Probability Moon (Probability, #1)
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Probability Moon (Probability Trilogy #1)

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  646 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Earth is an environmental disaster area when humanity gains new hope: a star gate is discovered in the solar system, built by a long-gone alien race. Earth establishes extrasolar colonies and discovers alien races--including the warlike Fallers, the only spacefaring race besides humans. Mysterious, uncommunicative, and relentlessly bent on humanity's extinction, the Faller...more
334 pages
Published (first published 2000)
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It’s weird, considering how much scifi I read, that I don’t actually like aliens much. We get into someone’s made-up extra-terrestrial culture, I glaze over. And alien point-of-view chapters, oh man. Pretty close to a death knell. A lot of people use the same stupid author tricks on aliens that they do on minorities – ‘here are my aliens! They are all monolithically the same!’ ‘Here are my aliens! Their function is to make you review this book and say how it made you think deeply about humanity!...more
This was really 2 stories loosely tied together.

The more interesting, to me, is the story of man's exploration of a network of wormholes built by a long-gone alien race.
In many systems, kin to homo sapiens populate habitable planets.
There is an antagonistic alien race called the fallers who's aim is to repel human explorers back to their home system.

Upon this back story is the main thread: explorers visit a planet called "World".
The inhabitants have a sort of religion called "shared reality".
Ben Babcock
This is exactly what I needed after the disappointing Clan of the Cave Bear. Nancy Kress is an author whose ability to make me think never fails, even if I don't always enjoy her characterization. She doesn't just touch on or grapple with Big Ideas; she stalks them, lassos them, and puts them to work doing her bidding. And she is really, really smart. Wikipedia doesn't tell me what she specialized in during her formal education, so I'm not sure how much of the knowledge that shines through her s...more
I barely remember this book, but my hazy recollection is that the writing wasn't that bad, and that I wanted to try another book by Kress. I also seem to remember a bicycle. You know, remembering stuff like this was why I joined Goodreads in the first place...
It's a weak four stars. Nancy Kress has pretensions...this is a decent attempt at hardish sci-fi. I appreciate that, even though it's awfully up and down. I deliberately avoided rating the book lower just because she has a horrifically, comically bad fictional geology for World (two words: pumice caves). I think there's both good and bad physics.

The book has a small piece of what you might call classic Star Trek, 4X space computer game sci-fi (Earth vs. the Fallers) but mostly concentrates on th...more
Probability Moon is a a decent hard sci-fi book that didn't quite live up to its potential. Overall, it is an enjoyable book with a plot that keeps you reading and a pretty interesting alien culture. Unfortunately, it never quite makes the jump from okay/good to good/great. It's further hampered by a few important problems, one of which is the characters.

The story is told through four narrators: two researchers, one ex-military officer, and one native. It would have been better told through thr...more
Doug Dandridge
I had heard about this book through Nancy’s blog when she was discussing making up a new fundamental particle for a novel. It was in here, a particle that influences probability, called a probon. Also in here was an offshoot of humanity that had evolved in the presence of an ancient artifact that manipulated probability. The Worlders, people of the planet World, had developed something called Shared Reality, which meant that there was almost instant agreement on things between people once they s...more
Réalité partagée est un roman extrêmement étrange, complexe, aux ramification nombreuses, et qu’il est somme toute difficile de cerner. En effet, dès le départ, deux histoires (au moins) se déploient parallèlement : d’une part l’étude d’un artefact extra-terrestre en orbite, et, d’autre part, une expédition xenobiologiste sur la planète autour de laquelle gravite cet artefact. Comme en plus les autochtones diffèrent subtilement des humains, il y a là assez de découvertes pour peupler plusieurs r...more
Now that I think about it, I can't name any other science fiction novel by a woman author with such a hard science focus (though my knowledge is not exhaustive).

Kress weaves together a story that relies upon sociology, quantum physics, neurochemistry, and in some parts geology. Unfortunately the subjects become tightly bound, and if you miss the expositive infodump on one topic, then you lose the thread of the novel.

