now than I was before (that's frank Herbert for you). So all in all, a good book, but not on ...more
Cryptid
OK, disposable human clones sent on a deep space mission... on a spaceship driven by integrated bodyless human brains which go mad after a short while and kill themselves... so there's no point in further debating the setting of any Frank Herbert's book (it's evidently just amazingly awesome!)... Most of the actual plot takes place after that and follows four characters trying to develop an artificial replacement for the brains which in the book's internal logic has to be conscious. The debates ...more
Richp
What is best about this book is the situation Herbert set up. The execution was poor, filled with ridiculous jargon and some truly implausible physics developments. Herbert did not understand AI or physics. He also did not really address many of the issues involved in his premise.

The basic ideas behind the story could be used to write a great book. This is not it, and barely worth a second star. Had this been my only introduction to Herbert, I would never have read another by him. I will follow
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Gregorio
I'd read the original edition last year and liked it quite a bit. It gave off a feel similar to Under Pressure by the same author. Essentially a small group of people under stressful conditions having to live together in a small space. To a greater or lesser degree we get an exploration of each of their minds and motivations, all to the backdrop of some relatively gruesome sci-fi.

Truly, I think this is one of the rare cases when the revised edition is better than the original.
Kristian Thoroughgood
A thought provoking piece of dramatic science fiction, where Herbert questions the ethical and moral issues surrounding creating artificial intelligence, as well as challenging the reader to consider what it actually means to have ‘consciousness’. A short novella from 1966, and a fantastic bit of writing by Herbert. Tense scientific action, building up to a mind-blowing ending. I would place it right up there with his other, much better known work in Dune.

Full Review here: https://uncertaintales
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Andrew
Good plot, great characterizations, excellent atmosphere, interesting exploration of metaphysical concepts. Terrible non-sensical techno-jargon.

Destination: Void precedes The Pandora Sequence (the trilogy that starts with The Jesus Incident), though this book is not necessary to one's enjoyment of the later trilogy.

A particular annoyance, for me, in this novel was the sub-plot in which Prudence explores psychotropic drugs in an effort to...? What? Whatever effect or discovery she was trying to m
...more
Mike Smith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
I read the 1978 revised edition, where most of these details are apparent from early on (first 3-4 chapters), though they might be considered spoilers for the earlier work. (I'm not sure how much was changed.)

A batch of disposable clones are sent off on a spaceship to colonize a planet near Tau Ceti, with a cargo of supplies and thousands of colonists in hibernation. After leaving Earth's galaxy, the ship's Onboard Mental Cores---organic computers, wired-up human brains---fail, one by one, the l
...more
Derek Verlee
Herbert's imagination is staggering as always. The idea is a very good one, an almost flow of consciousness discussion of the undefinable nature consciousness, but set within a plot happening aboard a spaceship, an arc-ship, filled with thousands of suspended, sleeping, travelers. Space is an enormous void. They are traveling at near relativistic speeds, threatened seemingly by It is the sinking ship story, more along the lines of the distressed submarine story, but space is so much more quiet, ...more
Emma
A crew has been awakened from hibernation because all three of the ships brain couldn't take the work anymore and died.since the whole crew was not awakened they had to find a replacement. The four guys picked a female surgeon to replace the fifth guy. Naturally waking up and finding out your not where you think you are is a shock but she recovers. She joins the team and help thing run smoothly. The whole team is faced with the dilemma on how the to get the ship across the universe with all the ...more
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Frank Herbert was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author.

He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among the classi
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More about Frank Herbert...

Other Books in the Series

The Pandora Sequence (3 books)
  • The Jesus Incident (Destination: Void, #2)
  • The Lazarus Effect (Destination: Void, #3)
  • The Ascension Factor (Destination: Void, #4)
Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1) Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2) Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #3) The Great Dune Trilogy  God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #4)

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“The universe does not work by our rules” 13 likes
“The implied methods would permit construction of entirely new computers reduced in size and basic complexity by a factor of at least a thousand.” 0 likes
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