Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  437 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Alicia Butterworth is a physicist from U.C. Irvine who's trying to re-create the conditions that existed just before the big bang using the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider on Long Island. Something goes wrong during one of the collider runs, and part of the machine explodes, leaving behind a strange metallic sphere. Butterworth sneaks the object back to Irvine, where she a...more
365 pages
Published (first published 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 779)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is a fun science fiction novel; my favorite type--something of a detective story. A new object suddenly just "shows up" in a particle accelerator, and much of the story is taken up in trying to figure out exactly what it is. Lots of laboratory and academic politics are stirred in, for good measure. While the main character always seems to do the wrong thing, it turns out, retrospectively, to have been exactly the "right thing" to do. As the author is a physicist, the explanations come acros...more
Austin Bruce Hallock
Cosm is a really cool science-fictional idea (5 stars) grafted onto a mediocre love story (2 stars) and flavored with a dollop each of ethnic and gender diversity ("E" for effort), all set against a realistic backdrop of contemporary academic strife and scientific process (4 stars). This tale would have worked much better as a novelette, but strung out to novel length, it seemed to drag a bit. I'm averaging it out to an overall 3-star rating.
Bernabé Borrero
Considering I spent the whole day reading to finish this book, this review is probably far from being objective.
I did some research and apparently this book is not among the bests of the author, and partially I can understand why. It narrates the discovery of a weird object in an experiment, and how the discoverer tries to find out what on earth is it and how it works. It was interesting to see science fiction narrated from another point of view, making it more believable. The discoverer, a phys...more
This book has a provocative theme. What if scientists could create a new, baby universe in the lab? It starts off with a really grate look into the lives of high energy physicists. The long middle of the story is full of human drama, centered around the protagonist. She's an exquisite experimentalist, and also a big black woman. For some reason, this comes up over and over in her monologue, like it's all she thought of about herself. This reflects really poorly on Benford's ability to develop a...more

Otra reseña más rescatada del pasado entre los libros de 2004-2005.

Al igual que el anterior libro, estamos hablando de l futuro de pasado mañana (nada del año 5000, ni de extraterrestres o cosas así). De un fallo o experimento con resultados sorprendentes en un acelerador de partículas (uhm, esto podría acabar sirviendo como premonición al LHC).
Lo mejor del libro es la trama miserable de los tejemanejes de la universidad, de los becarios de laboratorio, los presupuestos para experimentos y en g...more
I like a good, hard sci-fi yarn, but there are limits!

Reams of dry, abstruse physics theory - though certainly lending an air of authenticity to the concept - does not an entertaining read make. Reading this novel felt more like attending a lecture than it did entertainment.

Similarly, the minutiae of day-to-day life of university research staff and the culture they inhabit is not of sufficient interest to warrant the level of detail gone into by the author (who apparently has a personal axe to g...more
I grabbed a whole stack of books which my Dad was going to throw away. This was one of them. The science was interesting enough to make me curious to know how it ended, but the poor attempts at philosophy, religion, romance and even a lame "action" sequence that never went anywhere really made this a poor book. It was also a bit dated, being published in 1998. Oddly the story is set in 2005 - not sure why that would be. But some of the experiments done in the story, which I imagine were just the...more
a good honest story about life as a real scientist that made me think: maybe I ought to do that, but it occupies a dull zone where a far-fetched & awesome premise/assumption is reigned in by too much realism to ever to get to anything very fantastic or exciting.
l'il weird that the white dude wrote about a black woman: sorta sweet, like my engineer dad's own enthusiasm about women in the sciences, but also definitely, totally fetishizing. Forward did this in Rocheworld, too. I can't tell if t...more
I really enjoyed the portrayal of scientists, research, and their interactions with those in power. In a sense, the SF is limited. It's near-future - actually something which might have happened by the year I read it. There is a not-yet-happened discovery. The discovery is fantastic in one sense, but in another sense it's just a way to watch cosmic evolution from afar. (That is, it's not new tech that will change lives as much as PCs & cell phones have.) So this isn't the book to read when y...more
I read this book because the librarian of one of the worlds largest collections of scifi and fantasy books said that it would be way better than anything by Orson Scott Card or Tad Williams. I guess it is in the eye of the beholder, but it took me a long time to get through it and I was not really impressed. Yes, the story is quite interesting and sounds quite probable to me (physics scifi), but it takes too long to develop for my taste. I still give it a three star rating as I like it very much...more
Mar 13, 2011 Peter added it
The universe in a basketball: Why is our universe so eerily suitable for us? Does this prove the existence of a god(dess)? Or is this universe itself the work of a blind watchmaker? Perhaps there are many god(desse)s, each thinking themselves unique, but actually part of a process of natural selection in meta-time. Benford writes well, setting the excitement of physics at the edge in a real world of interesting characters. Atheists and believers alike will find their imagination stimulated.
I really wanted to like this book! The idea is great, an unknown sphere showing up in a lab experiment, great. However, the rest of the story is pathetic. Why this male author thought he
could tell the story from the point of view of a black woman scientist, I have no idea. He couldn't.
Kevin Keller
Broad view of the creation and extinction of a universe. In this case, the universe (cosm) is created by a character in the book by mistake as part of an experiment and the efforts to understand what is created and put it into perspective make for a very interesting read.
Dec 26, 2007 John rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Soft Physics
Gregory Benford has done much better (notably with Timescapes). I found his attempt to construct a believable African-American female academic physicist to be very disappointing. I also found the story to be too clever.
Still reading. Feels like a science story, not science fiction. Its good though not engrossing. Met the author at Fen Con! What a charmer!
Nicholas Terranova
Good book overall!!!! very cool concepts that are factual and interesting!!! Not my favorite sci-fi novel by Benford but still good!!!!
This book was ok, but I felt it was pretty slow moving and much less interesting than other Benford books.
An enjoyable science based book which kept me intrigued with its ideas and physics based plot.
Stephen Antczak
Starts off slow and rather awkwardly, but this is definitely "big idea" hard SF and worth reading.
Explores a scientific topic with a background of realistic academic politics.
For lovers of hard Sci-Fi I can recommend it.
Pretty good!
Antonio marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2014
Kathie marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2014
Kelly added it
Jul 01, 2014
Kelly added it
Jul 01, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 25 26 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Coalescent (Destiny's Children, #1)
  • Legacy (The Way, #3)
  • Icehenge
  • Moonrise (Moonbase Saga, #1)
  • The Trigger
  • The Well of Stars (Marrow, #2)
  • The First Immortal
  • Schild's Ladder
  • The World Of Ptavvs (Known Space)
  • The River of Time
  • The Face of the Waters
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
More about Gregory Benford...
Timescape Foundation's Fear (Second Foundation Trilogy, #1) In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center, #1) Heart of the Comet Great Sky River (Galactic Center, #3)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »