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The Ophiuchi Hotline (Eight Worlds #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  2,384 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Cover Artist: Boris Vallejo

After the effortless capture of Earth by vastly superior aliens, humanity is forced to fight for existence on the Moon and other lumps of airless rock. The invention of the Hotline--a constant stream of data from a star in the constellation Ophiuchus--facilitates survival and enables the development of amazing new technologies. Then, after 400 ye
Mass Market Paperback, #15890, 237 pages
Published March 1st 1978 by Dell Publishing Company (first published 1977)
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May 04, 2014 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird book.

Opiuchi Hotline by John Varley, the author of the Gaian trilogy, is about… a lot of stuff – and all rolled up into a hard sci-fi, Bradburyan fantasy mix. I guess if I had to break it down and slap a label on it, I would say this is a first contact story, though a very original one.

This is a difficult book to review, it was kind of hard to follow, and yet, strangely compelling, like Dane Cook narrating a children’s book: contextually OK, but edgy and not just a little disconcerting.
4.5 stars. This is a fantastic story and I am surprised I have not heard more about this as I beleive it has all the makings of a CLASSIC SF novel. This is the first novel set in Varley's "Eight World" universe and is full of very interesting, and I imagine at the time, original concepts. Just a few of these include:

- The ability to back-up via computer a person's personality at any time and to "download" it into a clone of such individual (a strong parallel can be found in Richard K. Morgan's
Charlotte Jones
May 10, 2015 Charlotte Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my shelf for years and I'm so glad that I finally picked it up. I have been getting into science-fiction a lot more recently and think that I read this novel at the perfect time.

I will say, first of all, that this book is extremely confusing at points. Clones and cloning is a huge part of the civilisation in this book and it was difficult to understand what was going on at points but I think that as the story progressed this became much easier.

I loved the portrayal of gende
Jul 24, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book starts out *wonderfully*, and I love the premise of the book. Generations ago, humanity was cast out of Earth by Invaders who are so much smarter and more powerful, they actually operate on a completely different plain. A tinkerer of genetic structures gets caught, condemned to death, and rescued by various factions of humanity. It follows her story, although along the way she gets killed and cloned a half dozen times. A cool look at identity, and I definitely loved the world Varley cr ...more
Henry Avila
Lilo-Alexandr-Calypso is your typical mad scientist on the moon. Doing illegal human genetic research,that it's proscribed by the state doesn't bother her.What annoys Lilo is the death sentence after being arrested and found guilty by the court!Set in the far future ,when Earthlings have lost the Earth ,to alien invaders.What's left of the human race is scattered all around the solar system, from Mercury to Pluto and even their satellites.Just in time , she's rescued by the Free Earthers.They su ...more
Erik Graff
Jun 18, 2008 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
What an excellent book to be written as a first novel! Not only is the story well-plotted and written, but the cloning theme raises serious questions about what we understand as individuality. It has not been often that a novel has caused me to pause, repeatedly, for reflection.
I read this outside during warm summer days in the quadrangle of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Quelle histoire !
Tout commence avec la première mort de Lilo, une ingénieur en biotechnologies qui, pour s'être intéressée d'un peu trop près au génome humain, se retrouve condamnée à mort. Evidement, il ne lui arrivera pas que ça.
Et je n'en dirai pas plus sur l'intrigue parce que même si elle est intéressante, elle n'est pas l'intérêt esssentiel de ce roman.
Non, ce qui est intéressant, ce sont les voyages que fera Lilo à travers ce système solaire qui n'est plus vraiment aux mains de l'humanité
Charles Dee Mitchell
Try not to take this personally.

In the year 2050, invaders from another galaxy enter our solar system and take over Jupiter and Earth. They have come to make contact with intelligent species like themselves, which unfortunately does not include the human race. On earth they are interested in only whales and dolphins. Human beings they put in the same category as beavers and muskrats. By plowing under the surface of the planet, they cause most earth life to starve. I suppose the invaders are mea
Oct 07, 2015 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to round up with stars...

