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The Practice Effect

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  2,673 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
Dennis Nuel is a physicist who, during his research, develops a machine that allows him to explore alternate realities, each of which sport some very strange scientific properties.
ebook, 245 pages
Published December 23rd 2009 by Spectra (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 01, 2013 Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romantics who read fantasy and Sci-Fi
I have read this book every year since it first came out in paperback. Many of those reviewing this book here have not quite cottoned to the fact that it is indeed a Fantasy book and not Science Fiction. I enjoyed this fantasy for what it was and not for what it wasn't, which is to say, Science Fiction.

As a practicing musician I also am intrigued by the premise of practice changing something other than the practicer. So reversing entropy is not a deal breaker for me. I wish I could practice my
Jun 12, 2014 Moonlight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Тю, да се не види, как се увлякох... докато още се канех да зачета началото само, и без да се усетя го откарах до два сутринта, докато не и видя края на книжката!
А междувременно, то не беше мърморене, като почнат да печелят лошите, то не беше даване на акъл на героите (не че са ми го искали), то не бяха закани към злодеите... момента "айде още две страници и си лягам" го нямаше въобще, не съм се и сещала за час докато не я свърших :)

И за капак, накрая автора те оставя с чуденка в стил "сети се с
It started off feeling a lot like John Carter from A Princess of Mars meets A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. By the end I added a good dose of the movie Speed to the mix. That pretty much sums it up. Except for one thing that made it exceptional - the practice effect. I love when an author comes up with a really original idea that would deeply influence how things turned out in the world and follows it through. It turned a really basic and frequently used idea, that of the modern man ...more
Jul 20, 2011 Jim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this is one of the most ridiculous premises I've ever seen for a science fiction book. If it were a fantasy book, Brin could explain all this in some mystical way and get away with it.

If this were the first book I'd read by Brin, I'd have given up without finishing it. Instead I'm merely disappointed that I've wasted my time. Oh, there are some mildly clever bits, but they're outweighed by the silly premise. And his "scientific" explanation at the end is wholly unsatisfying.

Mar 30, 2010 Rallorien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
I have absolutely loved this book since I first read it at least a good 10 years ago (not entirely sure of the year). I loved the way it made me think about things and how a simple (or not so simple) rule change made everything so different. Was the actual plot the strongest? No. But it was an enjoyable, fun read and it forcing me to think has stayed with me and made this one of my most favorite sci-fi books ever. After reading it, I kept thinking of more and more ideas that could work in that u ...more
Apr 24, 2008 Meh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heh, this book was pleasantly ridiculous. It had such a weird premise that everything that happened was almost a surprise. And I just had to laugh every time they go into a trance and practice up some primitive thing into something crazy, like an airplane. Yes, the plot and characters were so predictable, but still, it's a nice bit of fluff.
Sarah Sammis
Aug 29, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pc, read-in-1992
One of my favorite alternate world books.
Got My Book
May 25, 2016 Got My Book rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Also posted (with Bonus Author Interview) on my blog Got My Book.

Real Rating = 4.5*

SciFi Novel that achieves the author's objective of "mixing rapid fire fun with challenging ideas"

The Practice Effect by David Brin, read by Andy Caploe, published by Audible Studios (2012) / Length: 12 hrs 16 min

SERIES INFO: This book is standalone and not part of any series.

I own an old paperback copy of this book. It was something that I kept hoping would be made into audio. And yet I wa
This is a pretty fun book. I think it could have used some more depth; some of the characters are only sketched in. Brin is a very fine writer, but this is not his best effort. Nonetheless, it'll do for a rainy day.
Taylor McCoy
Dec 21, 2016 Taylor McCoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining concept. My only complaint was that Dennis' character was great and Linnora's was very undeveloped, so their romance wasn't realistic to me. The plot was fun to read, though, and despite some bad dialogue, it was really well-written.
Hank Schonzeit
Dec 04, 2016 Hank Schonzeit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful, old fashioned sf.
Dennis The Pagemaster
Tolle Charaktere. Tolle Story. Und dann kam das Ende -.-
Oct 13, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun book

This was a fun book to read. A different world, a different way a world could work. Adventure and a little bit of romance.
Tim Lewis
Read the review on my blog: Tim's Book Reviews

Premise: The zievatron is a device that can access parallel worlds, and physicist Dennis Nuel has been locked out of the Zievatron Project by his rival, Bernald Brady. However, when the return mechanism ends up malfunctioning, Dennis is tapped as the only one who can fix it. The only problem is that he must go through to the other world to do so. With him will come the “pixolet”, a flying pixie-like creature that slipped in from the other world.

