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Heart of the Comet

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,861 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Alternative cover to ISBN 0553258397.
Paperback, 479 pages
Published March 1987 by Bantam (first published 1986)
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May 21, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very decent hard SF read. People colonize Haley's Comet. There are factions and intrigue. Wackiness ensues.
Oct 13, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How hard is it to marry good science and good fiction? Hard enough judging by the regular sc-fi novels coming out like dandelion seeds. Perhaps you have to go all the way back to 1985 to get at the goods. At least that's what one scientist suggested when I saw his list of best sci-fi books on a blog recently. From the other suggestions by other scientists it was pretty easy to conclude they don't read a lot of any kind of fiction; Dune featured a lot. Jules Verne, H.G. Welles, etc. etc. Sounds l ...more
I put off reading this book for a very long time, for mathematical reasons. David Brin is one of my absolute favorite writers; let's say my opinion of him is a 9 out of 10 (and nobody gets a 10). Gregory Benford was an unknown quantity, but probability told me that I wouldn't like his writing as much as Brin's. Even if I rated Benford as an 8, the average of that would be 8.5, lower than my expectations for a Brin book. Are you following me so far?

For the first 100 pages of this book, I had no i
Sep 24, 2010 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, maps
I expected so much more from Benford, given how well he did on Timescape.

Stupid people making stupid decisions. They deserved to die, but didn't. Well, some did, but that'd be giving too much away.

"Life is too short to read bad fiction." Skip this one.
-Mezcla de Hard suave y Soft frío.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. La expedición de la nave Edmund Halley al cometa del mismo nombre, en el año 2061, está en la fase de preparación de las instalaciones y elementos que permitan acceder al cometa a todos los tripulantes (la mayoría hibernados hasta ese momento) para continuar los trabajos de análisis y valoración de sus recursos disponibles. Pero la suma de accidentes, enemistades políticas y genéticas traídas desde la Tierra e incluso
Chung Lee
Great idea, bad execution.
The authors tried to take too much on too fast. Some 300 people are stranded on the Halley's comet and form a community and try to stay alive. You would think that in an environment where everyday is a life and death struggle that everyone would put their differences aside and work together to survive. Especially when only couple of dozen to less than a third of them are awake at one time (the rest is in hibernation-like sleep). But they are constantly arguing, fighting
Oct 23, 2015 kazerniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good novel full of characteristic features of Brin's other writings. He must have had a difficult job with the location, as the Halley Comet gives ones of the least magnificent settings for a space sci-fi book I've ever encountered. It's basically a big rock full of ice and dust (view spoiler).

The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is that the novel starts reaaallly slooow, until 25% (view spoiler)
Nov 15, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2012
So you have a plan - Find a comet, ride it through an orbit, during which you change its orbit, aim it at a dead world, harvest it for its resources and make life on a new world. Well you know from the beginning that this is just going to go so horribly wrong.

Over all a brilliant science fiction book, and though published back in 1986 the science hasn't dated.
Caia Cameron
Oct 26, 2013 Caia Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll keep this short because all of the reviews I read before opening this book pretty much sum it up. This book truly is the hardcore science fiction book that I was craving. It was an exciting ride. I would recommend this book to anyone
Patrick Mézard
Feb 08, 2015 Patrick Mézard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was one of the first hard-SF novel I read, maybe twenty years ago. The Rosetta mission made me think about it again. Looking for it, I reread Benford "In the Ocean of Night" and "Across a Sea of Stars" (still interesting but so badly written), then eventually hit the "Heart of the Comet". It did not age, it is an awesome novel and I appreciated it now better than before. It has something different. Less "mechanical" than KS Robinson or Baxter books. And while it assumes a lot of non-obvious d ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Sean rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a solid science fiction, exactly what I would expect from Benford and Brin. Taking place over a hundred years or so, a crew of hundreds of experts in various fields embark on a lifetime mission to inhabit and change the trajectory of the comet Halley. Using hibernation technology and alternating shifts we follow the evolution of the society of people on the comet as they deal with the unforeseen challenges of disease and adaptation in the cold of outer space. Through this story the auth ...more
Benjamin Atkinson
Feb 25, 2015 Benjamin Atkinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard sci-fi, near future, all time greats
Shelves: hard-sf, literature
Caveat- this is not for beginners. Fantastic, I loved Gregory Benford's Permutation City as well as David Brin's assorted novels, so I dived in. Both authors are brilliant men with real scientific backgrounds backing up their prophetic prose. The book's structure is told through multiple points of view keeping the pace lively and the narrative fresh. The greatest aspect, however, is the amount of real science packed into such a well-paced and entertaining read. I have read many reviews listing t ...more
Jul 04, 2014 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fun read that kept me up waaay too late to finish it.

Don't let the age of the book scare you, it could have been written a couple of years ago just as easily.

There are two big plot drivers in this book, the politics of small and large groups including a straight up love triangle, and Halley's Comet itself.

The comet parts are straight up hard sci-fi, with realistic sounding discussions of orbits, heating and outgassing and much much more. The biology on the other hand to my comple
Kaus Wei
Mar 15, 2012 Kaus Wei rated it it was ok
This is a fairly standard---but nonetheless, entertaining---bit of science fiction. New technologies are present (along with the plethora of fine details needed to explain them), new ideologies arise, but the plot structure feels very familiar. I suppose that is to be expected, considering the quantity of sci-fi I have read...

