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Signal to Noise

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  746 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Jack Potter puts computer cryptography to work for the highest bidder: sometimes for private corporations, sometimes for the government. Sometimes the work is legal; if not, Jack simply raises his price. But one day, Jack discovers something cloaked in the hiss of background radiation streaming past the Earth from deep space: a message from an alien civilization. One that' ...more
Paperback, 371 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Harper Voyager (first published 1998)
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Ashley (Bound to Love YA)
Nov 15, 2016 Ashley (Bound to Love YA) rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
When I want real, thought provoking, mind-blowing sci fi, I always know I can trust Eric Nylund. In Signal to Noise Nylund once again gives his readers complex characters, mind-boggling science that hurts your head a little if you think about it for too long, and a fast-paced adventure ride.

Jack Potter is a relatable protagonist (apart from the fact that he's a super genius at encryption and code) who cracks a signal that leads him straight to an alien race with questionable intentions. At home
Sep 03, 2007 Cindywho rated it liked it
I was really trying to read something more edifying by Rushdie, but got irritated and bored and treated myself to cyberpunk plus apocalypse. It would've been like a roller coaster ride, but there were no slow spots. Cutthroat math geeks and unscrupulous aliens in a dystopic American future - breathless in its fall and ruthless as the protagonist's adversaries. He was supposed to be ruthless too, but kept calling himself a normal guy. Hmmm. But who needs a believable character when the ride is so ...more
Laura Kranz
Sep 10, 2016 Laura Kranz rated it really liked it
Eric S. Nylund has inspired me to believe that teleportation will someday be possible. Though, perhaps, it might destroy the earth. You win some, you lose some.
Scott Holstad
May 19, 2015 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it
This book wasn't too bad. It's a novel about a dystopian future world where Jack Potter is a cryptographer at a university ... and then things go downhill. It starts with his place being broken into and rapidly degenerates into his encountering aliens who are intent upon trading technologies with he and his best friends. The science is pretty hard in this novel. The author has a couple of science degrees and it shows. I frankly didn't understand a fifth of what I read. But what I did understand ...more
Mar 04, 2015 astaliegurec rated it liked it
Through most of Eric S. Nylund's "Signal to Noise," the biggest issue I had with it was that the main character, Jack, is an idiot. I'm not talking about just a slow guy. I'm talking about a guy who seems to be incapable of understanding some of the main characteristics of his milieu (his forte, his arena, his bailiwick, etc.). Here's a guy whose profession is encryption and who does side jobs for the NSA-equivalent organization of his universe. Yet, from day one, he's constantly neglecting comp ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Ascian rated it it was amazing

Part 2 of one of my favorite duologies ever. Packed full of interesting and amazing high-science-fiction concepts, in addition to horrifying and suspenseful situations. I read it regularly.

Caveats: It can be very depressing to read if you let yourself remember that the entire human race has been reduced to less than 10 live adult humans.

I didn't like that the Asian monk delivered many of the critical insights in the book. Sure, all the main characters contributed, but I'm skeptical of so much ta
M Strawberry
Nov 13, 2012 M Strawberry rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I have ever read by this author. Reading the back page revealed that this guy has degrees in science - and this shows, because some parts of this book are very technical, so this book is not really for a casual layman or someone who has never read sci fi before.

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it. It has a good story about a future Earth and presents some good thoughts for us to chew on. Enjoying this book makes me curious about this author's other work - and that in itself s
Miguel Duarte
Nov 15, 2014 Miguel Duarte rated it liked it
What a weird book. It kinda reminds me of Snow Crash for having such an unordinary story. I feel like Nylund tried to mix too many interesting concepts into one book, and it backfired. If some of the themes had been explored in a different story, it would make this one more focused, clearer and enticing. I also disliked the main character from the very beginning (too insecure, paranoid and deceiving), which decreased the appeal of the book and led to long periods where I just didn't pick it up. ...more
Mark Hanley
Jul 27, 2011 Mark Hanley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A very interesting read. Some similarities to concepts in Neuromancer, although I found this "version" much better and more compelling. I thought the way the technology was explained was fascinating, and the way that unbelievably complex or impossible activities (by our current standards) were described as almost trivial. One of the most spectacular climaxes I've seen in a sci-fi story. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel.
Jan 06, 2013 Unwisely rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction, 2012
Man, I've been reading a lot of terrible books lately. I have *got* to get a library card. (Moving is hard, people.)

Once again there were some interesting concepts, but the way the tech was executed was implausible and annoying, and the characters were so unsympathetic and unrelatable I began to wonder if the author had met a human before.
Stephen R. Smith
Jan 06, 2016 Stephen R. Smith rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed these two books (Signal to Noise, and A Signal Shattered). They were well written, engaging and explored concepts that were novel and unique. From an author known for writing Halo novels (I think), I likely wouldn't have picked these up if I'd have known that, and I would have missed some truly fantastic writing. Great books!
Kelly Flanagan
Aug 23, 2010 Kelly Flanagan rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed Mr. Nylunds book all along. Although this one requires a sense if not an intelligence inherent in science buffs. The intense amount of computer lingo and Quantum lingo is overwhelming at best. Despite all that I enjoyed the premise of the story.
Feb 09, 2010 Aneel rated it liked it
Fast-paced. Starts out like a typical cyberpunk novel, but quickly veers off in other directions. Gives lots of glimpses of an interesting world, but rushes through to an unsatisfying conclusion. A quick, fun read.
Troy Morrison
Apr 19, 2014 Troy Morrison rated it really liked it
Not the best book ever, but a fun read and a few new concepts that are definitely enjoyable. Sort of like Einstein's Bridge meets "Mission Earth" (but more the former than the latter).
Oct 04, 2010 Ed rated it really liked it
Takes the gritty cynicism of cyberpunk and blends it with the starry-eyed, gosh-check-out-humanity of straight SF in a matrix of five-way politico-corporate intrigue. I liked it!
Oct 28, 2008 Robert rated it liked it
Need a higher degree in math to know what the formula is in the front of the book, but some really interesting concepts and ideas about bubble theory and other physics.
Nov 26, 2012 Brian rated it liked it
A four for the Interesting backdrop, a three for the just ok characters, and a two at best for the plot. Enjoyed parts of it, but won't bother with the sequel they try to force you into.
May 13, 2016 Ordo rated it it was amazing
I love Nylunds writing on the halo series and here he showed what he could do with no strings attached. A fantastic adventure and one my absolute favorite books.
Ron Lynn
Ron Lynn rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2014
Andrei rated it did not like it
Jan 05, 2009
Steve rated it really liked it
Jun 23, 2012
Adam Rogacki
Adam Rogacki rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2013
John O'Donnell
John O'Donnell rated it really liked it
May 14, 2015
Reuben rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2014
Scott Pascoe
Scott Pascoe rated it it was amazing
May 02, 2008
Neville rated it really liked it
Mar 31, 2013
Gen rated it really liked it
Sep 30, 2011
Shashi rated it it was amazing
Aug 23, 2012
Kevin Gage
Kevin Gage rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2012
Kristopher rated it really liked it
Jun 21, 2007
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