In se
Jul 27, 2015 Annett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Der Übungseffekt” von David Brin aus dem Heyne Verlag verspricht eine faszinierende Grundidee. Werkzeug werden hier nicht mit jedem Gebrauch schlechter, ganz im Gegenteil, sie werden besser. Aus einem einfachen Steinwerkzeug kann so bei regelmäßigem Gebrauch eines der besten Werkzeuge werden.

Die Grundidee ist einfach wie faszinierend und ermöglicht dem Autor zahlreiche Wege in der Gestaltung. Schon beim Lesen des Klappentextes war ich einmal mehr überrascht, welche Wirkung allein mit einer bana
Christopher Murphy
This delicious and delectable work is constructed of a somewhat cheesy slice of the style of Michael Crichton's "Timeline", along with a meaty slab of the adventuring feel and odd technological wonderment of Robert Heinlein's classic "Glory Road", and a thin and leafy addition of generic fantasy world-making to (ahem) grease the wheels, as it were; all sandwiched between two hulking crusts of David Brin bread which serve to hold this wonderful idea of a story together. Bon appetite.

In the typica
Kate Lansky
May 08, 2012 Kate Lansky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Practice Effect is a pseudo-sci-fi, maybe a bit more of a fantasy book, about a scientist who travels to a foreign land where the laws of physics are ever so slightly different than they are on earth. We follow Dennis, our scientist, as he tries to make his way in this new and crazy world, often landing in a lot of trouble. Look, it's really hard to describe this book without giving anything away, considering that Dennis himself takes a large chunk of the book to figure out exactly how this ...more
Jul 20, 2011 Mike rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Later on in his career, Brin will learn how to fashion together a plot, to make characters that have depth and to understand how to blend science in with a believable world. This novel was written in 1984 and does not have any of those elements.

There is one intriguing plot twist and I will reveal it right here: What happens if we reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics? This book is a lame attempt at trying to explain what would take place if nothing falls apart but actually improves over time
Ана Хелс
Nov 30, 2013 Ана Хелс rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Една учудващо свежа и изпълнена с приятен хумор и авантюристичен дух книжка, на ръба между научния сай-фай и приятното инопланетянско фентъзи, с любимата ми формула за забавния симпатичен млад учен, попаднал в алтернативно феодално общество, което вярва и ползва изключително особен тип магия, намирайки любовта, надраствайки цивилизационните си ограничения, и което е най-важно – изоставяйки всичко минало и реално, и падайки с плонж в обятията на добрите фентъзийни времена, дори и с малко алтернат ...more
Monica Rodriguez
I had to stop reading this one. I tried, but the writing was clearly subpar from the start. It didn't flow well and felt amateurish. Heavy on the adverbs ("Flaster smiled condescendingly," "'Uh,' he said concisely," "Flaster ...sipped delicately," as well as sitting heavily, saying nonchalantly, loudly, softly, and so, all within three or four pages!). And the point of view didn't seem firmly in the pov character. Not entirely head hopping so much as the first-person narrator describing himself, ...more
Feb 07, 2008 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A scientist enters an alternate dimension, very like Earth except that objects can be made better by practice. (Is that a spoiler? But it's the title of the book, how could it be a spoiler?) Consequently people never improved at making things, because they can improve things by using them. The hero uses his knowledge of making things to overcome difficulties. He wins the war and gets the girl. (Surely that isn't a spoiler either.)