The alien society (of the Star-Trek-rubber-forehead variety, and Kress handwave...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Another story from Nancy Kress in which the characters and the situations in which they find themselves prove to be fascinating. She is very good about creating scenarios that involve the reader. Some of her late husband's scientific knowledge peeks through on this one, but I wouldn't call it "hard" SF. Well worth a read.
Interesting, enjoyable, and a little disappointing. I liked the way Kress combined 'soft' science (anthropology) with 'hard' science (physics), but I wished the strands hadn't been two separate plots with separate characters, since the temptation to skip the spaceship physics chapters was very very high. I didn't, though, because I saw the thematic connection between the strands and I was waiting for the moment in which it All Came Together -- and it didn't, not like I expected, and that was the...more
This is the first in a series by Nancy Kress. I first came across her work when I read An Alien Light. I really enjoyed that book. I haven't read much of her other work but I picked this up because it sounded interesting and it seemed like it would be perfect for reading on the flights to and from India.

As it turns out I didn't get to start it until I got home. I guess the trick to sleeping on airplanes is to bring enough reading material for 50 hours of travel time. I was so loaded up with book...more
My second favorite Kress novel after Beggars in Spain. She invents an incredibly unique but still humanesque race, and a character from that race that has to have a foot in both worlds. Fascinating, and highly recommended for anyone looking for rigorous but not too "hard" scifi. There's plenty of science for those who like that sort of thing, but you can also sort of scan those parts and still enjoy the strong characters and adventure plot.
Ward Bond

Humankind has expanded out into interstellar space using star gates-technological remnants left behind by an ancient, long-vanished race. But the technology comes with a price. Among the stars, humanity encountered the Fallers, a strange alien race bent on nothing short of genocide. It's all-out war, and humanity is losing.

In this fragile situation, a new planet is discovered, inhabited by a pre-industrial race who experience "shared reality"-they're literally compelled to share the same world

John Pamperin

I saw this book recommended by the good folks at io9, so I found a used copy to start off this 3 book series. I'm about a third of the way through so far, and the plot points are getting kind of confusing. We have a stargate type network with xenocidal aliens trying to destroy all of humanity, but Earth has found a superweapon orbiting a planetary system that can help defeat the aliens. Sounds like a good space shoot-em-up book right?


Most of the story so far is centering around the pla

A tiny moon orbiting a distant planet turns out to be an artifact with inscrutable quantum properties that was manufactured by a very ancient and mysterious agent. The idea is interesting, the science and speculative science is rock solid and the characters are mostly appealing enough----though several die and one goes batshit crazy (but only to deliver long, tedious monologues). What made this a total failure for me was the writing, which consisted largely of too much explaining and rumination...more
It's been a few years since I've read Nancy Kress, and I was impressed at the expansion of her hard SF concepts here: biology, anthropology, geology, physics -- all wrapped up in very believable and sympathetic characters. At times, the emotional brush strokes were a bit thick, but that didn't detract from a solid read. The book leads into a series, although it stands well on its own.
A good science fiction novel with space travel, space tunnels, ancient weapon artifacts, mysterious enemy race, Earth like planets with different civilizations, etc. The "science" part of the book included sociology, quantum physics, neurochemistry, and botany. I confess I skimmed over even the non-technical physics explanations but enjoyed the other scientic speculation. Characters were good; different type civilization on other planet believeable. "Shared reality" an interesting concept; also...more
Melissa Smith
A nice balance of action, character development and alien world development. My only complaint is I had trouble visualizing the characters (especially the aliens) as well as the landscape and mountain setting.
The major scientific theme is physics based and requires at least a basic understanding of quantum mechanics to follow the explanations. And although anthropology is mentioned a great deal, the sociology is more implied than discussed thoroughly.
The characters were well-developed and I en...more
I rather liked this book, enough to want to pursue the sequels, which is saying something. I liked the characters and the moving perspectives works for me. The idea of shared reality, as practiced in the book, is a very neat idea and creates in interesting culture. The clash between a modern culture that is similar to ours, but rather different too due to technology was also fun. This book felt a bit like Sparrow to me in scope and tone, though not in plot or subject. I would say if you like tha...more
As I saw in some other review, this is a weak 4 stars.