I like debut novels as much as I do debut films made by first time script writer / directors. There is either a certain charm to them or other times it is an urgent desperation. The charming ones tend to be simple straight forward if not a bit quaint or quirky. The desperate ones tend to be crammed packed with a multitude of ideas and scene and issues and are filmed in various stylistic manners... It's almost as if the author or film maker believes they may never
-En su tiempo, innovadora en los contenidos.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Lilo-Alexandr-Calypso cometió uno de los peores crímenes posibles en esta época del futuro, la alteración de material genético fuera de los límites legales, por lo que está condenada a la muerte definitiva. El expresidente Tweed le propone su liberación (dejando un clon para que sea ejecutado en su lugar) a cambio de su colaboración en un proyecto secreto y también ilegal que necesita de su experiencia en man
Jim Mcclanahan
Jan 01, 2014 Jim Mcclanahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't belive this is the first Varley work I've read. Surprisingly fresh and relevant, considering its age. I found it to be an interesting way of affirming the value of the human spirit through a host of adverse circumstances. Some fascinating characters in extraordinary scenarios.
Aug 05, 2016 Alendi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Un libro correcto pero sin destacar. Tiene alguna idea de fondo que no está mal, pero no las desarrolla lo suficiente para mi gusto.
Feb 01, 2010 Fred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wild, pioneering sci-fi ideas. Reminds me of a Reynold's hard sci fi approach, but Varley wrote this in the 70ies and that's just something
Robert 'Rev. Bob'
Now that's what I call a mindbender.

I read this immediately after Clifford Simak's A Heritage of Stars, and the blurbs make the two books seem very similar. Both were published in the same year, and in both cases Something Happened several hundred years ago that wiped out most of the people on Earth. Aside from that, the books could hardly be more different.

Simak's book is a post-apocalyptic tale of tribal humans taking their first steps toward rediscovering society and technology. It's very Gol
Christopher Sutch
My five-star rating of this book should not be taken as an indication of its literary merit; Varley's prose in his first novel is not exactly masterful. It does, however, get the job done, and this is a pretty impressive debut. This is the kind of science fiction book I enjoy reading: it's about half a dozen different things that somehow all fit together, it contains a bunch of scientific extrapolation (from a mid-1970s perspective), and the plot is pretty ingeniously worked out...and all that i ...more
Nov 02, 2014 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Audiobook-- which does not play well with Varley's somewhat long winded writing style. I nearly gave up about half way through as Varley gives little reason to care about the fate of one of many clones. This book is definitely a sort of guided tour of his clever world building, and moves along mostly by deus es machina. The world building is very clever if you don't mind the ineffectualizing of the human race.
Feb 17, 2011 Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story and innovative style.

We follow the heroine through-out the book, but as she is a clone she lives in many differerent places and times and consequently meets with a variety of fates.

Head twist.
Jun 24, 2009 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally awesome, landmark book in my science fiction reading career!
May 22, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent science fiction.
Loved it.
When I first began to read Varley's future history, I didn't realize something that comes through very clearly here: the society as described is based on mass murder. The process of memory recording is not murder (yet). It becomes so when clone bodies are 'grown', and then not allowed to develop naturally. The people they might have been are just destroyed, and their bodies are coopted by the original of the genotype, whose memory is forced into their novice brains.

But clones are nothing but ar
Simon Mcleish
Mar 16, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in May 2011.

The Ophiuchi Hotline is one of the great idea based novels of the science fiction genre, but was not even nominated for either the Hugo or Nebula awards - clearly 1977 was a strong year for SF. The novel is set in a future where human technology is dominated by ideas derived from a stream of data received from an alien civilization (from the direction of the Ophiuchi constellation), hence the book's title. As the back of this edition says, the sto
Isabel (kittiwake)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 04, 2014 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite appearing in David Pringle's canon-building Science-fiction: The 100 Best Novels 1949-1984 John Varley's debut novel The Ophiuchi Hotline (1977) doesn't get the same kind of reverence that other books on that list from that era still do.

That's because it's neither a fan favourite (hey there Dune) nor respectable literary SF (Oi! Ballard!). It is what it is - a good first book chock full of pulp tropes, which also manages to anticipate a lot of the genre's pre-occupations and tropes in th
May 06, 2011 Siv30 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-and-fantasy
הוצאת זמורה ביתן, מודן, 1979, 278 עמ.