I cannot say I ever really connected with any of the characters, with the possible exception of Cruz (who only shows up during the first fifth of the book, and for a couple
Alex Hammel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 06, 2015 Gendou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book. It went in directions unexpected but loses a star for lack of an ending. It starts off as a creative story of space exploration, then gets progressively weirder and weirder.

This is one of those one-of-a-kind environments kind of science fiction books. Making a life on a comet is a very unique idea. There are interesting challenges the characters have to face which include, spoiler alert, (view spoiler)!
Chris Ellis
Jan 10, 2015 Chris Ellis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book begins with the coolest of premises, and just never slows down. It was awesome.

Certainly not a sugar coated "here we go out into space" story. There are major obstacles to overcome, from both the environment and the prejudices of the voyagers, changing attitudes towards the mission from Earth, and just the overall harshness of the situation taking a mental toll on all.

The technology of "Sleep Slotting" allows the narrative to jump forward as the principal storytellers are put on ice, s
Cindy Bravo
Dec 31, 2015 Cindy Bravo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book especially transporting to read during the Christmas season, where I could escape to Halley's Comet and the people who were colonizing it. The book covers almost one-hundred years and is filled with interesting science that makes what happens in the story, adaption to Halley life and Halley's new use believable. By the end of the story you see evolution in process and are sorry to lose such good friends.
Sep 03, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Phenomenal. Written in 1986, this "hard science" science fiction book still stands up. Assumptions about Halley's comet, written before it's 1986 appearance in this book, are accurate. There is a lot of math, science, computers, vectors, logarithms, biology ad nauseaum. If you like this, with two astrophysicist authors you get the real deal. If you don't, it's still cool because it's so amazing and true!

This is probably one of the best plotted books I've ever read. As it occurs over 2
Feb 20, 2015 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A good read, although I wasn't enamored of the excessive focus on the political landscape and love triangle. I'm a plot, puzzle, and ideas guy, so I tend to regard those things as fluff when other readers may find them their favorite parts of the novel. To each their own; I had fun, and I regard this read as time well spent.
Paul Trembling
Jan 27, 2016 Paul Trembling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With two top SF writers collaborating, you'd expect something good - and this doesn't disappoint. The scenario is fascinating, the science intriguing, the characters are deep and the background authentic. Etc. In other words, top quality writing.
Dick Cameron
Sep 15, 2010 Dick Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1986 the last time Halley's comet came whizzing by, this sci-fi ride is quite brilliant. Scientifically well researched but of course purely speculative about the nature and origin of Halleybop. A delightful array of characters pepper this tale of occupying and attempting to tame the great comet. The turn of events, of which there are many, were unexpected and engrossing from the start. Just when I thought I knew where it was going it took a turn to a conclusion only far out scientist ...more
Ahhhh. A most amazing science fiction / social novel. I felt the need to reread this and wow better than ever! My old paperback copy is falling apart... This is a powerful story, a vision of our solar system that is the drama of Grey's Anatomy meets Star Trek meets well heck this is so different... A MUST read! Imagine an international mission to Halley's Comet to hollow it out and ride it around to redirect it and provide us with it's resources. Add in romance, nazi like hatred, religiosity, ge ...more
Ben Roscup
Sep 15, 2011 Ben Roscup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Heart of the Comet" was a rather moody and darkly depressing story, but I think that it managed to redeem itself in the end. The authors challenge a lot of issues in this space epic. What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be something slightly... more than human? Will idealism ever triumph over prejudice? Would immortality truly be the boon we so often hold it to be?

You will probably not want to finish this book. You will become irritated, perhaps bored, and despair of finding a sa
Nov 18, 2014 Dennis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good science fiction and somewhat timely with the landing. It's time to put people back into space exploration.
Florin Pitea
I read it in Romanian translation, back in the mid-Nineties. It was OK. The ending was nice and uplifting.
Haniel Goertz
Apr 23, 2014 Haniel Goertz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel does get to be a little over the top, but all in all it is a fun read.
Gwyn Rees
Apr 03, 2015 Gwyn Rees rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A logical what if book & a really good story with a believable cast of people.
Tharindra Kaluthotaarachchi
Jun 05, 2015 Tharindra Kaluthotaarachchi rated it it was amazing
A very good read indeed !!
Nov 17, 2013 Tonari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Nel cuore della cometa" narra di una spedizione scientifica sulla Cometa di Halley. Gli uomini scelti a farne parte dovranno viaggiare nello spazio profondo fino a che la cometa non ritornerà in prossimità del nostro pianeta. Non tutto però va come dovrebbe andare.
"Nel cuore della cometa" è un buonissimo libro che cresce man mano durante la lettura. Paga una certa lentezza iniziale (che potrebbe scoraggiare alcuni), ma col passare delle pagine coinvolge sempre più fino all'imprevedibile finale.
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Gregory Benford is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.

As a science fiction author, Benford is best known for the Galactic Center Saga novels, beginning with In the Ocean of Night (1977). This series postulates a galaxy in which sentient organic life is in constant warfare wit
More about Gregory Benford...

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