This is one of Brin's first books. The writing is average and the
Feb 21, 2012 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Practice Effect before I knew who David Brin was, and when I started reading David Brin I never made the connection that he was the guy who wrote the Practice Effect. In other words, it doesn't really read like a lot of the rest of Brin's work, and if you pick it up expecting it to you're going to be disappointed. That said, it's a marvelously fun story. If you expect your science fiction to be based on fundamentally sound, provable physics you should give this book a pass. (That said ...more
Robert Defrank
Jul 05, 2014 Robert Defrank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as research, since I’m currently writing a novel about a scientist who finds himself transported to a fantasy world. I was soon caught up in the story and couldn’t put it down. David Brin has long been one of my favorite science fiction authors, and here he brings his trademark with, humor and insight into the planetary romance/sword and planet genre where the main character finds himself in a world where the laws of Thermodynamics have an odd wrinkle, and practice literally doe ...more
Jun 04, 2014 Cliff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've managed to pick up the odd David Brin book here and there at used book sales and this was one of them. I was a little shocked to find that the book had been signed by the author. Anyway, I needed a fairly quick read to pass the time and I decided that it was time to give this one a shot.

It turned out to be nothing like what I was expecting. With Brin, you expect to find yourself immersed into a fairly hard SF story. And this book begins that way, but then you are thrust into a primitive wor
Oct 06, 2016 Alien rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
* contains some spoilers *
The 3 star - rating is an average of 5 stars for the beginning of the book and 2 stars for the end.
I was delighted when I started and got sucked in very quickly. 10 pages, 20 pages went by like nothing. It was lighthearted fun.
Then when the dangerous, suspense-heavier part of the book began, it went downhill. Too much stuff was too unbelievable to be taken seriously. For example the way that the protagonist got accepted so easily by most of the people he meets. The way
Mar 02, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: John McCulloch
I read this book when I was a lot younger and I remember loving it so much. Reading it again made me realize how many things I had missed the first time. The overall concept of the book is just so fascinating: a world where objects get better as they used more and more rather than disintegrating. The story itself was very engaging, Dennis Nuel travels through what's called a "zievatron" which takes him to an unknown world. He discovers that the return mechanism on the zievatron is broken and he ...more
Contains minor spoilers

While this book may not be hard science-fiction, I think that a lot of people have underestimated it. If you read it more as a fantasy novel, without expectations of technological or scientific marvels, then you won't be disappointed. It's random, quick, and fun. A Wizard falls in love with a beautiful princess whom he must save from a scheming despot...but all along the way, there is the lingering mystery of the "practice" effect. I found this quite intriguing, and althou
Mar 26, 2012 Remo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Es una novela juvenil de aventuras, con un planteamiento que me gustó. Nuestro protagonista, doctor en Física (¡ay, algún día!) se ve transportado en un experimento a un mundo alternativo donde una de las leyes de la termodinámica está levemente trastocada. Tendrá que sobrevivir en un mundo diferente, en el que hay multitud de cosas chocantes. La novela cuenta con todos los elementos clásicos de una novela ligera de aventuras: el Chico, la Chica, el Secundario Cómico, el MaloMaloMalo, el Pueblo ...more
Adam Penny
Mar 05, 2014 Adam Penny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite fantasy/sci-fi books ever. The fundamental premise is basically that man has managed to alter one of the physical laws of the universe and the change proposed does amount to magic. Having said that, as Arthur C Clarke pointed out, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Within the context of that, Brin makes a convincing extrapolation of how society would develop and operate within the context of that change with the added twist of how so ...more
Scientist Dennis Nuel has not only discovered a new world, but become trapped in it. Thanks to some mechanical malfunctions and a highly dysfunctional political system, Dennis becomes embroiled in feud between an evil Baron and those loyal to the King. While this would be adventure enough, this world does not follow the same laws of science as Earth, and one difference -- the so-called Practice Effect -- means that Dennis has to rethink his efforts to evade capture, save a kidnapped princess, an ...more
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David Brin is a scientist, speaker, and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Existence, his latest novel, offers an unusual scenario for first contact. His ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends
More about David Brin...

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