הקדמה - לאחרונה נפלו לידי כמה ספרים של מד"ב שהוציא השילוב המוזר הזה "זמורה ביתן, מודן" שאינו קיים כיום. חלקם טובים וחלקם טובים יותר. מסתבר כי בתחום המד"ב הם עשו עבודת תרגום די מקיפה וחבל כי אני לא בטוחה שאפשר להשיג עוד את הספרים שלהם. בכל קונסטלציה, את הספר הזה לא הייתי מצליחה לקרוא בשפת מקור גם בגלל שהוא מורכב מבחינת ציר הזמנים והתפתחות הדמויות שבו. אני מודה שבספר הזה לפחות המתרגמת, מלכה פרידמן, עשתה עבודה נהדרת.

לפני כ- 500 שנים נכבש כדור הארץ ע"י פולשים מוז
Aug 22, 2011 Zach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most ambitious science fiction worlds I've read since Dune, The Ophiuchi Hotline tells the story of a post-alien-invasion humanity eking out a living on the less hospitable worlds of the solar system. The survivors discover a deep space transmission they call the Ophiuchi Hotline (since it seems to come from a near star with the same name) filled with engineering information far beyond humanity's previous comprehension. These alien technologies transform daily life in outer space, but ...more
Ian Mathers
Sep 04, 2013 Ian Mathers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
A future in which cloning replicas of people with the full memory and personality of the original at the time, but where such clones are tightly regulated to prevent more than one copy living at once; a brilliant scientist who breaks one of the few inviolate laws in that society who is sentenced to permanent, total death only to be 'rescued' by a shadowy political figure who keeps killing and recloning her until she stops trying to escape. You could easily make a novel out of that, especially on ...more
John Varley’s first novel, and also the first one in the Eight Worlds Universe, has an interesting and intricate, premise. Four hundred years previously, enigmatic aliens invaded the Earth, and most of humanity died off. Humans now live scattered around the solar system, dependent at least in part on technological know-how beamed from faraway Ophiuchi. No one knows who or what is beaming the data, except that it is finely attuned to the needs of humans. Lilo, a genetic engineer condemned to deat ...more
Joey Brockert
Aug 30, 2013 Joey Brockert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lilo is the star of this unlikely story. She has been condemned to death for some offense that is just judged to not be in the best interests of humanity. She is saved by a very well connected and wealthy politician, Tweed. The human race has been effectively kicked off Earth by some beings from another intergalactic race that is similar to beings from Jupiter. It just gets stranger and stranger.
In this future, cloning has been perfected and the memories of a person can be installed (programed
Mar 22, 2014 astaliegurec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Varley's "The Ophiuchi Hotline" is an interesting book in his "Eight Worlds" universe. It's the first novel in the series (published in 1977), but it lies smack in the middle of the 18 short stories (which run from 1974 through 1985) in the series. The remaining two novels (Steel Beach (published in 1992, but not available in Kindle format for some reason) and The Golden Globe (published in 1998)) are sort of in the series, but aren't necessarily consistent with the rest of the books. Speak ...more
Tom Quinn
Sep 16, 2014 Tom Quinn rated it liked it
Lilo is the clone of a clone of a clone, forced into the service of a former Earth president who needs to figure out how to defeat The Invaders who casually slaughtered every human who happened to be living on the planet at the time. Thank goodness for the settlements on the moon, Pluto, and the rest of the solar system, right? And thanks too for The Ophiuchi Hotline, an interstellar channel of streaming information which humans use to advance their technology centuries ahead of schedule. In a c ...more
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Hard SF: BotM: “The Ophiuchi Hotline” by John Varley 5 33 Jan 03, 2012 05:24AM  
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Full name: John Herbert Varley.

John Varley was born in Austin, Texas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University.

He has written several novels and numerous short stories.He has received both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

More about John Varley...

Other Books in the Series

Eight Worlds (3 books)
  • Steel Beach
  • The Golden Globe (Eight Worlds)

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