The science in the science fiction is a little offensive...there's enough to make it pretend to be hard, but it's treated to loosely to really be hard SF. Particularly troublesome is that most characters are scientists but, well, don't act like scientists.

The tie-together of the two plots doesn't really occur until midway through the sequel. As it is, it seems strange that we're getting these two disparate plots, which are minimally connecte...more
When I went to the library last I tried to only find things that had good reviews. Kress was a Hugo Award winner, and so I picked the one with the best cover art in the three or four books that were all similarly titled - "probability" something. Well, by my estimate, Kress definitely deserves the award. Her writing is influenced strongly by Asimov (as any good SF writer will be) while not at all sounding as though she was imitating him. With so much focus on the humanity in the universe, it's a...more
Frank Berghaus
A pleasure to read, lots of titbits of information to come up with fun theories while reading. I was a little disappointed with the ending and the techno babble in a few chapters towards the end. The book could have been better off without. I was left wanting a resolution for human-world affairs.
Malia Rigler
Good series - plot was much lighter than the physics discussed.
Peter Walton-Jones
This book combines hard scifi, space opera, speculative physics, ethnography, feminist scifi, war, worm holes and aliens, into a compact and interesting story. This is my second Kress novel and I am impressed by her story telling ability in smallish chunks.. PKD didn't need massive volumes either....not that Kress does it like PKD, but she sure packs plenty in and I find myself wanting more rather than being compelled to take more after the heavy investment of 500+ pages. Sheri Tepper and Ursula...more
Bogusław Muraszko
Dobra i ciekawa lektura. Dwa rozgrywające się równolegle wątki. Jeden na planecie i drugi w przestrzeni tuż przy tajemniczym i kompletnie dla przemądrzałych ludzi niezrozumiałym artefakcie. Wątek planetarny wciągający, nieźle zagmatwany, czasami aż denerwujący. Ogólnie logiczny, spójny i pozytywny. Natomiast wątek z artefaktem i rasą Fallerów trochę ... nieporadny. Brakuje mi tutaj rozwinięcia tematu. Dopiero na koniec odkrywamy w zasadzie sens artefaktu i jego związek z planetarną rasą Światan....more
Fairly typical advanced human civilization story, with unknown powerful enemy, and a "tribal" planet with mysteries which may save the human race. Well written, but most of the details are not interesting. I was disappointed with the details of "shared reality," and I thought the detailed effects of this concept were lacking. I was hoping for many more details of the flower technology that the "tribal" people possed. I really thought it was a great setting for a story that just did not deliver.
Kress doesn't do a great job of establishing the science upon which her fiction is based, which makes some of the plot developments difficult to follow. Also, the characters lack any proper sense of inquiry, rendering them absolutely incredible. Apparently the characters are so used to discovering ancient alien technology they cannot understand that they've stopped wondering about the who's and why's of its creators; a feature I found quite odd and disruptive.
Read this trilogy! Nancy Kress is one of the best writers (both craftwise and science wise) writing hard sci-fi today and this book is a perfect example. This book uses speculative fiction, physics and anthropology to build a great story and a great world (called World:)
This is one of those books were you know it is set and a small part of a wonderfully created larger universe that you are dying to see and then in books two and three you see it.
Karen Heuler

I was totally engrossed by the layers of story-telling--the team on the planet, trying to figure out the reason that all the people on the World shared reality; the story behind Enli's being declared Unreal; the team in the ship, tensed and prepared for war--all of it well-told, well-paced. I admit I didn't follow everything about the strong force and the wave, but I accepted it and moved on, propelled by the desire to know what happened...
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Nancy Kress is an American science fiction writer. She began writing in 1976 but has achieved her greatest notice since the publication of her Hugo and Nebula-winning 1991 novella Beggars in Spain which was later expanded into a novel with the same title. In addition to her novels, Kress has written numerous short stories and is a regular columnist for Writer's Digest. She is a regular at Clarion...more
More about Nancy Kress...
Beggars in Spain (Sleepless, #1) Beggars and Choosers (Sleepless, #2) Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Elements of Fiction Writing) Beggars Ride (Sleepless, #3) Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints

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